For the vast majority of this magazine's readers (and, I would guess, a full majority of its writers), exotic cars are an exercise in voyeurism. I enjoy reading Ferrari reviews not because I need to make an educated purchase decision, but because I want to know what it feels like to mat the throttle of an F430 on an increasing-radius on-ramp. I want to hear about how the Bugatti Veyron's acceleration feels like a blind-side sack from Rodney Harrison or learn why, exactly, a Morgan Roadster uses wooden body framing instead of the possibly more-effective metal variety. And does the Morgan warranty cover termites? This is information I need to know.
One thing I don't bother with is calculating monthly payments on the Lamborghinis of the world. What's the point? I just assume that anyone who's driving one of those things has a bajillion-killion dollars under the mattress and probably sent one of his or her assistants to the dealer with a briefcase full of cash. But it turns out that's not necessarily the case. In fact, about one in five exotic cars on the road aren't even owned by their drivers. They're leased.
I'm a financial numbskull, but even I know that the basic idea behind a lease is that you simply pay for depreciation, which allows for a lower monthly payment than traditional financing. So I got thinking - what if I were to throw financial caution to the wind? What if I decided to disregard boring goals like retirement or college funds or my wife not leaving me? That would free up some cash, possibly enough to get me into the car of my dreams, at least for twenty-four months or so. Also, if I someday go to the doctor for a checkup and walk out with a terminal prognosis, I'll need to know what cars I can put on my bucket list. Ideally, I'd like to die penniless and with a lime-green Porsche 911 GT3 RS in my driveway, and that will require some precise financial planning.
To that end, I decide to do a little covert journalist-type work and visit my local hoity-toity dealerships to uncover the monthly lease nut on some of my favorite cars. I want to know how much it costs to get into an Audi R8, a Lamborghini Gallardo, maybe an F430 - the real baller cars. To support my persona as an individual who demands a salesman's attention, I also procure 512 horsepower's worth of car-shopping credibility, in the form of a pearl white Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder loaner. Game on.