The best pre-owned enthusiasts cars under the 10L & 20L barrier

Necessary upkeep should be reasonable for a middle class, or salary earner.

BHPian Overlander recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Ok, so let us get real. You are a TeamBHPian. Or at least someone who frequents these forums in anonymity while still wiping the grease off your palms in a towel. Your living room drawer have the latest electricity, PNG, telephone, school bills that need to be paid. You are enjoying a perfectly (and directionless) sedate weekend after a strong grind at the office, or the modest workshop you call home for 5 days a week. You are already looking deep and long into the horizon, where you would wish for jumping dolphins, and ochre sunset to be setting in. Instead, you are not sure of what Monday holds for you. And then while you stand perilously close to the thought-cliff, someone comes and just gives you a gentle nudge.

It could be a classmate, now showcasing their latest garage acquisition on Facebook/ Instagram (the holy grail of this generation's existence); or it could be that annoying neighbour you scoffed at for their disenchanted pompousness. It could be easily that match-box of a car sketch that your child proudly handed over to you, reminding you of the silhouette you used to sketch at their age. That's all it takes, you know!

You are laughing? This car has suicide doors man!

<Lest I digress, scene pans out and returns to the story> You forget about your middle class dispositions, and dive into a myriad of online portals/ resources at your disposal and while still being able to carefully (somewhat hesitantly but cautiously) keep moving the price range slider to an acceptable range. 40 lakhs? Sure, what are these mushroom-banks going to be come to work if not now. There is this hilarious Bengali-quotation shirt I have in our family which say "Jaa kamai, shob EMI"  (eloquently loosely translated to - "All Earnings, Wasted on Yearnings"!) Nope, you put it to 20 Lakhs.

So very recently, let us say a friend of mine got down this rabbit hole. I (sorry, I meant HE) scoured through the threads available on TeamBHP to find optimum utilisation of scarce resources a new definition - 101 ways to 'invest' 'small savings' into a car that puts a 'smile on your face'. Requirement? Satiate that long standing penchant to own a car (fossil based) that will plaster a grin that you do not want to post on social media, because it made you look stupid.

Now anyone who has been even slightly diligent with their searches (I am not referring to generative AI search capability - just a sliver of common sense capability) will know there are tons of such threads on this forum. Some basic educational threads, that will try its level best to knock some sense into that hard shell of yours.

But then here you are, looking at yet another one. Then you realise, why is this required on the first place? The purpose of this thread will be to note down defined price bands, and listing down options on a basic rule of 'feasibility' within that price band and tingles your senses on nostalgia (Yes! I am looking at you, please do not say M340i 10 years down the line at 25 lakhs). How do you know either of us will live that long for the other person to say "I told you so!". Therefore, here are the ground rules:

  • Price Bands: < 10 Lakhs; >10 lakhs but < 22 Lakhs (Nothing more, please refer the Thread name!)
  • Car Criteria: Fun to drive enthusiast car, it has to be special and it has to be fast. Reliability is definitely a thing, so no references of 1985 LR et al. Therefore, by that design, you cannot recommend a car of extraordinary vintage, which will need 3x price to make it road-worthy.
  • Maintenance: Necessary upkeep should be reasonable for a middle class, or salary earner. No point adding to Pics: Imports gathering dust in India <sad face>.
  • Vintage: Now for the demography, it would be nice to be able to drive it for at least 2-4 years before 'khatara'-police (read NGT) come knocking on your door!Most Importantly: Be honest! If you will not buy the car, please do not recommend. This forum is something that non-enthusiast also refer, it would be our moral obligation to ensure recommendations here are things that we, as ardent car enthusiast, will also don't mind buying.

The question to answer is, which car that attains to your nostalgia and one you would like to consider, given a restriction on funds available? During the time on this thread, one would like to come to answer that very question.

Less than 10 Lakhs: I am positive that other members would chip in with their inputs as well, for the time being, I do not fancy any other cars in this group.

Note: Pictures courtesy Google images, and respective upload owners.

Mercedes E350 CDI (2011-2013):

  • The daddy of Octavia with quad-headlights
  • TeamBHP review suggested it had S-Class interiors. Need I say more?
  • 3.0 V6 diesel, 231BHP, 540nm torque. If you feel 530D prices are obnoxious, this is the alternative.
  • Make sure to read this thread before you start financially planning for it


Audi A6 3.0 TDI Quattro (2012-14):

  • If you like your tail to point another direction and your steering to other, this is not the car for you. For everyone else, the venerable Quattro ensures your leach of a car stays firmly rooted to the road.
  • When Renuka was still making the auto world sit up and listen, she had chosen this over the other 2 marquee offerings.
  • Do not be surprised to see VWAG branded parts used in the car. There is a lot of cross-pollination in the brands.
  • A4 3.0 would be a better handler, so would the 530D. This would be a sleeper car, and could potentially sleep for some time in the garage if something went wrong. An acquaintance waited well into 2-3 months trying to prim up his pre-owned car recently.

Fiat Punto Abarth (2015-16):

  • Remember the time when India got excited at sub-10 0-100kmph timing? Yes. This is the one that made heads turn then.
  • Powerdrift had a very emotional video on this car. This was at a time when they hadn't migrated to gaming-console-inspired graphics; and somehow made more sense.
  • Built like a Tank! While the space inside is not near as a family person would want, the steering is more a place to hold on to than steer the car.
  • Fiat's future in the country? Oh well! There have been rumour mills since acche-din was not even a thing.

VW Jetta TDI (2015-16):

  • The Jetta in this vintage came with a multi-link suspension at the rear offering great ride quality along with very good handling. The Octavia came with a compound link crank axle.
  • A very dear friend of mine bought 2 of them recently. Unfortunately sold both of these, for no reason given by the car. But any garage specialising in European cars can upkeep it perfectly.

E90 BMW 330i (2010-11):

  • Paraphrasing from what Dark.Knight had written on this very forum while disclaiming his inability to write 'drab, boring language' "For the E90 I cannot exercise that restraint, Freude am Fahren is an understatement for the car, even ahead of the present F30".
  • It will be extremely rare for you to find one that is in half decent state. But if you do come across one, you will do well to put a token money down at the least.
  • The 330i after this generation lost 2 cylinders in the engine bay.

Honourable Mentions: Volvo came with >300BHP V8 at the turn of previous decade. Audi A6 came with stonker of an 3.0 TFSI till 2014. Octavia was similar to Jetta in many ways, and therefore can be considered as well. YouTube is flooded with modifications that give the current vRS a run for its money as well. Last, but not the least, VW Polo GT TSI, but it is not "special" enough.

Continue reading BHPian Overlander's thread for more insights and information.

Redlining the Indian Automotive Scene