Best used luxury cars
It may have just been replaced by the more bulbous W222 model, but the last-generation Mercedes S-Class is still an impressive luxury car. So impressive, it wins this category hands down.
The previous S-Class is reliable and exceptionally well put together, plus all models ooze standard equipment – even the ‘basic’ S350 – so there’s
no car in the outgoing range that’s a weak link.
What’s more, prices are now incredibly alluring – how about a 56-plate S320 CDI with 140,000 miles on the clock for less than £8,000? That was the cheapest example we found in the classifieds – and it does seem a whole lot more appealing than a new Dacia Logan, if you’re the kind of person happy to let your heart rule your head and take the odd risk.
Not that you need to throw caution completely to the wind with an S-Class – it was massively over-engineered when new and rarely throws up any major problems. The only occasional concern we’ve come across relates to the air-suspension, but these issues are relatively inexpensive to fix.
If you’re looking for one to run on a budget, the S320 CDI is the pick of the range, with the S350 petrol a close second. These had fewer electrical gizmos to go wrong than the flagship V8 or V12 petrol cars, plus the diesel is even pretty efficient.
Whatever you go for, be prepared for some fairly steep servicing bills, and don’t skimp by using cheap pattern parts that could cause more trouble further down the line. It’s much better to use a trusted specialist and acknowledge that what you’ve saved in terms of depreciation over buying a newer model more than offsets any servicing bills.
Best used luxury cars: the alternatives
Fair price: £4,500
Audi’s flagship from 2002 to 2009 was a car of excess – huge exterior, opulent interior and frivolities like a V10 diesel. Opt for a more conventional six or eight-cylinder model, though, and you’ll get a great car with proven reliability and oodles of luxury.
Fair price: £30,000
it’s a long time since the average customer bought this SUV for its off-road ability. It’s still unstoppable in the rough, but these days it’s the opulent cabin and upper-crust image that make it a great luxury car. Look for ex- demo bargains on previous-generation car.
Fair price: £14,995
Nothing comes close to a hand-built British saloon for luxury, but then nothing can match its staggering fall in value, either. The Bentley Arnage originally came with a BMW twin-turbo V8, but a different power source was required after VW’s takeover in 1998 – and the Red Label featured Bentley’s old turbocharged 6.75-litre pushrod V8.
Today, you could own one for the price of a new supermini. And although this 400bhp, 155mph, 2.5-tonne saloon won’t have supermini running costs, that’s the price you pay for ultimate luxury.
BMW 7 Series
Fair price: £19,000
Buying a luxury limousine is less of a risk when you’re shopping second-hand. After three years, BMW’s flagship 7 Series has shed most of its value, and it’s easy enough to pick up a 730d SE today for less than £20,000.
The SE model gets plenty of kit, including sat-nav, climate control and BMW’s neat iDrive cabin control system. And even in standard wheelbase form, there’s lots of room for back seat passengers. It’s also more comfortable than the racy M Sport car, which will appeal for long-distance cruising.
Fair price: £25,750
Limousine luxury, head-turning style and reasonable running costs are all within reach for used buyers at this budget with a Jaguar XJ.
Like all large saloons, the Jag depreciates heavily, so you can bag a lightly used three-year-old example for more than half the price of a new example, at around £25,000.
Your money buys a hand-crafted interior with traditional wood and leather trim, a panoramic glass roof and long list of kit. And while the ride is a little firm, the trade-off is sharp handling.
Fair price: £28,500
Who said saloons had to be sensible? With its stunning looks, scorching performance and supercar soundtrack, the Maserati Quattroporte is a four-door for drivers who want to get noticed.
At this price you’ll have to settle for the earlier 395bhp 4.2-litre V8 rather than the 4.7-litre that debuted in 2008, but you’ll get the smooth auto box; early cars had a clunky automated manual.
As with any Italian thoroughbred, a full service history is vital. But choose carefully, and you’ll get one of the most charismatic cars money can buy.
Aston Martin Rapide
Fair price: £69,990
Style, speed and substance – the Rapide has it all. And hefty depreciation means early examples of the beautiful Brit now dip under £70,000.
That buys one of the most desirable cars on the road. As well as gorgeous looks and near-200mph performance, the Aston has a wonderful interior with a real sense of occasion and space for four adults, plus a surprisingly versatile hatch layout.
