After hours and hours of searching for cars online, I have come upon a realization of how much money I need to be able to spend in order to find myself behind the wheels of some of the finest machines on earth.

And here is my conclusion - you need a million dollars.

Of course I'm just joking. You only need five thousand dollars...plus about thirty thousand more.

I have found that the "sweet spot" is in the $30-$40K range where cars that may ordinarily be inaccessible for most of us when brand new, are now obtainable. Cars like the 911, BMW M3, M5, Audi S5 for example - and many others.

Thanks to guys like Doug DeMuro and Tavarish, you know just how many options are available if you look at used cars.

But if you buy used, can't you buy something for way cheaper?

Sure…you could buy an older E46 M3 for $13K, but one of the key criteria I'm using here also includes having a warranty. Even with a used version of the M3, parts are certainly not going to be cheap. If you buy a 2006 BMW M5, for example, you could easily end up spending more in parts and repairs than the original $25K you paid for the car. In that case, you might as well just pay $50K for a brand new BMW 435i!

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Think about the peace of mind of buying an S4 from Carmax without ever having to worry about being stuck with a blown engine. It's hard to believe but I recently ran into not just one, but two coworkers who own an A4 and an A5 and both of their engines blew up. Luckily, both of them had warranties.

A CarMax or CPO warranty are probably the only ones you should consider since third party warranties tend not to cover anything at all. I don't think I've ever met anyone who actually was happy with their aftermarket warranty.

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Of course, CPO and CarMax cars will be higher priced than the same car that come without a warranty but it's the price you have to pay for making sure that you don't end up selling your house just to cover the cost of replacing the engine in your 997 911 thanks to infamous "IMS" issue.

With this fine specimen from Carmax, you have no worries. Enjoy the 354 hp being generated by the 4.2L V8 and enjoy a stress-free life.

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If you look at CPO Porsches, there are numerous Caymans you could get your hands on in the low $30k range.

Porsches don't depreciate nearly as quickly as an Audi or a Mercedes and so your options are more limited in that same price range. The 996s are totally doable, but the 997s fall mostly outside of the $30-$40K band when it comes to finding one at CarMax or through Porsche's CPO locator.

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Every now and then I see an earlier model of the 997 pop up on Carmax but they tend to be gone just as quickly as they appear. The highly desired 911 just doesn't stay in the market for too long, especially when they're priced at less than $40K.

There are an incredibly large number of E90/E92 M3s available at Carmax right now and appear to be one of the best deals out there. With a warranty from Carmax, you'd be hard-pressed to find something better. There are so many great options!

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If an M3 isn't enough, then go for a V10 500 hp monster like this one.

Be sure to get the warranty!

The best thing about Carmax is that it's a one-stop-shop for any car that you'd like. You end up paying more but the convenience makes it worth it.

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So this is what you need to do to save up $35K to buy one of these vehicles: skip your daily Starbucks for a year (save $1200 bucks), cancel cable (get Hulu plus and Netflix instead and save $600 a year), and then drain your child's college fund. Take all that money and go to your nearest Carmax dealer or CPO dealer of choice and buy the car of your dreams.

Happy shopping!


Torque Affair is about exploring my fascination with cars; I'm always on the lookout for things that interest me in the car world. Like Torque Affair and follow @torqueaffair!

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