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Affordable Coupés Win the Honours

Which older Coupés to avoid and which to buy

The Jaguar XK8 is magnificent - magnificently expensive. Servicing is extortionate, fuel consumption alarming, and depreciation steeper than Mount Everest. Jaguar lovers secure 2003 models from £20,000 and brace themselves. So, are there alternatives for budget concious motorists?

The Audi TT is based on Volkswagen's Golf and delivers style and performance. The 247bhp V6 charges to 60mph in 6.2 seconds; comparable to Jaguar's XK8. The four-wheel-drive chassis provides excellent traction and overall reliability is bulletproof. Luggage space is generous although the claustrophobic rear cabin is best reserved as an instrument of torture.

Alternatively, consider the Toyota Celica. The Celica's 1.8-litre engine generates 189bhp and achieves 60mph in 7.2 seconds. The smaller 140bhp variant delivers 36.7mpg and minimises running costs. Handling and reliability are exceptional although the styling resembles a doorstop. Perfect, if you like doorstops.

A 2003 TT costs £10,000 and Celicas start at £7,500. Coupés are rarely nurtured so check the suspension and tyre shoulders for excessive wear. This indicates hard driving. Full service history is essential and avoid cars with hedges behind the bumper. This indicates hard crashing.

Jaguar ownership is an amazing experience but you need a mortgage to afford it. Audi and Toyota offer excellent reliability, reasonable practicality, and thrilling performance at an affordable price.

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