Best midlife crisis cars

Whether it's your friends teasing you about having a midlife crisis or you've embraced it yourself, why not choose the best car for the job?

Sam Naylor
Feb 8, 2021

Some people see a midlife crisis as a bad thing, where previously sensible folks suddenly splash out on frivolous things, with the perception that these compensate for other elements that are missing in their lives. We see it differently, though: if having a midlife crisis means doing those things you've always wanted but could only dream about until now, that sounds like a good thing to us.

The stereotype goes that older drivers who suddenly pick up a sports car or glitzy SUV must be experiencing a midlife crisis. But with exciting used machines available from less than £10,000, treating yourself to an interesting set of wheels that is faster or more fun to drive than your previous cars, allows you to travel way off-road or simply cruise around in style, needn't be expensive.

For people who enjoy cars, a fancy motor is often something to fantasise about. They’re often too impractical or expensive to consider as an everyday car in your younger years, but once you have all of life’s essentials under your belt, there comes a time that you can finally afford the cars you’ve always wanted. So who cares if putting up with midlife crisis gibes from your friends and family comes with it?

Some midlife crisis involve drivers picking up a classic cars that they loved in their youth but could never afford when they were new, but for the most part, a more modern car is the order of the day. That’s because newer models offer a bit more comfort and peace of mind, things that many drivers appreciate more as they get older.

We’ve put together our ultimate list of midlife crisis cars here to help you find one that’s right for you. There’s something for everyone, no matter what kind of car you love. We've mostly focused on sports cars, as these models are often the subject of midlife crises and can be great value second-hand, or even as second cars, but there are a number of other options here, too. Read on to find the best option for you.

Cars for a midlife crisis

1. Porsche 911

Best for all-round enjoyment

Our pick Porsche 911 Carrera PDK
Used deals from £58,699
Monthly finance from £958*

If you were to ask the general public to name just one midlife crisis car, we’d put money on it being the Porsche 911. It’s such a cliche that the 911 is often looked down on because of it, but there’s a very good reason that this sports car is so popular: it’s good at just about everything. And it's been around in one form or another for decades - so whether you're 60, 50 or 40, chances are that the Porsche 911 was one of the most famous sports cars when you were growing up, so there should be a model that appeals.

The more recent versions of the Porsche 911 are true sports cars and drive brilliantly, so they're fun every time you get behind the wheel - whether you're heading to the office or going on a road trip. Yet the 911 is also comfortable, quiet on long trips, full of high-tech equipment and even has some small back seats for kids.

You could happily commute to work in a Porsche 911, yet it’s also one of the most enjoyable cars to drive on the road. The only thing is, it’s rather expensive - which cements its place as a proper midlife crisis car for someone who’s worked their way to a comfortable living in middle-age. With plenty of choice and strong desirability, though, you might be able to get one with lower monthly payments than you expect with PCP finance.

PORSCHE 911 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Mazda MX-5

Best for affordable fun

Our pick Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav+
Used deals from £20,000
Monthly finance from £311*

The Mazda MX-5 is a brilliant little sports car made all the better by its affordable price and the availability of low monthly payments. The latest version looks great and is just as good to drive, so it makes a great purchase no matter what stage of life you’re in.

The Mazda’s small cabin isn’t the most practical, which means it does live up to a midlife crisis stereotype (especially if you go for an orange one, like the one in the image above), but it’s comfortable to sit in and as long as you’re not very tall, it could easily be driven every day.

Best of all, the roof comes off, which only adds to the fun - and there’s nothing better than top-down motoring in winter, which is easily possible in the Mazda thanks to the roasting-hot heater and toasty heated seats in higher specification models.

There are two versions of the Mazda MX-5, one with a folding soft-top roof and one with a hard-top that folds away, which is called the RF. The RF has a unique design and the roof folds electronically but the soft-top model is slightly cheaper and lowering the top yourself is actually a lot quicker (perfect for when it’s starting to rain and you’ve left the roof off).

