5 modern classics to beat London’s ULEZ charge

Avoiding charges for entering ultra-low emission zones doesn’t mean giving up fun cars…

BMW E46 M3
BMW E46 M3

London’s ultra-low emissions zone has expanded to include all areas within the North and South Circular roads. It means any vehicle not meeting its criteria will face a charge of £12.50 per day for driving within it.

However, while it’s designed to encourage motorists into modern, cleaner vehicles, there are plenty of interesting cars that enthusiasts can enjoy without incurring an extra charge.

This is particularly true with petrol models, as the current exemption is for post-Euro 4 legislation, which was introduced in 2005.

Classic car experts Hagerty have put together a list of some of the best ‘modern classics’ to beat the charge.

Audi TT Mk1 (2004-on)

Audi TT
(Hagerty)

While it might not be the sharpest sports car on the market, few cars have the visual impact of an original Audi TT. Its swooping style makes it just at home in trendy urban areas as it does on your favourite country roads.

However, it’s important to check before you buy using the government website. Not all models are exempt, with your safest bet being to buy as new an example as possible.

BMW ‘E46’ M3

BMW E46 M3
(Hagerty)

The BMW M3 has been the performance car of choice for many enthusiasts for decades, and today is still the firm’s best-selling performance model. The E46 is considered one of the best generations, mixing great handling with elegant style.

Ford Focus Mk1

Ford Focus
(Hagerty)

A left-field choice, this, but one that could be a clever investment. Prices for the original Focus are still very low, but Hagerty has tipped them to rise quickly, soon.

This generation of Focus was considered a game-changer for its smart looks and fantastic handling, changing what people thought was possible from a family car.

Most post-2002 cars should be exempt from ULEZ charges, but again, be sure to check before buying.

Mazda RX8

Mazda RX8
(Hagerty)

Japanese car enthusiasts have long loved Mazda’s rotary-engined cars for their quirkiness. Running costs are high on account of high fuel usage and poor fuel economy, but the return is a truly unique performance car experience.

The RX8 doesn’t quite have the elegance of its predecessor, the RX7, but prices are fairly low and it’s still an enjoyable car to drive.

Suzuki Jimny (VVT, 2005-on)

Suzuki Jimny
(Hagerty)

When the new Jimny came out a few years back it caused quite a stir thanks to its cool styling. However, those models are nearly impossible to find now and very expensive when you do.

Opt for an older version and you get similar charm for a fraction of the price. These little 4x4s are ideal for nipping in and out of traffic but will also get you almost anywhere off road.

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