Ever weighed the decision between buying a Porsche 918 Spyder and a home in Berkeley, Calif.? Probably not, but they cost about the same. Next to paying for a house or college, a car is among the most expensive items many of us will buy.
Eighty percent of cars on the road are out of warranty, and many buyers aim for cars that cost less to maintain. After all, getting approved for a car loan is hard enough when you're getting a run-of-the-mill vehicle. Many buyers need good credit to afford an average car loan (you can check your credit score for free on Credit.com), let alone a loan for a car that could top your mortgage.
But just because you have a beer budget doesn't mean you can't enjoy champagne dreams, or at least take a peek at a few of the priciest wheels money can buy. For fun, we've mated each of these wild wheels with the location where a house might just be had for the same price.
For eco-minded speed freaks with a hefty budget, there's the BMW i8. This all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid sports car features a TwinPower turbo engine, coupled with an electric motor to produce 357 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Cocooned in the hi-tech carbon fiber "passenger cell," BMW claims drivers can rocket the i8 from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. It does all this while getting 76 "eMPG," the new metric used for alternative-fuel vehicles' consumption.
The BMW i8's futuristic design features vertical scissor doors, ensuring a rush of excitement with every entry and exit, and a riotous response from curious onlookers. If you're trying to fly under the radar in an i8, you're out of luck – expect to be met at every stoplight and gas station by a barrage of fans with camera phones and questions about your exotic ride.
Lusting for Louis Vuitton and have some money to burn? Consider adding the optional Louis luggage, custom-fitted to the i8. The entire luggage collection costs $26,050, which could buy you a new Jeep Cherokee and leave a few grand in your pocket.
The BMW i8 costs $136,650, which could buy the median-priced home in Texas, according to Zillow.
Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
The Huracán has got quite the enticing tagline: "It's like a time machine. Only faster." This aerodynamic Italian rocket has a 0-60 time that hovers around three seconds, and leaves us wondering if we could drive Back to the Future. The mid-mounted, naturally-aspirated V10 engine, visible through a super cool transparent enclosure, pushes out 610 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque delivering a blinding top speed of 202 mph.
To complement its sizable power plant, the Huracán features all-wheel drive and a stiff, light-weight aluminum and carbon fiber chassis. Passing traffic is as effortless as attracting attention. Inside, Huracán LP 610-4 features a race-car like leather and alcantara cockpit, and an instrument cluster that evokes a NASA mission-control. The Huracán is so low to the ground that climbing in and out may feel like you're playing a game of limbo, but your flexibility will be quickly rewarded as there are fewer more dazzling cars on the road.
The Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 costs $242,445, which could buy a median-priced home in New York.
Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II
Since its launch in 2010 the Rolls-Royce Ghost has been celebrated for its smooth, yet tight drive – after all, the Ghost is known as Rolls' driver's car. Now, it's gone through what Rolls calls a "discrete and considered" update, called the Ghost Series II. The Series II is as sporty as it is luxurious, with its V12 engine putting out 563hp and 575 lb-ft of torque. It does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds to hustle drivers between their city brownstones and country estates at speeds up to 155 mph.
While we all love the thrill of instant gratification, potential buyers wouldn't just buy any old Ghost Series II off the dealership lot – instead, they "commission" it, as one might a yacht. It takes time, and perhaps an interior designer, to ponder which of the marque's 44,000 available colors might work well together. Do you have a thing for bling? One such customer went on a spending spree, incorporating hundreds of diamonds into the interior. Commissioning takes time, and once ordered, your Bespoke Rolls could take 3-4 months before it graces your garage, while those with ample time and money on hand could take a year to finalize more intricate customization of their motorcars.
Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II costs $289,250, which could buy the median-priced home in New Jersey.
If you've always dreamed of a prancing horse gracing your hood, you're not alone – fanatical Ferrari fans are a dime a dozen. But if the brand's hefty price tags haven't held you back, perhaps the lack of practicality has; exotic cars aren't exactly suitable for all seasons, or transporting the family, right? Enter the FF, Ferrari's four-seat "shooting brake," a two-door wagon with all-wheel drive that leaves no reason to be left off your list of dream cars.