MAZDA MX-5 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. BMW M3

Best for practical performance

Our pick BMW M3 DCT
Used deals from £33,000
Monthly finance from £619*

The BMW M3 makes a great midlife crisis car for someone who wants the rush and excitement of a sports car, but doesn’t want to give up on the practicality of a model with four doors and plenty of room for passengers in the back.

It’s based on the 3 Series, but thanks to a powerful petrol engine it’s much faster than lesser models. Other upgraded parts mean it’s more fun to drive as well, if not quite as comfortable. It’s just as easy to drive as a normal 3 Series, thanks to the automatic gearbox option and comfortable driving position.

The rear seats are spacious enough for adults to sit comfortably, so there will be no issue with the kids fitting in the back. Plus, the BMW M3 is full of the latest in-car tech to keep you comfortable, safe and on track to your destination.

BMW M3 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Jaguar F-Pace

Best for SUV fans

Our pick Jaguar F-Pace 2.0i AWD Prestige
Used deals from £26,990
Monthly finance from £391*

Not everyone wants a midlife crisis car that is sporty. For some, SUVs have more appeal - maybe you prefer the looks, or even the high driving position that many have. If that’s you, then we’d recommend the excellent Jaguar F-Pace.

It’s one of the smartest-looking SUVs around, and it’s also one of the best to drive. It has a great driving position, is very comfortable and performance is strong too. The smooth petrol version makes more sense as a midlife crisis car, but if you’ve still wearing your sensible hat, then the diesel options are great as well and offer the prospect of better fuel economy.

The beauty of the F-Pace is that it’s still a practical family car as well as a desirable one. It has a huge boot (perfect for several sets of golf clubs) and loads of room in the back seats, even for adults. As the years go on it’s getting much more affordable too, so while it’s a slightly pricey new car, used models are much better value.

Jaguar may be known for its sports cars and saloons, which also make great midlife crisis cars, but the F-Pace is just as good in most ways and those after a more imposing look and high driving position will love it.

JAGUAR F-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Mercedes E-Class Coupe

Best for style and luxury

Our pick Mercedes E-Class Coupe E300 AMG Line Premium
Used deals from £29,999
Monthly finance from £347*

If you’re having a bit of a midlife crisis but don’t want to deal with the hassle of a sports car, and don’t like SUVs, then you could consider the excellent Mercedes E-Class Coupe. This two-door model is all about style, as it’s one of the sharpest-looking models around.

The sleek design isn’t just on the outside, as the interior is also fantastic and makes the car feel incredibly posh. There’s all the technology you could want, especially as most for sale second hand had first owners who added lots of optional extras - which would have cost them thousands, but add much less to the cost of a used model. The dashboard also looks superb.

The E-Class Coupe is perfect for those who want to spend their midlife crisis driving around the UK or Europe, as it’s great at motorway trips. It’s very comfortable at high speeds and wind and road noise are minimal inside, too.

There’s a lot of space in the boot for your holiday things and there are rear seats with enough room for kids (there’s a slight headroom issue for taller folks back there, however). Powerful engines complete the package, as they mean it’s effortless to drive on the motorway.

MERCEDES E-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Land Rover Discovery

Best for off-roading

Our pick Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6
Used deals Limited stock

Driving for fun isn’t always about going quickly - sometimes you can have more fun going at walking pace than at 60mph. That’s never more true than in an off-roader, and if you love taking to green lanes and dirt tracks, the Land RoverDiscovery is a great choice.

The Discovery 4 is better value than the model that you can buy new, yet it’s just as good at off-roading and still feels like a luxury product inside. You can also fit seven people inside no problem, even adults if the journey isn’t too long.

