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Chris Harris on… trading up to another car or sticking with what you've got – Top Gear

by Nov 5, 2022Blog0 comments

It’s impossible to second guess the future, says Chris. So seize the day and live in the moment. Buy that dream car
Stick or twist? The eternal conundrum for all car people is now even harder to decipher than it ever has been. It’s a question I’m asked daily – should I keep my current car or buy a new one and, the subject of today’s words, what the hell is the answer when it comes to fast cars?
I have no idea, but perhaps jotting some of my thoughts down on a keyboard will lend some clarity I can then share with you. I will use the 2021 BMW M2 CS as an example. Yes, I have one, and I adore it, but is it a car to keep or be rid of? At this point it must be noted what we’re about to discuss applies to all new, fast cars.
The M2 CS was a bit of a surprise when it was launched – a bit more power than a Competition and a few chassis tweaks garnished with some carbon fins. The list price was silly and, pre-lockdown, BMW had deposits for them all. I wasn’t one of those buyers. The reasons why people bought the car were, I think, as follows. Many people thought it sounded like a return to a classic BMW recipe of compact dimensions and good power – in other words it was a car they would drive. Others merely saw it as an investment and were much more interested in how many were being built.
The one thing both groups had in common was their buying decision was supported by a hunch that the F87 M2 CS was the last of its type. This is the crux of people’s indecision around whether to buy or sell. In the case of the M2, BMW has just teased a new M2, which will be 2WD and available as a manual. Both are attributes we didn’t necessarily think would be available on the new car. The ‘not to be repeated’ comfort blanket has just been ripped from under us. Like everyone else, I’m now thinking, “Ah, there will be another M2 CS and it will be faster and better – and my car will be worth zilch”.
I’m a great believer in the next car being better than the current car
The ‘never to be repeated’ security of a car purchase is generally a fallacy, but is probably a better punt now than at any time since World War Two. The 812 Superfast is probably the last nat-asp V12 Berlinetta Ferrari. A new Megane Sport will not be happening, nor will anything with a GT-R badge in the future operate without some hybridity. But hanging on to these cars also assumes that we will be allowed to continue driving them.
So what if we can’t drive them in five years’ time? What if the politicians and sundry morons who decide how we are allowed to travel ban cars with engines? Then what is an M2 CS worth? Does this mean we should be chopping in these superb machines for the latest gear? I’m a great believer in the next car being better than the current car, so I might be about to make a change.
The thing that has come into focus for me is that the idea of keeping cars because I feared there wouldn’t be another of their type is a kind of bereavement. It’s the beginning of the process that left Cuba maintaining Fifties Cadillacs for half a century. Fear isn’t a good reason to do anything. Don’t be scared to buy the new version. Unless, of course, it’s rubbish.
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