Cars, in general, are one of the few things that can mirror who we are in both life and business, while giving their owners a perspective not often seen by the casual observer. Simply put, if you’re good at what you do, you should probably have a car that reflects your success. Through the journey of entrepreneurship, some of us buy cars as a reminder of stay the course of achieving our dream while others buy to reward themselves after huge milestones and to make a public statement. Taste typically evolve similar to how we do as human beings but the underlying appreciation for cars will always remain the same for a true enthusiast. Here are 10 cars that deserve to be in the garage of any up-and-coming entrepreneur at least once.
10. Maserati Quattroporte
“Quattroporte”, in Italian literally means “four door”. That’s right, a high-end car company named their car after the amount of doors it has. Yet it works. It also helps that the car is one of the sexiest saloons you can buy at any price. From its handcrafted, perforated leather interior to its chiseled exterior, there’s not an angle on the car that isn’t spectacular. They’re also a quite insane value on the used car market, as a great conditioned ’08+ model with the ZF automatic gearbox (stay away from the early DuoSelect gearboxes, a fact we cover in our project car article) will set you back around $30,000 to $40,000. For a car that commanded a six-figure price tag, such depreciation should be good news to any entrepreneur that wants to keep their money as long as they can.
9. Porsche 911 Turbo (997)
The Porsche 911 is one of the only supercars that you can (and should) drive everyday. From its relatively small size to simple mechanical layout, everything about this car was honed over decades of research by the most hardworking engineers in Stuttgart. That’s why the crown jewel of the Porsche lineup, the 911 Turbo, made from 2005-2012 should be in any entrepreneur’s garage. It’s a great second or third car, but an absolutely phenomenal only car. With prices in the $60,000 -$70,000 range for this world-beater, it’s literally a dream come true.
8. BMW E92 M3
The 2007-2013 BMW M3 is a performance staple. Whether it’s the momentum-driving E30 M3 from three decades ago to the ubiquitous E46 M3 that catapulted BMW’s image into the new millennium, the M3 has been the definitive performance yardstick by which other manufacturers measure their cars. The E92 M3 is the ultimate expression of that raw, unhindered power that made the previous models so popular in car culture. This is regarded by many to be the last truly great M3, with its hydraulic steering, optional manual transmission, and naturally aspirated, high revving 4-liter V8 that got the car from 0-60 in less time than it took you to read this sentence. At less than $40,000 for a fully-loaded, low mileage example, it’s a crazy bargain for anyone willing to take a step into an amazing performance car.
7. BMW E60 M5
The 2006-2010 E60 M5 is the midpoint between performance car and bona fide exotic. On one hand, it shares its rotund 4-door body with the likes of the regular middle-management, hum-drum 5-series, and on the other, it has a race-derived 10 cylinder engine that revs to an ear-piercing 8500 RPM. We’ve posted a buyer’s guide on the do’s and don’ts of this particular model, and while some issues are common with the engine’s internals, if the car is taken care of well and the right options are ticked (read: MANUAL), you’d be able to get a well looked after example for less than $40,000. That’s less than a new mildly optioned 5-series, except you’d be getting one that looks better, has more than 500 horsepower, and has the practicality of a grocery getter with the bite of a tried and true exotic.
6. Bentley Continental GT
Two decades ago, Bentley was a boutique car manufacturer that made cars only for people with one foot in a bank vault and another in the grave. Fortunately for the self-starter, the stigma of old money need not exist for modern Bentleys. What we have in this elegantly understated coupe is a twin-turbocharged W12 powerhouse that will do north of 200 miles per hour, with hand-made leather and matching wood trim arranged by skilled artisans who have made it their life’s work to make the car absolutely flawless. Thanks to depreciation, you can find a well-looked after mid-2000s example in the $45,000-$60,000 range, depending on mileage and features. It’s a ton of car for your money. Get one while the getting’s good.
5. Ferrari 360 Modena
It’s official – you have arrived. This is a no compromises supercar. The 1999-2005 Ferrari 360 Modena has a small-displacement, high-output V8 that sits behind you and fills the cabin with the sounds of refined fury. It will get looks everywhere you go, and apart from the occasional speed bump and high curb, its road manners are pretty tame. Visibility is wonderful for a car of this size and build, with space being adequate for even the largest of successful individuals. Stay away from the second-generation F1 gearboxes and stick with the row-your-own gated 6-speed manual and this car will absolutely make your life better every time you get in the driver’s seat. It is an A to A car, but it’s the one that you buy when you’re ready to show the world the fruits of your arduous and laborious efforts. At around $70-80,000 for well-documented, single owner examples, it’s the most affordable modern Ferrari that you can drive today, and a great performance value in general. It’ll be at home in any entrepreneur’s collection.
4. Lamborghini Gallardo
The Gallardo has had a long production run, not only by exotic car standards, but by economy car standards. Though the model has gone through numerous changes, it has been in production for the better part of 12 years, only being phased out by its successor, the Huracán. Here’s why this car is such a blistering value for the money: You can buy one for around $80,000 with a six-speed manual gearbox, all-wheel-drive, a high-revving V10 engine, and looks that scream at any passers by that “the person in this car has it figured out”. Stay away from the E-Gear and early models and you can grab a great performing example for less than six figures. For a Lamborghini that you can realistically drive every day, that’s an insane deal.
3. Aston Martin V8 Vantage
There isn’t much more that I can say about this car that we haven’t said already. The V8 Vantage has been the subject of not one, but two of our drop-dead gorgeous projects. Although it also has had a rather long production run, you can find early 2006 6-speed manual models in great shape from $50,000-$60,000 without fuss. Considering the car was nearly 3 times that figure originally, the fact that depreciation has given this 2-seater exotic a home with willing owners in this price bracket is nothing short of spectacular. It’s not the fastest thing in the world, but it’s one of the most pleasing automotive shapes ever produced, and it deserves a permanent spot in anyone’s collection.
2. Mercedes S-Class
Here’s the car you come back to when you’re done driving exotics and want something to soothe your brow. Any Mercedes S-Class will do, as it represents the pinnacle of what’s available in the car at that particular point in time. You can find a fully loaded W221 S65 AMG for less than $60,000 in today’s market, and with that you get a long-wheelbase, fully-loaded S-Class with a twin turbo V12 packing more than 600 horsepower and 700 ft-lbs of torque. It will out-accelerate nearly anything on this list, and give you a heated massage while doing it. It is the car for self-starters and embodies the adage “speak softly, but carry a big stick”.
1. Mclaren P1
This car is unobtainium. It’s the pinnacle, 7-figure hypercar that is the ultimate stretch goal. It’s more than a car, it’s a symbol of a grand lifestyle – the difference between having a good life, and living the good life. The cars sleek and flowing body lines are matched only by its sonorous exhaust note, emitting a 903 horsepower siren that is unmistakable to anyone within earshot. It’s ungodly fast, yet entirely civilized in a regular environment. It combines the best aspects of automotive enthusiasm and serves them to you, multiplied by 10. This is the car dreams are made of, and for that reason alone, it should be the goal of every entrepreneur to own one.