The huge boot means it’s perfect for those with dogs (or mountain bikes), and it’s comfortable on the road and unstoppable off it. The Discovery's raft of high-tech features help it to plough through pretty much every obstacle you can throw at it - from a gravel path to a river crossing. Engineering fans will love the way it adapts automatically to different conditions, yet there’s also a lot of customisable functions to play with as well.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Ford Fiesta ST

Best for cheap thrills

Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.6 EcoBoost ST-2
Used deals from £10,740
Monthly finance from £203*

If your midlife crisis car needs to be as fun to drive as possible, yet still as cheap as possible - because, despite your midlife crisis, you're very sensible at heart - there’s probably nothing better than the Ford Fiesta ST. It’s a hoot to drive thanks to its superb roadholding and powerful petrol engine, yet cars less than four years old are now available at bargain prices.

Don’t be put off by the small 1.6-litre engine, as its turbocharger means it’s very powerful and really fun to use. Likewise, the Fiesta may be a humble hatchback, but Ford has tuned it to handle like a sports car, so every journey is a riot. It feels like a little race car for the road.

Yet despite the low price and high fun factor, the Fiesta ST isn’t impractical. It’s not the most comfortable, but it’s as easy to drive as you could want, has enough room in the back for kids and the boot has plenty of room for the weekly shop.

FORD FIESTA ST BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Honda Civic Type R

Best for Japanese car fans

Our pick Honda Civic 2.0 i-VTEC Type R GT
Used deals from £29,900
Monthly finance from £416*

Some of us grew up loving British classics like the Jaguar E-Type. Some lust after German sports cars such as the Porsche 911. But there’s a newer generation of car fans hitting middle age that grew up in the golden era of Japanese cars - and for them, the Honda Civic Type R is a great choice.

It has everything that made those older Japanese classics like the Nissan Skyline and Honda NSX brilliant: lots of performance, a great manual gear change, loads of high-tech engineering and outlandish looks.

Yet the Honda Civic Type R is also a properly practical car with a massive boot, room for a family and it’s comfortable to drive on normal roads. It’s everything that Japanese car fans could want and more - so it may even appeal to a wider audience, too.

The elephant in the room is the boy-racer image, but only a small minority of Type R drivers fall into this camp - and a midlife crisis is about embracing your youthful side again, isn’t it?

HONDA CIVIC BUYERS' GUIDE

9. Lotus Elise

Best for track days

Our pick Lotus Elise S (2016)
Used deals Limited stock

The Lotus Elise is a stripped-back sports car with a focus on handling and driving enjoyment above all else. This makes it perfect for car fans who want to spend more time in middle age doing track days at one of Britain’s many race circuits. Or simply whizzing along challenging country roads.

It’s a delight to drive in every way, and comfortable enough to drive to and from the track at the start and end of the day. It’s even great for holiday trips, as long as you don’t have too much luggage in tow. The Elise's light weight means it’s incredibly fast despite a modest 1.6-litre petrol engine, too.

Perhaps the best thing about buying a Lotus is that depreciation - the loss in value between buying and selling a car - isn’t an issue. Elises tend to drop in value so slowly that a typical ownership period will mean barely any money lost at all. This is great for cash buyers - as you get more money back when you come to sell than with many cars of the same age - and those opting for PCP finance, as your monthly payments should be lower than most cars with a similar initial cash price.

10. Alfa Romeo Giulia

Best for sophisticated Italian style

Our pick Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0T Veloce (2017)
Used deals Limited stock

If you love cars then you may have considered owning an Alfa Romeo at some point. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the perfect place to start, because not only is it the newest model - and therefore likely to be the most reliable - in the brand’s range, it’s also the best in decades.

The best model is the Veloce, which has a powerful petrol engine, yet isn’t as expensive as the top high-performance Quadrifoglio option. It’s nearly as good to drive as that version, and has all the drama you’d expect of an Italian car. It’s fast, fun and exciting to drive, despite having the practicality of a four-door saloon.

The Giulia is comfortable, has all the kit you need and - perhaps most importantly - it looks stunning. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we reckon it’s among the best-looking cars of the past decade or so. That’s why it makes a great midlife crisis car.

ALFA ROMEO BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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