Even though I offered to go halves on one with him, I get the feeling that a £40,000, previously £80,000-plus motor isn’t realistically the cost-effective or sensible way to buy a performance used car that isn’t going to cost a gazillion to run.
Let’s celebrate, then, some good old-fashioned working-class supercars that we can buy for less.
What is an R8 in essence? I would controversially argue that it’s a rather less practical and rather less subtle Volkswagen Golf R. That’s the very best, so go and find yourself one. There are plenty of quite high-mileage examples around, which I always find strangely reassuring, for around £7500. It would be better to sort out a clean 2015 hatchback with 50,000 miles for £17,450. It will be at a dealer, so you will get decent protection – and what a great way to responsibly enjoy 300bhp.
I don’t think many people really get the latest Alfa Romeo Giulietta, especially the Quadrifoglio Verde version, which shares its power source with the 4C but not the price. It’s not as pretty as that sports car, but never mind: you will be getting an interesting five-door hatchback that’s a fairly rare sight. There was a 2015 example 20 miles away from me, with one previous owner and just over 60,000 miles for £12,999.
Getting away from hot hatches and back to what we’re trying to replace, then spiritually the Audi TT coupé is the people’s R8. Stylish, still turning heads and fun to drive, what more do you want? Well, a TTS would be nice. It has 355bhp that it can deliver to the Tarmac with its quattro system, just like an R8. A 2010 example at a dealer with fewer than 80,000 miles is up for £17,500. It will be easier to park than an R8 as well.