When it comes to buying a used car, you really are spoiled for choice. This is because luxury car brands such as Mercedes, BMW, and Jaguar dramatically lose value once they are driven out of the new car showroom. This puts them in the same used car category as cheaper brand names like Suzuki, Toyota, and Honda. The difference being that luxury cars have more to offer such as quality build, smoother handling and ride, the latest tech for the year they were produced, and the prestige that goes with owning such a car. Let’s take a look at seven luxury models and what you can get for your budget.
Chrysler 300 & 300C 2005-Present
Making a statement, the 300 series Chrysler leapt onto the market with power and luxury to even ignite interest and convert those who traditionally drove European brands. This prestigious car won Automobile Magazine’s Automobile of the Year, Motor Trend Car of the Year, North American Car of the Year, and was on Car and Driver’s Top Ten list for both 2005 and 2006. How could you not be impressed. The early 300C LX model (2005-2010) also came in a station wagon which looked the part and performed well, and was available in either V6 or V8 variants. Post 2010 models kept the powerful V8 engines and are only available in sedan version. You have to see one in person to instantly feel the luxury and power, and the urge to get in and experience the comfort and sporty agility.
The one I found – With an abundance of stock available, I settled on a real bargain in Tennessee. It’s a silver 2006 model 300 Hemi ‘C’ with only two previous owners. It has rear wheel drive, a light tan interior and also comes with heated leather seats, automatic sensor lights, a sunroof, Electrochromic side mirrors and only 85,000 miles on the clock. With a big engine, this mileage is low. Even if I had to ship it, it’s still great value for money at just $4,500.
Infiniti G35 2003-2007
Nissan’s luxury brand finally arrived to rave reviews in America in 2003. And just like the Chrysler 300C, the G35 also made it onto Car and Driver’s Top Ten list no less than three times and won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 2003. Available in sedan or coupe, featuring a spacious interior and fine ride thanks to its long wheelbase, it came with the choice of either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
The one I found – If it’s a sedan you’re after, then I found a 2004 rear wheel drive in black, with an old school six-disc CD player with mp3 input, full leather seats and steering wheel, sunroof, anti-theft system, and all for just $6,995 drive away with 90,000 miles. However, if you’re after the super-cool coupe version, and your budget can stretch to $10,500, then a silver 2005 model with an amazingly low 43,358 miles, sunroof, rear spoiler, sports kit, and in immaculate condition will be the envy of all your friends. The bonus here is that it’s a private seller, so a deal could be had to get it for $10,000 or less if you strike up a friendly conversation.
Lexus LS 1989-Present
Just like Nissan produced luxury cars under a different brand name, Toyota introduced its own luxury brand Lexus back in 1989. Like most luxury cars, it sported a large engine, yet managed to keep up to date over five generations with luxury trim, the latest tech, and other improvements while preserving its dynasty entering into the 2020’s.
The one I found – I didn’t go back as far as 1989, but I did just edge into last century with a 1999 LS 400 with a glamorous gold exterior for just $8,300. I can’t believe it only has 67,000 miles on the dial considering it has a grunt-worthy 4.0 liter V8 engine under the bonnet. Well looked after with service history, it also sports a recent Kenwood DNX994S Navigation AV Receiver w/ 6.95″ Display screen, and an updated $2,800 sound system. For an extra $195 at $8495, you could pick up a white 2003 LS 430 with sunroof and 79,000 miles which is the next best thing. But my money would be on the earlier model with all the extras.
Mercedes Benz ‘S’ Class 4th Generation 1998-2007
At last count, you could choose from no less than 14 available engine options starting with a modest 2.8 liter V6, and working your way up to a staggering 6.3 liter V12 if you could find one cheap enough. Timely innovations such as Airmatic air suspension, Active Ventilated Seats, An onboard console-mounted navigation system was introduced, along with key-less entry and ignition, a radar-controlled cruise control system by Distronic, and Active Cylinder Control (a cylinder shut-off system). Impressive credentials for a car that’s about to enter the new century.
