By Guest Writer
on 6.5.09

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Oh, the pain of owning an exotic car (wink, wink) – the insurance, the maintenance, the parking worries, not to mention the astronomical sum to buy one. If none of this sounds appealing, then fret no more; Supercar Sensation, a purveyor of exotic car tours, track outings, and rentals can get you a few hours behind the wheel of some of the greatest cars ever to scorch pavement – and all for a reasonable price.

I recently took up owner David Salama’s offer to drive a few examples from his stable of exotics, and this turned out to be quite a good day indeed. As I arrive at the Supercar Sensation driving center, I am hit with the question, “which car would you like to drive first, the Aston Martin, the BMW M3, or the Ferrari?”

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Aston Martin Vantage
Well, I haven’t been asked this lately… but I elect to ease my way in with the Aston Martin Vantage convertible. Don’t get me wrong, this thing is fast, but in a smooth, gentlemanly way – not riding on rails, but it definitely handles better than your Aunt Maude’s Impala. Upon sliding into the cockpit, I am enveloped in traditional British luxury. It includes hand-stitched Connolly leather upholstery, Wilton wool carpets, an analog clock, and even a silver pen that pops out of the center console… perfect for signing off on those obligatory speeding tickets. After inserting the key and pressing the start button, the Aston’s hand-built 4.3-liter V8 rumbles to life. I reach forward and flick the paddle shifter into gear and off we go, roaring around the twisties while soaking up some sun.

BMW M3
Next, I try out the BMW M3, an interesting combination of four doors, plenty of trunk space, and the ability to sprint 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. The past several iterations of the M3 were fitted with six-cylinder motors, but this go-round, BMW wedged a 4.0-liter V8 under the hood. The car simply flies; it redlines at an astonishing 8,400 rpm and has a great, throbbing exhaust note to go along with it. Yet the M3 is quite capable of hauling that keg of Stella Artois plus a few buddies back to the house or of carrying your golf clubs to the course. Best of all, it costs approximately $60,000, which is a relative bargain compared to most cars that travel at this velocity.

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Ferrari F430
The Ferrari F430 is unforgettable. This thing has immense power, sculpted beauty, and plenty of soul. Oh yeah, and it fits like a glove, allowing for a driving experience like no other. The 4.3-liter V-8 is mounted amidships, giving a sense of perfect balance, and the steering is light and responsive. A huge part of the Ferrari driving experience is the sound – the shriek of the engine right behind my head as I punch the throttle is enthralling, bringing a smile to my tour guide’s face, as well as to my own. 0 to 60 hurtles past in 3.5 seconds, and maximum speed in this bright red projectile tops out at 196 mph.

Based out of Concord, NC (near Charlotte), Supercar Sensation has a few more autos in their collection: a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Porsche 911 Turbo, a Nissan GTR, and a Mercedes C63 AMG. The company offers two and four-hour tours around the scenic North Carolina countryside, a one-hour “test” where you can try out three of the cars, as well as autocross and slalom runs at zMAX Dragway (also in Concord). Rentals accompanied by a guide are also an option. Prices range from $40 to $299 per person, depending on the tour/track event. Embassy Suites Hotels offers special rates to Supercar Sensation customers, and transportation from hotel to driving center is available.

Cost: $40 – $299 @ Supercar Sensation