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I bought mine new, but nonetheless, I never drove one prior to buying it - the closest was sitting in one at the dealer (which was already sold, so no option to drive it). I wasn't too concerned about never being behind the wheel as I had purchased other new cars without ever test driving them - never an issue as doing your homework, especially from trusted sources, you get a general feel for what you're in for. But again, my "ease" with this was predicated on the car being new - I could rely on it being the way the manufacturer intended.

That said, I would NOT have the same ease if buying it used. As the OP correctly points out, two cars can drive very differently despite being the same year, make, and model. Various things can make the car feel different:

  • The way the engine was broken in (or not)
  • The current state of the suspension
  • Alignment and tire quality
  • Steering system wear / condition
  • Transmission wear / condition (clutch, throw-out, synchro, gear condition, fluids, etc.)
  • Presence of tunes, pedal box, etc.
  • Chassis, interior trim, and sound deadening condition (think squeaks and rattles)
  • Etc, etc, etc.

There are honestly too many variables. And ask every car ages, these numerous variables can go in the right direction or very wrong. Many of these may not show up as hard-and-fast issues on a PPI, but they're characteristics of the car that you may or may not like.

Not only would I recommend driving the car you intend to purchase, but I'd drive several to have a baseline for comparison. Without a doubt, two used cars that are 6 - 14 years old won't have aged the same and won't drive the same way.

Now, would I make an exception for a rare car? Yes, probably. This is especially true if you're budgeting to make the car "right" to your own standards, anyway. But it's also likely true if you're buying something like a low mileage 14 or 15 V10+ 6MT, where you're less likely to run into problems, and you may not have the option to "wait on it." Depending on the dealer, you may also be able to lock it up (put down a nice sized deposit - let's say $5k), and negotiate to close the deal in a few days after you've gotten out to the car, did your PPI, and drove it. I can't say that will work everywhere (especially if the dealer feels they can sell it faster/easier without those restrictions), but it's worth trying.
 

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That said, I would NOT have the same ease if buying it used. As the OP correctly points out, two cars can drive very differently despite being the same year, make, and model. Various things can make the car feel different:
So true! I could have spent a few thousand less for another one I couldn't drive that had the B&O and parking package, but when I drove mine, I could just tell it was right. The smoothness, response, etc. Everything was just spot on, and the car was immaculately maintained, and you could tell. Getting hands on is great if at all possible.
 

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I purchased mine without seeing and or ever driving an R8. I’ve heard such great things and knowing what I know now. I’d do it all over again. They are amazing cars if you find someone who took care of it!
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I bought mine new, but nonetheless, I never drove one prior to buying it - the closest was sitting in one at the dealer (which was already sold, so no option to drive it). I wasn't too concerned about never being behind the wheel as I had purchased other new cars without ever test driving them - never an issue as doing your homework, especially from trusted sources, you get a general feel for what you're in for. But again, my "ease" with this was predicated on the car being new - I could rely on it being the way the manufacturer intended.

That said, I would NOT have the same ease if buying it used. As the OP correctly points out, two cars can drive very differently despite being the same year, make, and model. Various things can make the car feel different:

  • The way the engine was broken in (or not)
  • The current state of the suspension
  • Alignment and tire quality
  • Steering system wear / condition
  • Transmission wear / condition (clutch, throw-out, synchro, gear condition, fluids, etc.)
  • Presence of tunes, pedal box, etc.
  • Chassis, interior trim, and sound deadening condition (think squeaks and rattles)
  • Etc, etc, etc.

There are honestly too many variables. And ask every car ages, these numerous variables can go in the right direction or very wrong. Many of these may not show up as hard-and-fast issues on a PPI, but they're characteristics of the car that you may or may not like.

Not only would I recommend driving the car you intend to purchase, but I'd drive several to have a baseline for comparison. Without a doubt, two used cars that are 6 - 14 years old won't have aged the same and won't drive the same way.