The one I found – Considering these cars cost an average of $100,000 when new, you couldn’t ask for a cheaper used luxury car if you tried. Surprisingly, there are a lot of them up for sale second hand (perhaps due to maintenance costs). However, I hand-picked a 2002 S430 model with a 4.3 liter V8 engine, sunroof, light ‘oyster’ grey interior, navigation system, and pitch black exterior color. At $6,495, it’s less than 7% of the original price when new! Not bad for a luxury car. Oh, and did I mention it’s only done 60,526 miles.
Audi A8/S8 1994-Present
Audi have become a leader in car manufacture, and driving one is a pure pleasure. Even the earlier luxury models have the solid Audi reputation for quality. The A8 offers plenty of luxury fixtures and a smooth drive and the industry first aluminium chassis, but the high-performance version S8 introduced back in 1996 offered Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel drive as standard with the option of short or long wheel base.
The one I found – Actually I have one of each – the A8 and the S8 to show you the difference in price. A pristine 2001 model 4.2 liter 8-cyclinder A8 in pearl white with black leather seats and grey interior trim will only set you back $9,500. It is a 5-speed automatic, has all-wheel drive, large factory-built Moonroof, brand new tires, and a genuine 71,000 miles. In comparison, $15,900 will give you a 2007 silver S8 with a powerful 5.2 liter V10 engine, two-tone black and grey leather seats and door trim, inbuilt navigation system, 6-speed automatic gears, Moonroof, and 93,103 miles. Take your pick.
BMW 7 Series 4th Generation 2001-2008
Okay. Everyone (well almost everyone) loves a ‘Beamer’ in one model or another. And there are a lot of model variations in their stable. The fourth generation was the first to feature iDrive in-car communication and entertainment systems, a six-speed automatic transmission, active anti-roll bars, night vision, and an electronic ‘Smart’ key. The base model 745i started at $68,500 new, while the top end 760Li commanded an eye-watering $115,800 to drive off the dealership yard.
The one I found – There are many on the market with higher mileage, but I managed to sniff out a real beauty in immaculate condition with a one month 1,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. A 2002 7 Series 745i Sports V8 4.4 liter that has recently passed a Safety & Smog Inspection and had a fresh oil and filter change as well. Presented in pristine silver with an outstanding 62,183 miles on the speedometer, I’d be snapping it up before anyone else does for a mere $5,999!
Jaguar S Type 1999-2007
A stalwart of British origin, Jaguar is a luxury car brand that has been around since 1945. Entering the 21st century, they delivered the ‘S’ Type, the gasoline models range from the 2.5 and 3.0 liter V6 up to the 4.2 S V8, and a 2.7 liter V6 diesel option as well. If you’re after one of the V8 models, keep away from anything built before September 2000 as these earlier models suffered from cylinder bore wear. Otherwise, this is a great option with proven performance.
The one I found – You can definitely get some amazing deals here. I found a privately owned 2000 V8 4.0 liter model with an extremely low 41,200 miles on the books and plenty of power for only $7,500. The photos show an immaculate car in silver (which it should be at such low mileage) with a Moonroof. The owner bought it for his son who had other ideas of owning a smaller car – his loss. Sounds like a bargain could be struck if he’s wanting the space for a little auto to replace it. It seems ideal, however just to be safe, have it thoroughly checked for cylinder bore wear if it was produced before September 2000. I couldn’t help but take a sneaky peek at a quartz-blue 2004 3.0 liter V6 with an insanely low 22,403 miles – like it had just been driven out of the showroom. It will set you back $11,326 (if you have the budget), but it’s great value for near-new condition.
There are some real bargains out there if you want to purchase your very own luxury auto. However, with luxury comes’ the cost of maintenance, and more often the cost of filling up a thirsty tank of gas. But these are the trade-offs for having a prestige car that will likely last you many pleasure-filled years.