A little under a year ago BMW released the terrifyingly potent M5 CS: an M5 that had used USADA’s Prohibited List as a shopping list and spent every other waking hour pumping iron.
That said, the headline numbers weren’t particularly impressive. Compared to the M5 Competition, the CS was 70kg lighter (1825kg), 7kW more powerful (467kW/ 626hp) and a mere 0.3 seconds quicker to 100 (3 seconds). However, road tests revealed that the CS was much more than the sum of its parts. Premiere performance magazine, EVO, awarded the CS its renowned Car of the Year prize. No small accolade considering the competition included the Ferrari SF90, Lamborghini Huracan STO, and the ever dominant Porsche 911 GT3.
The initial price was somewhat digestible, too: $274,900 (AUD) before on-road costs –a mere $28,000 more than the M5 Competition. In a world where some manufacturers charge over $20k just for carbon-ceramic brake (cough Tesla cough), the Beemer's price seemed reasonable, especially when you consider that only 20 were scheduled to make their way to Australian shores.
Fast forward to the present day and dealerships are now trying to scalp M5 CS’ for $500,000. Five hundred thousand. I have no doubt that it’s a brilliant piece of kit, however, If you drop half a million on an M5 then you deserve to be admitted into a psych ward. Immediately.
To its credit, the M5 straddles the road/track divide superbly well. It possesses a duality of character that makes it a genuine contender for the ultimate one-car garage. But why have one car when you can have two?
Here are three garages made up of two cars (a daily driver and a weekend vehicle) that are better value than a $500,000 M5 CS.
Daily: 2017 Bentley Continental Supersport (≈$380,000)
The Bentley Continental Supersport was an impervious road train. It came with a stonking turbocharged W12 that produced 522kW (700hp) and 1017Nm (750lb-ft) and boasted a level of interior quality that is a step beyond an M5.
Yes, you can pick up a lightly used new-generation Continental for under $500,000 but choosing one would have left little room for the weekend vehicle. And besides, there’s a thuggish aura surrounding the butch last-gen Supersport that tickles my fancy more.
Weekend: 2022 Toyota GR 86 (≈$45,000)
Forget the naysayers, the new GR 86 is a revelation. Small, light, and with enough power to slither about in, the GR 86 is an immensely enjoyable experience. It’s a rolling reminder of all that is good about the act of driving.
You can keep your thousand horsepower Bugattis and Rimacs, this is the car I am pining to drive more than any other right now. Major want.
Daily: 2022 Lexus LC500 Convertible (≈$214,000 before on-road costs)
The Lexus LC500 is not the best grand tourer you can buy but, goodness me, it can sing. Nestled under the LC's shapely bonnet lies a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 that is a thing of wonder and produces a glorious, baleful noise. Why the convertible? Being able to peel away the roof provides greater access to the Lexus' staggering song. It also looks absolutely stunning. Enough said.
Weekend: 2022 Arial Nomad with a supercharger (≈$250,000)
Yes, I’ve gone the nonsensical option and chosen a car you can’t actually purchase in Australia. Yes, I realise it doesn’t have doors and would probably drive me insane. And, yes, I doubt it would pass road registration. But it matters not.
In a serious world filled with serious machinery, the Arial Nomad is a breath of fresh air. Sure, I could have chosen its more track-oriented sibling, the Atom, or opted for the even more intense BAC Mono, however, the Nomad possesses a tangible sense of humour that sets it apart; a sense of humour that practically drips from its World Rally Championship-spec Ohlins dampers and nobbly tyres.
Prices in the UK start at £36,538 (AUD$69045) leaving plenty of headroom for factory-offered modifications. Among the first options, I’d tick are a short final drive and the supercharger package which raises power to 216kW (up from 172kW). For reference, Ariel claim the base 670kg Nomad is capable of 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds. With the aforementioned extras equipped, performance should prove hilariously rapid regardless of the surface beneath its tyres. And that’s the appeal of the Nomad: the fun need not stop when the tarmac runs out. Whether it’s sand, mud or bitumen, the Nomad can keep going, opening up a whole new world of possibility. My inner child loves this thing.
Daily: 2016 Ford Falcon XR6 Sprint (≈$100,000 before on-road costs)
Ford’s XR6 Sprint is a criminally undervalued piece of Australian automotive history that is often sidelined in favour of its bigger V8 sibling, the XR8 Sprint. While the XR8 Sprint was positioned as the flagship final Falcon, the XR6 Sprint was rarer, with just 550 cars produced (500 for Australia, 50 for New Zealand) compared to 850 for the XR8 Sprint (750 for Australia, 100 for New Zealand). Crucially, the XR6 Sprint also came with a homegrown engine: the mighty 4.0-litre DOHC Barra six-cylinder. As for the XR8, it came with a sacrilegious Coyote V8 imported from the States. Imagine the outcry if Steve Irwin was secretly an American. There would have been anarchy.
Weekend: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package (≈$369,700 before on-road costs)
When Porsche announced the new Cayman GT4 RS, I may have gotten a little carried away. Excited by the prospect of the 911 GT3’s mesmeric engine shoehorned into Porsche’s baby sportscar, I declared the GT4 RS to be the more desirable sibling. I now believe I was wrong.
I have no doubt it will be superb to drive, however, I cannot shake the impression that the GT4 RS—with its numerous aerodynamic add-ons—looks a little too boy racer for my liking. The GT3, meanwhile, appears to be a much more cohesive package (even with the hideous nostrils), particularly when equipped with the delightfully unassuming Touring Package.
Of course, I'd opt for a manual transmission. You may not venture beyond second gear on the road (rendering the manual somewhat irrelevant), however, a track will allow the GT3 to stretch its legs and provide an opportunity to fully appreciate the GT3’s superb gearshift. Then there’s the engine: a magical 4.0-litre flat-six that revs to a dizzying 9,000rpm and sounds like a symphony of angels at full chat. Delicious.