You want a sports car, and you know you have to be careful with your budget. That means you’ll be looking at used cars.
Buying used should mean a lower down payment for the car you want. Furthermore, you may be able to get a higher trim level in used cars than you would dream of buying new. Lastly, you may find a luxury sports car that is in excellent shape and as affordable as a non luxury brand. Here’s what you need to know to find one of these deals.
What’s the Mileage?
If you can find a used sports car that has been driven an average of 10,000 miles per year or less, you are onto something. You just divide the current mileage by how old the car is. Once you know that, another aspect is whether it has had multiple owners or just one. A single owner is more likely to take care of it.
How Much Does It Weigh?
Many people take one look at a sports car and assume it is lightweight and more streamlined than a regular car. Unfortunately this is often not the case. For this reason, your first question should always be: “how much does it weigh?” If it’s around 3,000, that’s great. If it’s around 4,500, think again. If it’s in between, you’ll need the formula quoted below.
What’s the Horsepower to Weight Ratio?
Naturally you want to know the horsepower. Once you know that, divide it into the weight of the car. That will tell you how many pounds each “horse” has to pull So, consider a 3,000 pound car with a 200-horsepower engine. It has a ratio of 1 horse for every 15 pounds. A 250-horsepower engine has a ratio of 1 horse for every 12 pounds. The ratio for a 300-horsepower engine would be 1 to 10.
How Much Torque Does It Have?
Today’s sports cars may have a turbo engine. That tends to mean the car relies more on its high level of torque. That’s the push that gets the car moving, and it may be enough to override your concerns about the car’s horsepower-to-weight ratio.
What are the Special Aerodynamic Features?
To figure this out, you need to know what this car does to improve its natural speediness. These features should do one of the following: reduce lift, generate downforce, or disrupt airflow. They may be called diffusers or vortex generators. You may be able to see them in the form of spoilers, wings or cooling vents. You should definitely find out what they are and if they actually perform. Some features are just for show.
What Trim Level is It?
Before you decide to even test drive that cute sports car, realize that many sports cars are notoriously underdressed at the lowest low trim levels. This means your package may be substandard without as much dash tech or safety tech. It also may mean a lower quality cabin. Likewise, they are often much lower powered at the basic trim level. You deserve the most for your dollar.
Can I Test Drive on the Highway?
The car dealership probably has a map of where their sales staff can take you on a test drive. You may want to ask for a test drive on the highway. It’s your money. Why shouldn’t you get a chance to see if the car really is speedy enough for you?
With your Now that you know more, get out there and go test driving. Just don’t get sidetracked by the looks or the familiar name. Don’t buy it until you have all the facts, even if it means you have to do the math.