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Can't Afford to Buy an Exotic Car? Try Renting

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author photo by Autotrader July 2010

It's a virtual certainty that you've lusted after an exotic car at some point. Scorching performance and wide, low-slung body styles give exotic cars a seductive presence unmatched by everyday road cars. Brand names like Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini invoke passion, as do their aggressive, often otherworldly automotive designs.

Unfortunately, the posters of bright red cars on every teenager's bedroom walls mask a litany of real-world drawbacks. For one, just because you lust after exotics doesn't mean you can afford one – Lamborghini's least-expensive car, for example, now tops $200,000.

Even if you've amassed the cash, ownership costs are proportional to the cost of the car, with some Ferraris requiring four-figure services every three years. And not only are exotics expensive, they're impractical, with rear-mounted engines removing nearly all trunk space, fuel economy in the low teens, and room for just one passenger.

OK – maybe now you're convinced an exotic car isn't for you, at least for the long term. But what if you could have one for just one day to see if your childhood fantasy matches the reality? Maybe you can.

It may be possible to bring that bedroom wall poster to life after all, with help from an exotic car rental agency. Not exactly your typical Enterprise Rent-a-Car or Hertz Local Edition, exotic car rental agencies are usually exotic-only rental companies that allow regular people stuck driving "normal" cars to feel like a carefree, Ferrari-driving millionaire – at least for a day or two.

A quick Google search typically brings up several exotic car rental agencies in any large metro area, renting anything from high-end Lamborghinis, Aston-Martins and Ferraris to Lincoln Navigators and Mercedes sedans. Some exotic car rental agencies even rent by the hour, with Hollywood, California-based Hollywood Exotic Car Rental offering a bright blue Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder up for just under $900 – for just six hours. A full day in the Gallardo runs around $1,400.

Las Vegas-based Dream Car Rentals has a slightly more eccentric fleet, featuring the usual Ferraris and Lamborghinis – but also a bright red 1959 Cadillac Eldorado convertible and a 1968 Pontiac GTO. Both go for just $350 a day, or $250 for five hours.

Interestingly, it's not just exotic-only rental car agencies that specialize in high-end cars. Sensing a demand for luxury cars in more upscale markets, traditional car rental companies have added high-end vehicles to their fleets.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car, for example, offers a Range Rover Sport and Mercedes SL550 convertible at several of its locations, including three in California, one in Las Vegas, and one in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Hertz rents a special Hertz-only edition of Chevrolet's Corvette sports car called the Corvette ZHZ, which Hertz says is available at more than 50 locations in the United States.

So, maybe you can't afford the exotic you've always dreamed about. But don't just forget about that poster on your bedroom wall as a kid. And you might be able to go live the dream… even if it's just for six hours.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Can't Afford to Buy an Exotic Car? Try Renting - Autotrader