The Ferrari FF features a 6.3-liter V12 engine that pumps out 651hp and a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds. And its 208mph top speed delivers on the Italian marque's promise to thrill. The FF is Ferrari through and through, with a sculpted, sporty exterior and a driver-focused, leather-and-metal wrapped cockpit, but where it really shines is in its unexpected utility. A quick search for the FF's trunk capacity delivers photos of it carrying wood, dogs, bikes, golf clubs and even people – nobody can resist testing the FF's functionality. Performance in all weather is equally impressive; its all-wheel drive system, coupled with proper seasonal tires and carbon-ceramic brakes, isn't deterred by downpours or snow, tackling the slippery roads alongside more quotidian rides.
The FF costs $295,000, which is about as much as the median-priced home in Banner Elk, N.C.
Bentley Mulsanne Speed
The Mulsanne is the flagship of the Bentley range, and the 'Speed' designation doesn't lie – this ultra-luxury sedan has a V8 engine with 530 hp, and an astonishing 811 lb-ft of torque. It does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds and top speed is an impressive 190 mph.
In contrast to the hustle on the highway, the Mulsanne Speed's silent and serene hand-built cabin is worthy of an Architectural Digest spread. Owners choose from 24 leather colors, with hides from bulls that have been raised in fence-free pastures in northern climes to prevent blemishes from barbed wire and insects. There are 10 wood-veneer options, and the Speed features sporty Piano Black and Carbon fiber waistrail inlays.
Would you enjoy a working commute from the backseat? Add the optional $12,965 tech package, with electronically-operated wood-veneer tables, iPad connections, and matching keyboards, all hooked into on-board Wi-Fi. Those who are more inclined toward relaxation might indulge in the $10,755 glass champagne-bottle cooler option, which of course includes crystal champagne flutes. Chin chin!
The Bentley Mulsanne Speed costs $335,600, about the same cost as the median-priced home in Beverly Hills, Mich.
Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche's motor racing has informed the development of the 918 Spyder, a supercar that combines maximum performance with minimum fuel consumption. This powerful mid-engine, plug-in hybrid Porsche delivers a combined output of 887 hp and 944 lb-ft of torque, accelerating from 0-60 in just 2.5 seconds, which earns it the distinction of having the fastest 0-60 time of any unmodified production car. It has an all-wheel drive system, to ensure maximum traction, and operates in one of five modes, listed from lowest to highest consumption and acceleration – e-power, hybrid, sport hybrid, race hybrid and hot lap.
The 918 Spyder is a rare beast that looks as fast as it is, with an open top and sleek, swoopy lines, and wheels and tires seemingly swallowing up half the height of the car. It clearly means business. Inside, carbon-fiber graces the high-tech dash, and heavily bolstered seats hug on the hard turns and high speeds.
The most serious of speed freaks, seeking ways to cut weight and improve on already absurd acceleration, need only reach for their wallets. A cool $84,000 buys the Weissach Package, which trims 90 lbs off the 918 Spyder's weight, further improving the superlative dynamics. Call us crazy, but for the money, we'd rather have the 'regular' 918 Spyder and then pick up some American muscle with the 650 hp Chevy Corvette Z06. In dreams, who says we can't have it all?
The Porsche 918 Spyder costs $845,000, just about enough to buy the median-priced home in Berkeley, Calif.
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse
If dreaming of six-figure cars strikes you as all too achievable, why not reach for a Bugatti? Few mere mortals even get a glimpse of these exotic beasts 'in the wild,' i.e. beyond the floor of an auto show or dealership, never mind experience the thrill of driving one.
The 'regular' Veyron Grand Sport produced an astonishing 1,001hp, which apparently wasn't enough, so along came the limited edition Vitesse, French for 'velocity.' The Vitesse delivers the power of 1,200 horses – to help you wrap your head around that number, that's nearly seven times the horsepower of the perennial best-selling Toyota Camry – and 1,106 lb-ft of torque out of its colossal W16 engine. It does 0-60 in about 2.5 seconds, with a tire-burning top speed of 258mph. We've flown in planes at that speed!
Of course the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is among the rarest, most special cars currently made in the world – production is limited to 150 units across its lifetime. Wonder what it takes to own one of these? Bugatti customers' wealth is measured in net worth, rather than income, so if you're not sitting on a trust fund, studying and working hard in a lucrative career and saving your pennies is just the beginning of what you'll need to make the dream come true.
The Bugatti 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse costs $2,422,056, nearly enough to buy the average house in central London.
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