The 15 Coolest Used Cars Under $60,000 (Part 3)
On what seems like a daily basis, I think about the different used cars I could potentially buy at certain price ranges. That is, optimal price ranges where depreciation has run most of it’s course. From what I’ve seen, at $35,000, $60,000 and $100,000 you can pretty much buy some of the coolest and most iconic cars ever produced. So, if I had a budget of around $60,000 and my goal was to max that out for the coolest used car, what’s in my realm of possibility? It turns out that there’s a lot of great choices, but I’ve narrowed it down to just 15.
I’ve been revealing my list of 15 via this three part column – each post highlighting the next five cars. Last week I went over cars 6 – 10, and this week I’ll finally cover cars 11 – 15.
As before, here are a few things to keep in mind while reading through my list:
- My cut off date for a car to be considered “used” is 10 years, so nothing before 2005
- My definition of “cool” may be different than your definition; feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below
- I understand that you can negotiate the price down on most of these cars, as well as buy them cheaper at the auction; in an effort to keep it simple and consistent, I’ve filtered these cars purely based off their average clean title prices at a dealership
- This list is in no particular order, and I will be publishing this list 5 cars at a time; find cars 1 – 5 here, and cars 6 – 10 here
Without further ado, here are the final five coolest used cars under $60,000:
Photo Credit: Autoevolution
11. Mercedes CLK63 Black Series (2007 – 2008)
Original MSRP: $138,000
Powerplant: 6.2 liter V8 – 500 hp
Let me just start by saying, holy fender flares. When the wizards in Affalterbach put this car on the drawing board, they wanted to bring some DTM styling to a road car and create something that was going to be truly special to drive on the street. They decided to use the CLK as the platform and the goal was to give it the full AMG treatment. The end result was the CLK63 Black Series. What made this Black Series so much more unique than the “standard” CLK63? Well, AMG fitted ridiculously awesome wide fender flares on each corner, a large front splitter, hard-as-rocks suspension (seriously, you think you’re going to break something as you hit bumps on the road), a strut bar in lieu of rear seats, and one of the coolest OEM rear diffusers ever installed on a road car.
This car was probably Mercedes-Benz AMG’s most radical departure from their “refined luxury with sport” ideology. The general idea of the CLK63 Black Series was more along the lines of “race car with leather seats”, and it worked out beautifully. Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson was once quoted saying this was one of the best cars he had ever driven. I briefly had an opportunity to drive a CLK63 Black Series, and I can definitely vouch for the fact that it’s definitely something special. In a very un-Mercedes-like way, this car feels raw, direct, un-compromised, and is just absolutely bonkers to look at. The fact that it has the legendary M156 6.2 liter V8 is just a cherry on top, but it’s just so fitting.
Random fact: this car was $91,000 more expensive than the CLK350 platform which it was based on – because race car.
Ultimately, the CLK63 Black Series is one of the coolest used cars period, but it’s also one of the rarest cars you can find that’s under the $60,000 range.
Photo Credit: OzCarSightings
12. Porsche 911 996 Turbo S (2005)
Original MSRP: $152,095
Powerplant: 3.6 liter flat 6 – 444 hp
The Porsche 996 Carrera is considered by most purists as the most undesirable generation of the 911. Aesthetically, it was too bubbly, it didn’t have attractive headlights, and it had slightly droopy rear tail lights; the interior wasn’t exactly anything to write home about either. From a driver’s perspective, it was larger than the outgoing 993 model, and thus did not feel as connected to the road. Then why the hell is it on this list?
As far as I’m concerned, the cons of the standard 996 Carrera can get tossed out the window because we are talking about the king of the castle: the 996 Turbo, and even more specific, the Turbo S. The only 996’s that I think are cooler than the Turbo S are the nearly unattainable GT2 and GT3; both are way more expensive than our budget of $60,000. Speaking of, the 996 Turbo S is the second most attainable 911 Turbo that you can buy today after the standard 996 Turbo.
The great thing is that almost all the 911’s that Porsche produced in 2005 were Turbo S’s, and the owners kept them in immaculate condition since they retailed at over $150,000. Believe it or not, the Turbo S was actually pretty good value for money at the time. As a standard option, Porsche added the “X50” package which consisted of larger turbos and intercoolers, carbon ceramic brakes, and an interior that was fully upholstered in leather. With these options bundled in, it was actually a better deal than a similarly equipped 2004 non-S Turbo.
The last thing that makes the 996 Turbo S one of the coolest used cars is that there’s a huge aftermarket following with endless tuning potential. Whether you’re thinking of upgrading turbos, doing a tune, or something as simple as an exhaust modification, the 996 really comes alive with some slight modifications. If done right, it can reliably hold up against some of the best performance cars of present day.
Just please don’t get a convertible; aim for the Turbo S coupe, which is actually the rarest of the bunch.
