You and your investment banker colleagues made piles of money creating indecipherable financial instruments, got your friends at the ratings agencies to give them their stamp of approval, and just like that, all the risk magically disappeared and, not incidentally, your firm reaped huge fees selling the stuff to every financial institution in town. Now, sadly, the scheme has all come hideously undone. You no longer work on the Street; instead, you're out on the street. And, worse, your car lease is up. What to do? Of course, you're not destitute - you couldn't possibly have spent all the money you've raked in over the past few years - but you need to curb expenses. And yet, you want to keep up appearances. Allow us to help . . .
Instead of: a 2009 Ferrari F430, consider: an 2009 Audi R8
Oh, there's nothing like a Ferrari in terms of achieving the sports-car pinnacle. Nothing can touch its snob appeal. But the Audi R8 offers a strikingly similar mechanical package, highlighted by a mid-mounted V-8 engine, with a plexiglass engine cover to drive the point home for jealous observers. Trust us when we say that the beautiful bodywork is every bit as exotic and head turning as the F430's. And the interior, in characteristic, overachieving Audi style, is just as beautifully crafted as anything to come out of Maranello. The R8's manual gearshift even moves through a Ferrari-style metal gate; or there's the option of a paddle-shifted automated manual that allows you to indulge your Michael Schumacher fantasies.
Savings: $77,575 (plus a few hundred more on Ferrari jackets and related sportswear)