We all have vehicles we dream of buying.
But those aspirational purchases often come with exorbitant prices that make them well out of reach for the common driver. So what are we to do? Rob a bank, purchase the vehicle and beeline to the border?
We here at AutoGuide.com would like to offer a far less felonious solution. Why not buy its cheaper twin? For every great car, there’s another one that offers close to the same experience but costs a fraction of the price. For every aspiring BMW X5 M owner, there’s a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 waiting to be purchased. Below are 10 other cars that represent a cheaper alternative to their more expensive brethren.
Want a Mercedes-Benz E400? Get a Chrysler 300S Instead
The Mercedes-Benz E400 sedan is an all-around master. Starting at a price of $63,100, the E400 combines luxury, comfort and performance in a way few other cars can match. For a large sedan, it is the complete package.
But $63,000 is a bit steep and for $38,470, the Chrysler 300S is a viable down-market alternative to the E400. Equipped with a 363-hp V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, the 300S actually has more power and gears than the E400. It’s also a larger car that offers a bit more passenger space and can be had with nearly all the same modern technology that’s found in the E400. There’s no three-point star in the grille and the overall polish isn’t quite there, but it’s close enough for a car that only costs 60 percent of the Mercedes-Benz.
Want a Range Rover Sport HSE? Get a Ford Explorer Platinum
Always fancied yourself as a Range Rover Sport HSE driver, but have yet to acquire the $70,000 it takes to gain entry? Well, maybe you should take a look at the Ford Explorer Platinum. For $52,970, the Explorer offers a lot of parallels to the Range Rover Sport.
See Also: 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Review
It offers three rows of seating, a forced induction V6 engine (that happens to make more power) and a multi-mode four-wheel-drive system. The interior is luxuriously appointed and offers premium features like lane keep assist, heat and cooled seats, rear entertainment and power folding third row seats. And to top it off, the Explorer Platinum even looks a bit like a Range Rover Sport, too, for way less money.
Want a Porsche Cayman? Get a Subaru BRZ
The Porsche Cayman is one of the most rewarding cars to drive that’s on sale today. With fantastic chassis balance, immediate steering response and a sweetheart of an engine, the Cayman has a fun-to-drive factor that’s off the charts. But, it also costs more than $50,000 for the cheapest model.
For half the price, there is the rear-wheel-drive Subaru BRZ. Sure, it gives up 65 hp to the Cayman, but it still offers a great chassis, fantastic steering and that all-important rewarding driving experience. And hey, it even has a horizontally opposed engine like the Cayman.
Want a Tesla Model S? Get a Chevrolet Bolt Instead
The Tesla Model S is an electric car revolution. Luxurious, spacious and packed with a driving range unmatched by any other electric vehicle (EV), it really has changed the EV game. The only issue is that a lot of people can’t afford the $70,000 or so it takes to purchase a base Model S.
Chevrolet has a solution for those on a budget who want an EV with impressive range. Called the Bolt, the new hatchback from Chevy will start at a price of $37,500 and be capable of at least 200 miles of all electric range. It might not be as big or luxurious as the Tesla, but it’s nearly half the price.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Review – First Drive
Want a Nissan GT-R? Get a Ford Focus RS Instead
The Nissan GT-R is a giant killer. With a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, lightning fast dual-clutch transmission and high-powered engine, the GT-R has slayed vehicles costing twice as much or more at the track. But it still isn’t exactly affordable. For 2016, the GT-R begins at a price that has six figures.
For the tidy sum of $35,730, the Focus RS looks to be a GT-R lite of sorts. It may give up 200 hp to the super Nissan and only come with a manual transmission, but the RS incorporates a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, powerful engine and all the ingredients to embarrass plenty of more expensive machinery at the track. And it can even carry its own set of race tires.
Want a BMW M4? Get a Ford Mustang GT
The BMW M4 Coupe is a fast four-passenger coupe with great handling. Powered by a 425-hp turbocharged six-cylinder engine, the M4 blends high-speed with sophistication. But this all comes at a price, specifically $65,700.
See Also: 2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Review
Those interested in the performance of an M4 but in a more affordable package might want to check out the Ford Mustang GT. With a 435-hp V8 engine, the Mustang is also rear-wheel drive, can be had with a manual or an automatic transmission and is capable of carrying four people. It may lack some of the sophistication of the M4, but the new Mustang is a far cry from the crude solid-axle Mustangs of old. Best of all, the Mustang GT starts at a price of just $32,395, about half the price of an M4!
Want a Rolls-Royce Phantom? Get a Hyundai Genesis G90
Nothing screams that you’re a one-percenter more loudly than rolling up to the club in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. But to afford a Phantom, you need to actually be a one-percenter, as only the elite of the elite can toss over $400,000 for a new car. How do the rest of us look prestigious on a budget?
Well, there’s the recently announced Hyundai Genesis G90. It doesn’t have the same presence, name recognition or preposterously excessive interior treatment, but the G90 is a full-size luxury sedan that coddles passengers and won’t cost anywhere near that of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Perfect for the CEO of a startup that hasn’t yet had its big breakthrough.
Want a Mercedes-Benz G-Class? Get a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a highly capable off-road monster that can go places most other vehicles wouldn’t dream of. Locking differentials, a proper two-speed transfer case and high ground clearance, the G-Class is ready to climb a mountain. But being a Mercedes-Benz, it’s also luxuriously appointed and the cheapest G-Class starts at an eye-watering price of $119,900.
If off-roading is all you’re really interested in and you can forgo the G-Class’ luxurious interior and fire-breathing V8 engine, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is for you. Starting at a price of just $27,695, the Wrangler has a deep military history and a retro boxy look like the G-Wagon and will easily keep up with the Mercedes-Benz SUV on the
road path less taken.
Want a BMW M5? Get a Chevrolet SS
The BMW M5 is a big sedan that can embarrass a lot of other sports cars around a track. With a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 making 560 hp, the M5 can rocket from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Fast, luxurious and sophisticated, the BMW M5 is anything but cheap and comes with a price tag just a hair under six figures.
See Also: 2015 Chevrolet SS Review
A cheaper spiritual sports sedan to the BMW M5 comes from an unlikely source – Chevrolet. Packing a 6.2-liter V8 making 415 hp, the Chevrolet SS may give up power to the M5, but it’s also a lot lighter, handles great and costs half the price.
Want a Lotus Elise? Get a Mazda MX-5 Instead
Have you always had a dream of owning a Lotus Elise – the no-frills, no-nonsense, mid-engine sports car that defines driving purity? Even if it came with a small four-cylinder engine that didn’t make much power, the Elise was so light and nimble that it made up for any lack of power with pure driving joy. The problem is, Lotus is no longer selling new Elises on our shores and used ones are still expensive and most likely out of warranty. What to do?
Well, a lot of the Elise’s driving magic can be captured in another small little convertible sports car: the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Even if the engine is in the front of the MX-5, it still has a connected, raw driving experience that produces an incredible amount of smiles per mile.