Of course, it won’t be cheap to run, but you only need to take one look at the rakish Rapide to make all your money worries
Top 10 Used Luxury Cars
10. 2005 Chrysler 300
The standard features of the Chrysler 300 Base include 2.7L V-6 190HP engine, 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 17″ steel wheels, cruise control, 8 way power driver seat, power mirrors, power windows, power locks, and auto locking doors.
9. 2010 Cadillac CTS
The standard features of the Cadillac CTS Base include Ecotec 3.0L V-6 270hp engine, 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 17″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and a StabiliTrak electronic stability.
8. 2008 BMW 328
The standard features of the BMW 328 i include 3.0L I-6 230HP engine, 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic, 16″ alloy wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and a DSC stability control.
7. 2006 BMW 325
The standard features of the BMW 325 i include 3.0L I-6 215HP engine, 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic, 16″ alloy wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and a DSC stability control.
6. 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The standard features of the Mercedes-Benz E350 Base include 3.5L V-6 268hp engine, 7-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 17″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and an electronic stability.
5. 2011 Lexus ES 350
The standard features of the Lexus ES 350 Base include 3.5L V-6 268hp engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 17″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and an electronic stability.
4. 2011 Hyundai Genesis
The standard features of the Hyundai Genesis 3.8 include 3.8L V-6 290hp engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 17″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and an electronic stability.
3. 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The standard features of the Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport include 3.0L V-6 228hp engine, 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, BabySmart airbag childseat sensor, automatic air conditioning, 17″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and an electronic stability.
1. 2011 Lexus GS 460
The standard features of the Lexus GS 460 Base include 4.6L V-8 342hp engine, 8-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 18″ aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and an electronic stability.
The Best Used Cars For Your Money
The bad news for cash-strapped shoppers is that prices for late-model used cars, which had begun to decline after reaching historic highs the last two years, are on the upswing again. To blame this time around is October’s Superstorm Sandy that left tens of thousands of vehicles destroyed.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) predicts prices for used vehicles will jump from 0.5% to 1.5% by year’s end, and could go even higher for those living in areas ravaged by the storm. “The loss of used-vehicle supply and the increase in replacement demand after Sandy will have the greatest impact on used-vehicle prices in December,” says Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst with the NADA Used Car Guide. “Regionally, the concentrated damage that occurred in New Jersey and New York mean that used-vehicle prices, particularly for import and luxury cars, will most likely increase beyond NADA’s national level expectations.”
The good news is there are still plenty of good deals to be found among late-model used vehicles. The key is to find a car or truck that performs well and has a good record for reliability, but through no fault of its own carries a lower resale value – which makes it more affordable in the used-car market – than other models in its class.
Age, condition and mileage largely determine a car’s resale value, but given models can still command higher- or lower-than-average prices because of various market forces. According to Automotive Lease Guide, a used vehicle’s value can be affected by something as superficial as a particular make or model’s market perception. Cars initially sold with big cash rebates tend to take a greater hit in terms of depreciation, as do vehicles that have healthy fleet- and/or rental-car sales, which ensures a steady flow of models into the resale market each year.
To compile our list of what we feel are the best used cars for the money from the 2009 model year, we began by consulting the results of the latest J.D. Power and Associates’ Vehicle Dependability Study, along with initial quality and other owner surveys and new-car reviews, including our own experiences with road testing the vehicles over the years. J.D. Power’s findings were compiled from information supplied by 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership, based on mechanical and other problems experienced during the prior 12 months.
We then compared used-car prices among the top performing 2009 models in each of 14 separate vehicle classes to find which models offer the proverbial most bang for the buck, according to the most-current data provided by Kelley Blue Book. We compared the suggested retail values for versions at the bottom and top of each model range without options; each was assumed to be in “excellent” condition with an average of 48,500 miles on the odometer. Actual transaction prices will vary according to a vehicle’s exact condition, mileage and equipment, along with a buyer’s negotiating skills.
The 14 cars and trucks from the 2009 model year we’ve selected run the gamut in terms of size, performance and accommodations, from small and fuel-efficient commuter cars like the Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Elantra, Scion tC and Chevrolet HHR to the burly and purposeful Ford F-150 and Nissan Frontier pickup trucks. We found top deals on family favorites like the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Fusion and Taurus and the Nissan Murano, along with luxury-minded models including the Lincoln MKX and MKZ and the Hyundai Genesis.
