5 pre-owned rear-wheel-drive cars for enthusiasts, under ₹15 lakh
Some of the best driver's cars ever made, like the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, are rear-wheel-drive. The feeling of having the front wheels free to do nothing but steer, giving you pure feedback, while the engine powers the rear wheels only - it’s the perfect recipe for balance and engagement at the limit. Then, of course, there’s the joy of going sideways, honing your driving skills and learning all about car control. A RWD car can teach you a lot if you indulge.
Here are five RWD cars that you must consider as an enthusiast for a budget under ₹15 lakh. And if you think we missed a car, do let us know in the comments!
Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W203 and W204)
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the country's most popular luxury sedans. Back when more affordable FWD Mercedes cars weren’t made, the C-Class was the entry-point into the three-pointed star family. Since 2001, the brand has sold over 37,000 units of the C-Class. It was introduced to India in its second-generation (W203). It was available with either a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol or a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine. Mercedes also offered it with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The W203 divided many opinions for its styling and if its design isn't up your alley, you can turn to its next generation model, the W204, if you're looking for a C-Class specifically. Pre-owned W203s are plentiful in the used car market, with good ones starting from as low as ₹3 lakh.
The W204 continued to get the tried and tested 1.8-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines which were updated for this gen. It was the first Merc available in India with the AMG styling kit. The better looking W204 C-Class demands a little more money than its sibling, you can buy a good used one for upwards of ₹10 lakh.
BMW 1 Series (F20)
BMW brought its rear-wheel-drive hatchback, the second-generation 1 Series, to India in 2013 and at its launch it was a friggin’ bargain. At ₹20.9 lakh (ex-showroom), it was the only rear-wheel-drive hatchback available on sale in the country (besides the Tata Nano). The 1 Series came with the option of two powertrains, a 136bhp 1.6-litre turbo-petrol mill and a 2-litre turbo-diesel engine which produced 143bhp. Alas, the 1 Series was only offered with an 8-speed automatic transmission in India. It was discontinued in 2017, because of low sales and nowadays, you can pick up a well maintained 1 Series for as low as ₹10 lakh, which is impressive for a 10-year old car, clearly indicating that enthusiasts have an eye on the 1 Series.
BMW 3 Series (E90)
The second Bimmer on our list is the 1 Series' elder sibling. The E90 3 Series made it to Indian shores in 2007, with three engine options on offer - a 2-litre turbo-diesel producing 174bhp, a 2-litre turbo-petrol churning out 148bhp and even a cracker of a straight-six nat-asp petrol engine which made 255bhp. The icing on the cake was that the E90 was also available with the option of a six-speed manual 'box. Today, an E90 which has done over 70,000km will demand up to ₹10 lakh of your hard earned money. The creamy six-cylinder mill demands ₹2-3 lakh more, if you can find one that is.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W211, W124)
The W124 E-Class was the first Mercedes-Benz made in India, from 1994 to 1998. It is one of the last over-engineered, mechanically-simple and electronically-minimal cars from the Mercedes stable and that's why it is oh-so popular in the restomod and tuner scene in India. Offered in both petrol and diesel guise, the most expensive car of its time can now be yours for under Rs 5 lakh! But if you fancy a sleeker E-Class, look no further than the W211 model which was produced from 2006 to 2011. With the W211, you also get the option to step up to a V6 engine! How much do these cost now do you ask? A smidge over 15 lakh.
BMW 5 Series (E60)
The E60 5 Series, also came to India in 2007 with four six-cylinder engine options. The top of the range 530i deployed a 268bhp 3-litre turbo-petrol engine. Up next was the 525i and the uber rare 523i, both of which were powered by the same engine, although they got less power at 215bhp and 188bhp respectively. The 525d was one for them oil burner fans, it was powered by a straight-six diesel which made 195bhp. All the variants of the E60 5 Series were available with either a 7-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Good, looked after entry level variants start at ₹10 lakh on the pre-owned market.