Now, would I make an exception for a rare car? Yes, probably. This is especially true if you're budgeting to make the car "right" to your own standards, anyway. But it's also likely true if you're buying something like a low mileage 14 or 15 V10+ 6MT, where you're less likely to run into problems, and you may not have the option to "wait on it." Depending on the dealer, you may also be able to lock it up (put down a nice sized deposit - let's say $5k), and negotiate to close the deal in a few days after you've gotten out to the car, did your PPI, and drove it. I can't say that will work everywhere (especially if the dealer feels they can sell it faster/easier without those restrictions), but it's worth trying.
finally a post that makes me feel little better about not pulling the trigger on the cars I couldn't see and drive
 

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Bought mine from pics. Never looked at in person and never drove it prior. The salesman I trust would only show me a car that was up to my standard interior wise.

It was a large Audi dealer and approved pre owned.

I’m just to busy to get down there and waste a half a day. Car is perfect in every way so I’m happy !
 

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I bought sight unseen from a guy on the other side of the country and had it shipped. Been speaking with the guy for ages and had all the history on it, so felt pretty confident about it. Plus it was a great deal so I was able to budget a good amount for any future issues (big stuff had been done like clutch and magride).
 

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I'm a little late on the response, but my story is similar to many of the other ones that have already been told. I bought my car from a fellow forum member in December, and thankfully everything has turned out okay. The car was 1800 miles away, and so due to covid and winter, I made the difficult decision to not see the car in person before buying it. The biggest concern I had was ensuring that I wasn't being scammed out of $90k+ dollars, second was that the car was in the condition it was listed at. Thankfully the seller was wonderful to work with, I had a PPI done at a local Audi dealership, it uncovered 3 leaking mag struts, which we negotiated the price because of. In my case, my car also had a minor accident listed on the car fax. The Audi dealership was able to confirm there was no structural or frame damage, and while one fender had been replaced, it had been done so correctly. So with that completed, and a new price agreed to, I sent a cashiers check to the seller, waited for it to clear and arranged shipping. The first time I saw my car in person was when the shipper dropped it off.

There's always a risk buying used cars, even more so with a $60k-$150k plus super car. Have I found a few minor issues since the purchase? Yes, but they are minor enough that I'm not losing any sleep over it. I've also bought a lot of used cars in my life (thought never at this price point), but overall I have a degree of comfort with it.

All that said, I wouldn't dwell on the car you missed. For myself, I was the runner up in an gated V10 auction on Bring a Trailer back in October. The big advantage was that the car was local. And while I was a bit heart broken to have lost that car, I became friends with the owner (obviously a fellow car nut), and I like the spec of the car I ended up buying a bit better.

I honestly wonder if prices may come down (at least some), once normalcy returns to our society. Obviously a car is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it, but I think the recent 2012 on BaT that sold for $142k was overpriced (at least for me).

The right car is out there and you will find it.

259310
 

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Drove 1k miles each way to get my car as it was during covid peak so didnt want to risk flying. I did not test drive or get a PPI done. The car has a 2 yr fidelity warranty so I rolled the dice that if anything was wrong I just get it taken care of. Obviously if the vehicle had damage I would have passed but I wasnt going to fret over mechanical issues if the appearance checked out. Looking back at the price I paid and the current market prices I have not a single regret.
 

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2011 Audi R8 v10 coupe (US - LHD)
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I bought mine from Austin and had it shipped up to Milwaukee for less than $1000.

I had never driven one before.

I watched hours of reviews on the car (youtube), read boards, had the dealer take videos, walk around the car pics, etc etc. I had studied the hell out of it for over a year and was comfortable I knew what to expect with standard issues.....

Zero regrets.
 

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2009 Audi R8 V8
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Never test drove or saw mine in person before purchasing. Watched YouTube videos and spent hours reading R8talk posts. Got a virtual tour via FaceTime from the dealership and had an independent Audi repair shop nearby conduct a PPI. No issues other than tires needing replacing soon. Paid for enclosed transport from Houston to California. Best exotic daily driver I could ever ask for!
 
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