You don't need to spend a fortune to have a nice ride.
Imagine coming home from the dealership having just spent $50,000 or even $100,000 on a brand new car. Your neighbors will likely take notice and marvel at how well work must be going for you (and also wondering why you didn't spend that money making your house look nicer). Bringing home a new car is such a great feeling, but you don't need to spend a ton of cash to make people think you've done well. In fact, we've found five cars that all cost under $10,000 that will make your neighbors think you spent much more.
People who don't know much about cars seem to think that anyone who drives a BMW must be wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. However, owning a BMW (especially a used one) doesn't have to be reserved for the rich. We found a 2008 BMW 550i for just $8,900. Unfortunately, an M5 will cost well over $10,000, but this 550i is the next best thing. This was the top level non-M 5 Series, powered by a 360 horsepower 4.8-liter V8. This isn't some basic 5 Series with as much power as a garden variety V6 Camry, this was the one that executives drove. This ultra-cool BMW will certainly drop jaws if you decide to reveal how cheap it actually was to buy.
The B6 Audi S4 is another V8 car and one of our personal favorites. We recommended the S4 as part of our V8s for under $10,000 list, and we're happy to bring it back again here. We found a 2005 S4 with only 72,000 miles on it for just $8,950. The 4.2-liter V8 in this car produces 340 hp going out to a Quattro AWD system. The model that we found has a six-speed automatic, but the six-speed manual is also available at this price. The S4 was a match for the E46 BMW M3 in its day, but now costs far less to own. The best part about this car is that you can tell your neighbors it has the same engine as the Audi R8 that Iron Man drove. Come on, will they really know the difference?
In 2010, Jaguar introduced a radically new XJ that signaled a complete design change for the company. In the minds of some, the XJ that preceded it (the X350 chassis) was the last "true Jaguar" that didn't have influence from Tata. We found one of the later versions of this XJ, a 2006 Vanden Plas model, for just $8,999. It even comes with the classic Jaguar green paint with a tan interior. This XJ came with Jaguar's workhorse 4.2-liter V8, which produces 294 hp in this application. Despite being an executive car, the XJ only weighed 3,800 pounds, which made it quite a driver's car. If nothing else, that Leaping Cat hood ornament will certainly make the neighbors jealous.
When the Germans decide to get quirky, they really go nuts. The original Audi TT had a very intriguing design. People either hated it or loved it, and we were among the latter. The TT wasn't like a conventional roadster because it was based on the FWD Golf platform. Luckily, we found a 2001 model that has Audi's excellent Quattro AWD system. The car only has 61,000 miles on it and is currently for sale for $7,990. This TT came with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which produced 225 hp in the Quattro version. The car we found also has the optional six-speed manual transmission, which will add even more driving enjoyment when cruising with the top down.
We were quite upset when Infiniti announced that it was going to change the model designations on its whole lineup. This is because we had grown to love the Infiniti G model. The G35 was a great car that has become incredibly affordable. We've found the more handsome looking coupe model for sale for $9,500. The car comes powered by a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 280 hp with the five-speed automatic or 298 hp with the six-speed manual. The 2005 model that we found only has 65,000 miles on it. It's also possible to get a G37 for under $10,000, but these will likely have over 100,000 miles on them. Both the G35 and G37 still look great today because of their timeless designs.