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2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Roadster (Aston Martin)
2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Roadster (Aston Martin)

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Lottery winner goes car shopping to fill up his new garage Add to ...

Hi Guys: I read your column every week and finally thought I should ask you a burning question that I have. I am a little dangerous because I am a car nut and have been since I was 10 years old and would sit at the side of the road watching cars go by and dreaming of my 16th birthday.

Now - many years later - I came into a lot of money: car nut equals decisions, decisions equal trouble. I now have a 2010 Mercedes-Benz E550. I just ordered a 2012 Mercedes CLS 63 AMG. I am building a new house and it will have a three-car garage, with a raised roof for a car lift. That is where my next car will be perched. What should that be? I want it to be fun; likely a convertible. Quick, sexy. I have put a personal limit around $100,000, but if there is something too good to turn down, I will go higher. - Doug in Etobicoke, Ont.

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Vaughan: Uh Cato, I checked this guy out. He's for real. He recently won 27 million smackers in some lottery. I say there's no way he'll limit himself to 100 grand. Dougie-boy could slap down two megabucks for a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, the 1,001-hp convertible, and barely notice the ripple in his bank balance.

Cato: You, who wouldn't know Justin Bieber from a B-B gun, knows the winner of a $27-million lottery. It's all about the money, isn't it? Whoever has the most at the end wins, correct? That's your life's mantra?

So steer Doug to blowing his budget by 20 times? I guess when you're spending someone else's money - I'm reminded of this when the cheque arrives and your wallet is missing. You are the Jackie Stewart of car journalism.

Look, Vaughan, for our fellow from Etobicoke, I'm willing to stretch the budget to $150,000, but that's it. No more.

Vaughan: Dream a little, Cato. Dougie wants to be set free by his money and an amazing car is his ticket.

Cato: Amazing, sure, but not silly. He'd never drive the Bugatti.

Vaughan: A daily driver? Well, it sounds like he already has a garage full of Mercs, so let's send him to the Chevy dealer. A top-of-the-line Corvette is a fine and flashy piece of automotive fun at a price well within his lunch money budget.

There's the Corvette Grand Sport 1SA Package for a mere $84K before discounts - with a 430 horsepower V-8. If you get into the more expensive models you get even more performance, but lose the removable roof panel. That's the closest to a 'Vette droptop.

2011 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Cato: The 'Vette seems a little down-market for a newly minted millionaire. I mean, Doug seems a little like Etobicoke's version of Uncle Jed of the Beverly Hillbillies. No 'Vettes for Doug. The performance is there, but it's not the right image for the nouveau riche.

Vaughan: Then send him to the Aston Martin shop. There's a Vantage V-8 Roadster at $151K that will put our boy in James Bond's favourite ride. Since Aston Martin got free of Ford's ownership, it has been cranking out some beautiful and technically advanced cars with British, not German, overtones.

Cato: I hate to contradict myself, but if we're doing $151,000 why not go the extra 23Gs and get the Vantage S Roadster at $174,000. Hooray for the car's $2,000 glass-trimmed keyfob! That's snob appeal. The S has more horsepower than the regular model - an extra 10, plus fancier wheels, a sportier suspension, tighter steering, beefier brakes with floating front discs and various cosmetic cues.

Doug may not be over the moon about the sequential gearbox; hope he likes rowing the gears via the paddle shifter. Remember to lift off the throttle to smooth shifts, Doug.

But Vaughan, what about these alternatives: a 500-hp Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, a 440-hp Maserati GranTurismo Convertible or a 525-hp Audi R8 5.2 Spyder? I'd get the Porsche or the Spyder before the Aston, frankly.

Vaughan: I wanted Doug to check out Toyota's new supercar, the Lexus LFA, but that would set Dougie back about 400K. Skip it. The R8 Spyder has to be on the list. Audi's first exotic sports car has been a smash hit. It'll run with the Porsche 911 Turbos, but makes a bigger statement.

Cato, there's no substitute for a mid-engine layout and I don't think there's a car anywhere that is more fun to drive. I'd just hate to put it up on that hoist of his because you couldn't admire the R8's lines while it's parked near the roof somewhere.

It's the Spyder for me. Sexy, fast, novel and gorgeous.

Vaughan: Don't care. They're all great. What a shopping trip. But if you're taking the Spyder, I'll take the Aston.

2011 Audi R8 5.2 Spyder

*****

HOW THEY COMPARE



2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Roadster

2011 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible

2011 Audi R8 5.2 Spyder

Wheelbase (mm)

2,600

2,685

2,650

Length (mm)

4,385

4,460

4,434

Width (mm)

2,025

1,928

1,904

Height (mm)

1,280

1,237

1,244

Engine

4.7-litre V-8

6.2-litre V-8

5.2-litre V-10

Output (horsepower/torque)

430/361 lb-ft

430/424 lb-ft

525/390 lb-ft

Drive system

rear-wheel drive

rear-wheel drive

all-wheel drive

Transmission

seven-speed automatic

six-speed manual

six-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)

1,630

1,479

1,685

Fuel economy (litres/100 km)

15.8 city/9.6 highway

12.9 city/7.7 highway

19.1 city/12.0 highway

Base price (MSRP)

$174,000

$84,085

$187,000

Source: car manufacturers



Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CTV.

Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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