Top 10 Exotic Cars You Can Rent

Borrow a Lamborghini for the Day


A midlife crisis doesn't always come cheap. More than one person has put an expensive sports car in the driveway about halfway through the ordeal, only to find that the buyer's-remorse aftermath then creates a whole new set of crises. That's why getting your fix by simply renting a fantasy car might be the hot ticket. Beyond that, if you're thinking about plunking down close to — or more than — six figures to own or lease a particular vehicle, test-driving outside of the dealership may be a better alternative to getting stuck with a $2,500 monthly payment, only to discover your legs cramp after an hour. (For more about renting as a prelude to making a purchasing decision, see our article Rent To Know: Using Car Rentals To Compare Cars). Or, heck, maybe you just want to drive a conversation piece.

A couple things to keep in mind: Most of the rental rates listed here are for Monday through Thursday, and usually there are pretty tight mileage limits — 100 included in the rental is the average, but after that you're looking at $1 or more ($2.49 in the case of the Lamborghini) for each additional mile. There are usually age requirements (often, you have to be at least 21 years of age to rent, but 25 isn't unheard of), and big security deposits (say, $5,000 for the Viper). And when you fuel up before returning it, by all means, be certain to choose the correct grade. One rental agency charges a $350 fee for not using premium in the vehicle. And to quote these guys directly, they'll know.

Finally, remember that in the car rental industry, the term "exotic" is relative — it's really just shorthand for exotic, luxury and performance vehicles. As a result, you'll find choices like the Cadillac Escalade and the Hummer H2 included in the fleets of many companies specializing in exotic car rental.

  1. Aston Martin Vantage

    1. Aston Martin Vantage, $745/day at Exotic Car Rentals

    Have a James Bond fantasy? Don a tuxedo and slip behind the wheel of this sleek British sports car. Sadly, Q wasn't available to massage the for-hire versions, so there's no weaponry to play with. No matter. In its own right the Vantage is an exciting car, even without machine guns. Its 380-horsepower, 4.3-liter alloy V8 propels the Aston to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds (and a 175-mph top speed), while the fully independent suspension and nearly perfect 49/51 weight distribution optimize handling.

  2. Bentley Continental GT

    2. Bentley Continental GT, $1,999/day at Elite Exotic Cars

    The Continental GT harkens back to the marque's roots, when W.O. Bentley built huge sporting machines that won Le Mans. Elegant? Absolutely, with understated yet dramatic styling and a sumptuous interior trimmed in leather and premium wood. Yet under that swept-back bonnet beats a 12-cylinder, 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged marvel producing 552 hp and enough torque to give it locomotivelike thrust: 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of just under 200 mph. This is a Grand Touring car in the truest sense of the word.

  3. Cadillac Escalade

    3. Cadillac Escalade, $330/day from Image Rent A Car

    No other vehicle epitomizes "bling" quite like the Cadillac Escalade, whether in straight factory form or done up with spinners (although your rental would be sans that add-on). But an Escalade is not a poseur by any means — it mixes high-tea cush with a V8 engine that makes more than 400 hp. Sure, you could rent something sportier — but how about getting to the same destination in total luxury? Image Rent A Car says the Escalade is popular for proms and weddings, but also as an insurance replacement rental. Who says bling can't be practical, too?

  4. Audi R8

    4. Audi R8, $1,050/day from DFW Elite Auto Rental

    The R8 offers everything you'd expect from a performance thoroughbred. It reaches 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, and manages a top speed of 187 mph. Its sheet metal is so attention-grabbing, you'll feel like a movie star - all that's missing is paparazzi trailing in your wake. What truly separates the R8 from the pack, though, is its easy-to-drive nature. It's a lively companion on canyon roads, yet it's easygoing enough to offer a comfortable ride in the city.

  5. Dodge Viper

    5. Dodge Viper, $749/day from Beverly Hills Rent-a-Car

    The kids today like to use the words "sick" and "stupid" as compliments. You know, "That Viper's V10 power is sick!" or "Spending $2,295 to rent a Viper for a week is stupid cool!" When you rent a Viper, it's not for its grocery-getting capabilities (unless you need milk — fast). It's about experiencing the thrill of sliding behind the wheel of a modern-day performance icon, carving curves with breathless precision, and being wowed by old-school muscle in action. Marvel Cars tells us it typically rents to someone coming into town (it's Seattle based) or for a special occasion, such as a birthday.

  6. Ford GT

    6. Ford GT, $1,850/day from Xotic Dream Cars

    Ford built the original GT40 specifically to kick some serious Ferrari tuckus in the Le Mans race (which it did). While the GT40 was race-bred, Ford did produce a few for the public. The GT was created in homage to this speed machine. Launched in 2005, it's a high-performance street car with race-worthy components (550 hp and a top speed of 205 mph, for example). Owning the supercar didn't come cheap in 2005 ($150,000-plus), and it's only slightly less expensive as a used model. With limited production and availability, it has become a classic that very few people will ever have a chance to say they drove. This is your chance.

  7. Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H

    7. Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H, about $150/day from The Hertz Corporation

    We have many high-end cars on this list, so what gives — a Mustang? The Ford Shelby GT-H was a collaboration involving Ford, Shelby Automobiles (as in Carroll) and Hertz, and is considered part of Hertz's Fun Collection of rentals at select airports. "Fun" doesn't quite nail it; the GT-H represents a rebirth of the '60s Rent-A-Racer program, which gave renters an opportunity to drive performance-modified Mustangs. It has 25 more horsepower than the regular Mustang GT, and features a distinct throaty exhaust and unique appearance. In other words, those racing stripes belong there.

  8. Hummer H2

    8. Hummer H2, $159/5 hours from Dream Car Rentals

    For fans of the military Hummer H1, the civilian H2 seemed like a godsent substitute. It was big, it was brawny, it commanded attention — and it came in bright yellow. And that's why you'd rent one, right? Super-stretched H2 limos in our neck of the woods are often stuffed to the gills with the homecoming court or a bridal party, but even the regular-size H2 rental sees the same clientele in downsized form. Plus, it's the only one on this list that feels just at home cruising Sunset Boulevard as it does being off the road (but you better read the fine print in your rental agreement first).

  9. Lamborghini Murciélago

    9. Lamborghini Murciélago, $1,450/day at Gotham Dream Cars

    The ultimate supercar? We don't want to argue with Enzo lovers, McLaren fans or Porschephiles. Let's just say you'd be hard-pressed to find anything faster, sexier or more outrageous than this 12-cylinder, 580-hp bull, especially on the other side of a rental counter. Your live-the-dream potential here is huge; for a day or two, you could be anything from a paparazzi-drawing superstar to a Formula 1 pilot with a weekend off. Just don't take this car's performance lightly. Sub-4-second 0-60 times and a top speed over 200 mph will take your breath — and maybe your license — away.

  10. Porsche 911 Turbo

    10. Porsche 911 Turbo, $499/day from Exotic Car Rentals

    Porsche calls its latest Turbo the "everyday supercar." We're not sure a 480-hp, twin-turbocharged anything could be considered "everyday." But with a broad torque curve, all-wheel drive and electronic traction control, this is a monster (3.7-second 0-60, 193-mph top speed) that can putt-putt around town as easily as it can scream around the track. Sure, the Lambo is more outlandish. But for those who want to concentrate on going fast rather than getting gawked at while going fast, there is no substitute for Porsche's precise, Teutonic engineering.

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