Electric powertrains are among the most talked about topics among petrolheads on forums these days. However, in the present, let’s not forget naturally aspirated petrol engines. In my opinion, they will always be regarded as the best type of powertrain by most enthusiasts.
While we can still buy mainstream cars with naturally aspirated engines, only a handful of performance cars are currently available with them, like the Lamborghini Huracán. Nonetheless, there are some great pre-owned performance cars you can buy today that will go down in history as the last hurrah for naturally aspirated engines at their very best. Here’s a list of cars I would look at that offer tremendous bang for your buck.
Some very recent naturally aspirated supercars, like the Ferrari 458 and F12, have already stopped depreciating, and their resale values over the past year or so have remained stable. In fact, resale values of older Ferraris like the 355 are appreciating in India. That said, the cost of buying and maintaining pre-owned Ferraris will always be out of reach for most, so let us talk about the (relatively) more affordable cars.
The previous-generation Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG or E63 AMG, with their legendary naturally aspirated 6,208cc V8 can be had for around Rs 30 lakh. The nearly same M159 engine also powered the extraordinary SLS AMG models, and is considered one of AMG’s greatest motors and one of the best-sounding ones of all time too. If you can find one and can afford it, get yourself an SLS AMG coupé with the gull-wing doors. It is going to be a sure-shot collectible classic soon.
You can also buy some legendary BMW M cars, like the E90/E92/E93 M3 – the last naturally aspirated M3. I’ve seen a number of sparingly used cars come up on sale occasionally, with prices starting at around Rs 22 lakh. The M car that I would most consider, though, is the E60-generation M5 with its F1-inspired V10 engine. In the words of Narain Karthikeyan, it is probably one of the greatest road car engines ever; and praise cannot get higher. Yes, the SMG gearbox can be troublesome, but there’s no denying that it sounds and drives better than most super-sedans even today.
If you missed your chance to buy an air-cooled Porsche, you can still buy some awesome naturally aspirated 911s or Boxsters with fabulous flat-six engines. Boxster 981 models with naturally aspirated engines are holding on to their values well. With all the new-gen 911 models (992 generation) getting turbocharged engines right from the base Carrera model, what I’d really put my money on is a naturally aspirated rear-wheel-drive 911 from the 997 or 991.1 generations. It’s now or never. Buy one before it’s too late.