The Fine Print: Even the sweetest used car deal can ultimately go sour if the vehicle’s been abused, has hidden damage or was improperly maintained. That’s why it’s always prudent to have a trusted mechanic carefully inspect any used car or truck under your consideration to get an impartial evaluation of its operating condition. Particularly in the wake of Superstorm Sandy’s devastating floods, be sure to run a model’s vehicle identification number (VIN) through a title-search service like CarFax to make sure it hasn’t been previously flood-damaged or salvaged and subsequently rebuilt.
Top 6 Half-Price Luxury Cars
Looking for a deal on a luxury car? Most automakers are now offering comprehensive certified pre-owned programs on many of their recent models. That means some of today's best values are well-maintained used luxury cars with a manufacturer-backed warranty. To prove that, we've compiled a list of our favorite “half price” luxury cars that offer a bulletproof warranty and a recent design for less than half their original value.
2008 Audi A6
The Audi brand's desirability level has been improving. As a result, impressively strong resale values are setting industry standards. But shoppers interested in the mid-size A6 can still get great deals on used models with a certified pre-owned warranty. The thirsty 4.2-liter powerplant provides fantastic muscle, but we recommend sticking with the base 3.2-liter V6. Although the smaller engine still offers an ample 255 horsepower, it boasts much improved fuel economy ratings of up to 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. There are also more than a dozen 2008 A6 models equipped with that engine available on AutoTrader.com with Audi's certified pre-owned warranty, which covers up to two years or 50,000 miles.
2008 BMW 550i
Enthusiasts may prefer the V10-powered M5, but BMW's 8-cylinder 2008 550i is also a force to be reckoned with among mid-size luxury sedans. In addition to a 360-horsepower 4.8-liter V8, the 550i offers available manual or automatic transmissions and a long list of standard equipment, including leather upholstery, steering-linked xenon headlights and a power sunroof. Today's car shoppers will also be happy to learn it's not difficult to find a certified example for around $30,000, which is almost exactly half of the sedan's 2008 base price of $59,700 including destination. Although it doesn't include the same warranty as a new model, a certified pre-owned 2008 550i still offers the peace of mind that comes with the balance of a six-year, 100,000-mile comprehensive plan and a thorough inspection by a BMW technician.
2008 Jaguar XJ8
Thanks to a complete redesign for 2011, earlier versions of Jaguar's flagship XJluxury sedan have dropped significantly in value in the past two years. In fact, more than a dozen certified 2008 models are currently available on AutoTrader.com with an asking price of around $35,000-less than half their original value. That's a good thing if you're a car shopper interested in a recent luxury sedan at a low price-especially considering Jaguar's certified pre-owned warranty, which provides comprehensive coverage for up to six years or 100,000 miles from the original date of purchase.
2008 Lexus LS 460
Although Toyota's luxurious Lexus brand isn't known for rapid depreciation, one exception is the automaker's sublime full-size LS 460 luxury sedan. With base prices of around $64,000 in 2008, the sedan is easy to find in the mid-$30,000 range just four years later. Although we think the upscale LS 460 would be inexpensive to own even without Lexus's certified pre-owned warranty, it's hard to shy away from the automaker's impressive coverage that spans three years or 100,000 total vehicle miles. The LS460 has the traditional Lexus luxury touches: a power sunroof, a smooth 380-horsepower 4.6-liter V8, heated leather upholstery, an in-dash six-disc CD changer with a digital media player connection and a soft, soothing ride.
2007 Mercedes-Benz S550
Car shoppers familiar with luxury sedan depreciation won't be surprised to learn that Mercedes' S-Class flagship is easily found for half its original value with a certified pre-owned warranty despite sharing a design with the current model. Indeed, nearly 20 different 2007 S550s are available nationwide for less than $44,000, or about half of the sedan's new base price of $86,000 before options. In addition to Mercedes' one-year certified pre-owned warranty that covers up to 100,000 vehicle miles, that heavily discounted figure will get buyers a jaw-dropping list of standard features that includes a navigation system, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels and even an electronic aid that helps occupants close the sedan's doors and trunk.
2008 Volvo S60
Already reasonably priced as a new car, in the mid-$30,000 range before options, Volvo's mid-size S60 sedan can be found just four years later at an asking price under $20,000 with a factory-backed certified pre-owned warranty. That's a good price for a 2007 model-and it's an even better deal on a 2008 S60 with reasonable mileage, since the automaker's certified pre-owned warranty covers the sedan for up to six years or 100,000 miles from the original sale date. In addition to the warranty, buyers will also enjoy the S60's contemporary styling and its luxury touches. They'll also enjoy a choice of three turbocharged flavors, ranging from the spry 2.5T to the downright fast S60R, which was dropped after the 2007 model year.