Photo Credit: MercedesBenz
13. Mercedes S65 AMG (2007 – 2008)
Original MSRP: $191,215
Powerplant: 6.0 liter twin-turbo V12 – 604 hp
You see those quad exhaust tips? You see how they’re sort of connected on each side and not four independent tips? That stands for “don’t try me.” Also, aside from the “S65” and “V12 Biturbo” badging, the exhaust is the only way to visually differentiate an S65 from and S63. In the complete opposite fashion to the CLK63 Black Series, the S65 is one of the most subtle monsters to roll out of Affalterbach, and it’s just wonderful.
Seeing an S65 on the road fills me with so much joy; it’s amazing to think that the idea of a twin turbo V12 sedan exists. Whenever I see one buzzing down the road, I just want to meet the owner and have a good laugh because if you’re willing to buy an S Class that has over 600 hp and almost 750 lb-ft of torque, you’ve got to be a hilarious individual. I’d personally be giggling every time I let someone get into the car under the assumption that it’s just another nicely-optioned S Class.
Fuel economy and missile-like speed aside, this is probably one of the best cars to do a cross-country trip with your friends. It can comfortably seat 5, and it’s got some of the best comfort features to ever grace a car including reclining back seats that are heated and cooled, a cooler for drinks, foot rests and full entertainment systems behind the front seats.
One of the coolest things about the S65 is its starting sequence. It isn’t a typical engine start-up, it’s got a long starter sound similar to a Lamborghini Murcielago. How cool is that?
At under $60,000, this is definitely one of the coolest used cars you can buy. In fact, it’s probably the most “car” that you’ll get for your money too.
Photo Credit: Morgan3Wheeler.co.uk
14. Morgan Three Wheeler (2013)
Original MSRP: $73,396
Powerplant: pushrod 4 valve V-2 – 116 hp
I debated whether I could even call this a car, but it’s just too cool not to add to the list. Three wheels, seats two, manual transmission, exposed V-2 motor, side exit exhaust that look like old cannons, multi-spoked wheels, and a WWII vibe. Add era-appropriate decals, and you’ve got one of the coolest looking vehicles on the road.
Alex Roy does a phenomenal job depicting what it’s like to drive a 3 Wheeler in the video below, and just in the first few minutes alone you’ll understand why this is stacks up to be one of the coolest used cars under $60,000.
Similar to the Shelby Cobra 427R (#8 on this list), the Morgan Three Wheeler looks like a complete riot to drive, and the smiles per hour outweigh any of the impracticalities. It’s just pure, visceral driving pleasure and I hope to one day experience it first hand.
And yes, you can buy this car in the states at an authorized Morgan dealer.
Photo Credit: CarandDriver
15. Nissan GT-R (2009 – 2011)
Original MSRP: $70,475
Powerplant: 3.8 liter twin-turbo V6 – 480 hp
You knew it was coming. Although this list was in no particular order, I made sure to put the GT-R last simply because it’s truly the best performance machine you can buy for under $60,000, and most of you probably assumed it would be #1 on this list.
It’s hard to describe the cool factor of the GT-R without talking performance. Even in 2009, it was running low 3 second 0-60 times and was producing silly and seemingly unrealistic times at both the drag strip and race track. It put up a faster Nurburgring lap time than the $400,000 Carrera GT, and it would embarrass most modded muscle cars at the drag strip by running the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds directly from the factory. GT-R engines are hand-made in Japan and the first generation boasted a supposed 480 hp, but dyno tests for many stock cars showed that in some cases they easily made over 500 hp to the crank.
From a pure driver’s experience standpoint, the GT-R is criticized for having computers do all the work and this is true to some degree. The fact is, you still have to be careful with this car; performance is extremely accessible, but no computer can save you if you decide to violate the laws of physics or get too careless. That said, this is one of the few cars where driving slow is just as interesting as driving fast. The first generation of the R35 GT-R (2009 – 2011) was crude, loud, and rough. You could hear the transmission’s metal on metal sounds while coming to a stop, and it had an extremely stiff suspension which gave it a solid feel – ironically, more sound deadening and softer damper settings were offered in the 2012 model due to customer feedback.
Let’s talk modifications. It’s funny that when the GT-R was first released, Nissan said that the ECU was uncrackable, and that customers would not be able to modify the factory settings of the car. Many well-known tuners said “challenge accepted” and months after the GT-R hit the street, so did a plethora of aftermarket parts. It’s by no means cheap to properly modify a GT-R, but there’s such a wide variety of directions one can take while modding. I’ve seen anything ranging from a tasteful tune and exhaust, to massive 2000 hp builds that run 7 seconds in the quarter mile.
Thanks to it’s history, performance and cult following, the GT-R is easily one of the coolest used cars, especially under $60,000. However, is it the coolest? That’s up for debate.
Just one word of advice – if you so happen to buy a 2009 model, don’t abuse the launch control. Trust and thank me later.
That wraps up all 15 cars! Did I miss something that you wanted to see in the list? Leave a comment below!
For reference, here’s the rest of the list:
Featured Image Credit: Unknown
The opinions of the author in this post do not reflect the views of Velocity Crew as a whole.
Always drive responsibly and obey all traffic laws.