Dream cars: What I would do with a R400k budget

Although many young people either don’t have a car, or have a car that is a hand-me-down or on a low budget, we often dream of the day we can get ourselves something special. I have thought about the days when I myself can afford something nice, something that can turn heads, and also has the practicality required for the urban city life. Below I have detailed 3 of the cars I would consider for various reasons as my R400k Dream Car.

The New Mercedes A-Class

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New Mercedes pocket rocket

With a cost of R392 606, this is a luxurious, yet very sporty option to get for your R400k. This new model is a vast improvement looks-wise on the previous model, and also comes with a monster under the bonnet.

The A250 Sport comes with a 2.0l four cylinder engine that generates 155kW (165kW in Sport mode) and 350Nm of torque. This car is a ripper, giving you a whole lot of luxury and sporty-ness in one very good looking shell. With the price being just below the R400k threshold, you get a whole lot of badge for not such a lot, if you were to compare this car to other cars in its class.

In terms of the economy, the car is able to get a fuel consumption of around 6.6l per 100km (claimed by Mercedes), although if I were to own this, I probably would be a bit heavy on the accelerator. But who’s counting when you are unleashing a hot hatch, consumption isn’t the main reason for this car being purchased. However, if you want power and consumption, best you buy the A220 CDI… diesel power, great economy. But that’s another review.

In terms of the speed, this car rockets from 0 to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds. Not bad given that you are driving a car make that is more known for their luxury than brut speed (with the exception of the AMG department).

What sets this car apart from other cars that I will be reviewing is that you get a whole lot of extras standard when you get this top of the range model. So for just under R400k, you get a whole lot of luxury, speed, and class. This is my pick for my money.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

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Golf just keeps churning them out. Wow

The Golf GTI, for a long time, was my ultimate (realistic) dream car. With performance always being up there with the best of its class, and the build quality always being reliable, this was the bench mark for hatch-back vehicles all over the world.

Like the Mercedes above, the golf has a 2.0l engine, powers through the use of a twin-turbo system known as the TSI system. This allows the car to have extra power at both low and high revvs, allowing for smoother acceleration, and less turbo lag.

For a price of R382 800, it is well priced for a very well built, good looking and sporty hatch-back vehicle. Although this car is sometimes regarded as being expensive when it comes to its speed in comparison to other hot-hatches, I don’t believe this is the case. I don’t believe, in my personal opinion, that the other hot-hatches have the same build quality and reputation. From my own experience as a VW Polo Tdi owner, I find that the build quality, service quality, and reliability is top-notch. Noddy badge to Volkswagen.

I know most people that read car blogs are only interested in speed, so here are the specs… The new Golf 7 GTI has 162kW of power, and 350Nm of torque, making this car very similar power-wise to the Mercedes detailed above. This translates to 6.5 seconds to get to the 100km/h mark, which is quite respectable indeed. The claimed fuel consumption is 6.0l per 100 km, but as mentioned in the Mercedes review, this is a very unlikely figure given how strong the gravitational pull of the accelerator pedal is.

What makes me lean more towards the Mercedes is that you get a lot of items/extras included when you buy it, as opposed to the Golf which seems to have a lot of optional extras on the pricelist which seem like they should be included anyway when you buy the car.

On the whole, you cant go wrong with a Volkswagen. The GTI is the hatch that, for me, revolutionised the hot hatch era. Without it, the Mercedes above would not have happened, and it would have forever been included in the mommy-car department. Thank you Volkswagen.

Audi A3 Sportback 1.8l FSI Quattro

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Fast, yet practical

I was originally going to give my 2 cents on the BMW 1 series, however the Audi has caught attention more lately. So my blog, my rules.

This model is not exactly in the same range as the Golf or the Mercedes, given that it has the 1.8l engine as opposed to the 2.0l engines of the former vehicles. However, this car still gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

With an asking price of R370 000, this is the cheapest of the options above, and its not all that much slower.

A friend of mine recently purchased a brand new Audi A1 1.6Tdi, and I know, I know, it’s a bit of girly car for a guy to drive. But that being said, the A1 is actually a very nice comfortable car, with a killer sound system, nice ride, and sleek interior. This is the same with the A3 Sportback, except even more so.

The 4 wheel drive system will give the vehicle better handling when going into corners, as well as in wet or variable conditions. The Quattro system was the innovator when it came to all-wheel drive systems in sedan, and now hatch back, vehicles. It has set the bar very high, with other car manufacturers trying to follow suit.

The car is not as quick as the GTI or A250, taking 6.8 seconds to get to 100km/h. However, with the all-wheel drive system, it would be interesting to have this car compete around corners or on a track. With 132kW and 250Nm of torque, this is the more reasonable, and less crazy of the lot, giving you just enough power, without losing its mind. With a combined travel cycle of 6.6l per 100km, it compares favourably with the hot-hatches above.

Summary

I might be biased towards the Mercedes, given that my family has always been a Merc family, and that the new Merc is a “new” model out on the street, but I think that is where my R400k would go. But if I were to think with my head, rather than my right foot, I would have a hard time deciding between these three cars. They each have their own benefits, pros and cons, and features that make them unique. I would need a three-sided coin to realistically decide which to choose. So when having a tough choice, ask around. Good luck with that.

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