Photgraphy: Charlie Magee
Let’s cut to the Bourne- style, police-sirens-wailing, adrenaline-pumping chase: you don’t need a new car – it’s just, well, you want one. And in the case of men and cars, ‘I want’ usually gets. But you’re not just after any new motor. You want a set of wheels that offers something genuinely different, yet fits within your ‘amount I can spend without losing the house or the missus’ budget. Well, step this way into the FHM showroom, sir. Currently lounging on the forecourt are four cars with two things in common: they’re all fantastic to drive and they all offer something unique. So whether you’re a frustrated city-dweller, a laid-back country lad, a road warrior or a fiscal-savvy frugalista, dust off that credit card, because there’s a vehicle (sticks thumbs in braces, flashes a golden smile and offers a cheeky wink) perfectly suited to you.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
Looks, as they say, can be deceptive. Sure, taken at face value, this Gallardo LP560-4 appears to be merely another identikit Gallardo. But beneath the jagged, fat-free exterior, it’s an almost entirely new supercar that only tops out at 200mph and, thanks to exquisite German engineering, is as reliable as a Nissan Micra. Which is all nicey-nicey, but let’s get to the Gallardo’s trump card: with four-wheel drive and perfect weight distribution, it’s incredibly simple to drive very, very fast. So simple, in fact, even your gran could spank this round Silverstone. Only she won’t. Because you won’t let her. You won’t let anyone. Because once you’ve bought this, you’re never letting go of the steering wheel ever again. An attachment formed partly due to its erection-inducing handling and partly because you’ll have sold your house to pay for it. A criticism, yes, but also something we only seriously considered. Then we remembered we didn’t own a house. Arse.
Engine: 5.2-litre V10
0-to-60mph: 3.6 sec
Top speed: 202mph
No, readers, this isn’t a joke. We’re deadly serious: if you want a cheap, stylish set of wheels that doesn’t make you want to slash your wrists every time you drive it, you need… a Fiesta. Admittedly it doesn’t sound right, but stick with us. For starters, this isn’t just a city-parking-space-finder; it actually relishes being driven hard – chuck it into a tight corner and it refuses to let go. It’s a riot – and when the hot ST version comes out later in ’09, it’ll be an instant classic. Then there’s the oft-slated looks. Combining a funky exterior with a well-sorted interior, perfectly set up for today’s communication gadgetry, it’s emphatically not (repeat, not) a girl’s car. What it is, however, is the most important new Ford for years. Cheap to buy and run, it’s the best way to keep both your bank manager and your inner Ayrton Senna happy. And, unlike the old XR2 rusting away in your neighbour’s front garden, it’s actually built properly.
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder
0-to-60mph: 9.5 sec
Top speed: 120mph
In the ’50s James Dean was the coolest man alive. He drove a Porsche 356 Speedster. Enough said – where can you get one? Er, slight hitch. Porsche built just 4,100, only six of which had a steering wheel on the right-hand side. Plus the prices now read like telephone numbers, and that’s if you can find one for sale. Shit. Or it would be, except for the fact that there’s a bargain alternative made right here in Blighty. The Tygan Speedster offers all the sub-zero cool of the original, but drives far, far better. It’s extremely light (just 800kg), surprisingly rapid and, when the roof’s down, turns every single female head. And, like the aformentioned Dean’s love life, the good news just keeps on coming. This vehicle will never rust and, unlike almost every other new car on sale today, it’ll retain almost all its value when the time comes to trade it in. Not that you’ll want to get rid of it, of course. Well, not until ‘the wettest June on record’, anyway…
Engine: 1.8-litre flat-four
0-to-60mph: 8.7 sec
Top speed: 101mph
Bright orange, crafted solely from carbon fibre and windscreen-less, KTM’s X-Bow (pronounced ‘crossbow’) is a ‘look at me’ badass car – the motoring equivalent of the kids your mum didn’t want you to hang out with after school. But sometimes – as you discovered when rebelling and getting a blowie off the town tart behind the local garage – it’s so damn good being bad. Essentially a road-legal racer, the X-Bow is the first car produced by Austrian motorbike company KTM and is powered by a two-litre, turbocharged motor lifted from the bullet-proof Golf GTi. It also weighs about the same as a mobile phone, which means that, with 240bhp on tap, it goes from 0-60mph in under four seconds and tops out at an incredible 137mph. Selling point two? It manages nearly 40mpg, making it cheap to run. Selling point three? Power steering? Nope. Traction control? Uh-uh. Anti-lock brakes? Yeah, right. This raw speedster is strictly for hard-driving thrill-seekers. Want to be in this gang? Strap yourself into the F1-style carbon cockpit and put your pedal to the KTM’s metal. Don’t? Shop elsewhere Mr Namby Pamby.
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder
0-to-60mph: 3.8 sec
Top speed: 137mph