What it means to you: As much as most buyers crave the new-car experience, if you don't mind a few miles on the odometer, you can find some great deals on certified pre-owned luxury cars.
Top 10 Best Used Luxury Cars to Buy
Get the benefits of luxury cars without the bulk of the depreciation. The following 10 used luxury cars offer the best value for the money.
When it comes to choosing a great used luxury vehicle, you will want to know some of the best used luxury cars available on the market today. Most luxury vehicles tend to be $30,000 or more on their initial sticker price and can go as high as $100,000 or more depending on the model. These used luxury cars can be found in good condition for anywhere between $18,000 and $28,000 dollars.
Acura MDX (2005-2006)
The Acura MDX is a mid-size SUV that can seat up to 7 passengers comfortably and has very attractive physical styling cues. This generation comes with a 3.5-Liter 6-cylinder engine that puts out 253 horsepower with a five-speed automatic transmission. As with all Acura products, the safety features are plentiful and impressive, making this a great luxury vehicle.
Acura TL (2006-2007)
The Acura TL is a mid-size four door sedan that comes with a 3.2-Liter V6 that puts out 258 horsepower for great performance. If wanted, an option of the TL type-S is made, with a more-powerful 283 horsepower engine with performance in mind. This car also has legendary Acura safety and very attractive luxurious features.
BMW 3-Series (2005-2006)
The 3-Series has been around for a long time with a proven track record of performance and luxury amenities. Depending on the model and year, engine output ranged from 2.5-Liters 184 horsepower to 3.0-Liters and 255 horsepower for any kind of driver.
Infiniti FX35 (2005-2006)
The Infiniti FX35 is a great value for those looking for a sporty SUV. These cars are appointed with plenty of luxury features, and come with rear-wheel drive for sporty feel and an available intelligent all-wheel drive for adverse weather conditions. For this generation, the vehicle is also equipped with a powerful 3.5-Liter V6 that puts out 280 horsepower and is very reliable.
Infiniti M35 (2006)
The Infiniti M35 is considered by many as one of the best luxury cars of 2006, and comes with standard features that would cost thousands more from pricier car makers. With the same drive platform as the FX35, the M35 performs great for a large mid-size sedan and has plenty of technology and luxury for those with the most exquisite taste. This car is also available in all-wheel drive for those concerned with adverse weather.
Lexus RX (2004-2005)
The Lexus RX is a very reliable mid-size luxury SUV that comes with everything you would expect from a Lexus, ranging from high-quality leather to the latest in technology. The RX gets competitive gas mileage and has one of the smoothest rides possible for an SUV.
Lexus GS (2005-2006)
As with all Lexus models, the GS has some of the best build quality, safety, performance, luxury, and reliability found in the luxury car market to date. With performance that competes with the best in class in virtually every area, there's no doubt that any Lexus would be worth considering.
Lincoln MKZ (2007)
The Lincoln MKZ is a fully-loaded mid-size sedan paired with a 263 horsepower 6-cylinder engine for great performance. This car is available in standard front-wheel drive or the optional all-wheel drive for any kind of driver. Safety, luxury, and plenty of features for the price is what you will get with a vehicle like the MKZ.
Porsche 911 (1998)
For those who want one of the best performance known in the world of super-cars, you will want to consider the Porsche 911. Although it is a '98, the 911 offers some of the highest performance known to date in any vehicle. Although it isn't like any of the Porsche's today, the 1998 911 packed a 3.6-Liter 282 horsepower engine for plenty of kick, with legendary Porsche name and performance.
Volvo S60 (2006-2007)
The Volvo S60 has some of the most attractive design cues on the road today, and can be found at one or two years old in near perfect condition still. The benefit here would be the various engine types and drivetrains ranging from 208 horsepower to 300 horsepower from the turbocharged option. Attractive styling and luxury features are a common factor to consider with this sporty vehicle.
With regards to what exactly you are looking for, you will want to be sure to keep these luxury cars in mind to help guide you towards a successful purchase. If these are not exactly what you have in mind, they are some of the highest rated used luxury cars on the market today for a reason.
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