10 Luxury Cars of the Past You Can Afford to Buy Today

No matter what car you buy, its price will start depreciating from the moment you turn the ignition key and roll out of the showroom. Of course, not all models lose value at the same rate. But there are some cars that stand out more than others and Popular Mechanics has compiled a list with some of the most heavily depreciated vehicles in the luxury car segment.

And while this may not be the kind of news a seller wants to hear, it’s music to the ears of buyers in the market for snazzy set of wheels. Just remember that regardless if the car is new or used, running costs remain the same, and when it comes to luxury models, be prepared to dig deep into your pockets.

Aston Martin DB7

James Bond is a timeless icon. He looks ultra-cool whether in shorts or a tuxedo, he never cracking under pressure, he has women lining-up for him all over the world, and drives some of the best cars around.

But since chances are you’ll never manage to get in her Majesty’s Secret Service or obtain an MI6 license to kill, the next best thing is the car brand identified with the world’s most famous secret agent: Aston Martin.

Pricey classic DB4s and DB5s are out of the question but the mass-produced DB7 from the early ‘90s is an extremely good-looking and cheaper alternative. Never mind that it was based on the Jaguar XK8 platform. – the DB7 is absolutely gorgeous and under the hood you’ll find either a supercharged six-cylinder or a V12. Recently, a 2001 top of the line Vantage V12 with just 32,000 miles, sold for $32,000 eBay. Just remember to order your martini shaken, not stirred.

Audi A8

Audi was never really a contender in the luxury-sedan segment until it launched the all-aluminum A8 with its revolutionary ASF spaceframe in 1997. The A8 offered Audi a credible rival to BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

But despite its technological breakthroughs, the A8 depreciates faster than you can say “Audi” due to high repair costs and a lack of its rivals cachet. For example, a 2001 model with 116,000 miles sold for less than ten grand, $9,000 to be exact. Newer models don’t fare much better: an $80,000 (when a new) A8 LWB from 2006 commanded just $26,000 on the popular online market site.

Bentley Arnage

If a Maybach is too vulgar for you and a Rolls-Royce Phantom too ostentatious, then Bentley is your brand. The four-door Arnage used to be the top model in Bentley’s range and was offered with either a BMW sourced 4.4-liter V8 or the (preferred by traditional customers) long-lived 6.75-liter turbocharged V8 which produced tremendous amounts of torque.

Pricing when new (that is, from 1998 until 2009), started from around $200,000, and skyrocketed when you ticked a few options. Nowadays, you can get your hands on 2000MY Arnage 6.75 V8 for just $40,000. Just bear in mind that, if you have to ask the cost of maintenance, then you probably cannot afford it.

BMW 7-Series

The flagship sedan model of BMW’s lineup tends to lose value pretty fast because of its high initial prices and even higher running costs –especially if it has high mileage.

A pre-Bangle era (and in our opinion more beautiful) 2001 740i with 160,964 miles sold for just $4,900 on eBay. The next model fares even worse because of its controversial looks and the fact that it is packed with an array of pricey to fix electronic gizmos. A six-year-old 745i with only 45,429 miles sold for $20,000. That is less than the price of a new Honda Accord.

Cadillac Escalade

The Cadillac Escalade SUV costs over 60 grand but can be had for a fair price as a used model. Blame its image, the economy, or the increasing fuel prices, but a three year old Escalade costs less than half of its original price.

A 2009 ESV long model with 115,551 miles recently sold on eBay for less than $26,000. Even lower-mileage Escalades can’t escape the huge depreciation, as a 2008 model with only 23,000 miles sold for $22,000.

Jaguar S-Type

We knew it was bound to end in tears from the moment we heard the news. Ford, which in the late ‘90s owned Jaguar, decided to launch a midsize luxury sedan based on the platform of a Lincoln. And that’s how the S-Type was born but it never really won the hearts of Jaguar’s clientele.

As a result, its depreciation can only be compared with the brand’s disastrous venture in Formula 1 at the same period.

The truth is, the S-Type wasn’t that bad after all – and much better than the shame called the X-Type. But the Lincoln association hurt its image, and its overtly traditional styling looked out of place next to other premium models. The result is a bargain buy as $1,500 can get you a decent business laptop or a 2000 model year S-Type with 100,000 miles on the odometer.

Maserati Coupe

An Italian supercar is always something to marvel about. Even with less cache than Ferrari, after the disastrous Biturbos of the 1980s, Maserati gained a special appeal thanks to the Coupe that was fitted with a Maranello-sourced 4.2-liter V8 delivering 385-ponies.

Quality and reliability had improved since the 1980s but it still lagged behind German rivals like the Porsche 911. And the styling, while unique, was a bit awkward –especially after they replaced the “boomerang” LED rear lights with something that looked like it came out of Toyota’s parts bin. The Maserati Coupe is an eccentric choice, but for $23,000 for a 2002 model with 43,000 miles on the odometer, it’s quite cheap for Italian style and a Ferrari V8.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Mercedes’ finest is the blue chip in the luxury sedan segment. It is a cocoon that isolates you from the noise and bumps of the outside world, offering a large range of the latest gizmos. Like the 7-Series, you get things that you’ll see in mainstream models in five or ten years later. Who could ask for more?

Still, it depreciates heavily. A 2002 S600 with a V12 under the hood and a sticker price of $130,000 when new, now costs almost 10% of that original price: just $16,000. We have no explanation for this drop: is it that even the rich start to downsize or perhaps move more upmarket? Is it that Mercedes-Benz’s uber-sedan has become the default choice in the segment, and as a result, there are too many around? Whatever the reason, this would be our choice for a limo.

Range Rover

British cars just can’t seem to shake off their bad reputation as far as reliability is concerned. And for good reason: for many-many years, even their most expensive offerings, like Jaguars and Range Rovers, had so many problems that you not only had to be wealthy but really brave, or lonesome enough to appreciate the frequent visits to the service center, to actually buy one.

While modern versions have improved dramatically, the Range Rover, the pinnacle of luxury and off road capabilities, is still very expensive to repair once something goes wrong. So their prices drop like bricks from the top of the Empire State Building after a while: a 2004 HSE with 95,600 miles can be had for only $15,450. That’s small car money. So if you are brave, or very lonely, you may give it a shot.

Volkswagen Phaeton

Ferdinand Piech, apart from being VW’s CEO and major stockholder, as well as a grandson of none other than Ferdinand Porsche himself, is a very ambitious man. But even ambition has its limits. Piech, who rebuild VW Group to today’s giant and can flaunt a more than 40-year old resume full of triumphs, from the legendary Porsche 917 Le Mans winner to the record-smashing Bugatti Veyron, discovered his limits in 2002.

It had the shape of the Phaeton, VW’s attempt to emulate Toyota’s success with the launch of a new premium brand, Lexus, which beat the 7-Series and S-Class at their own game.

The Phaeton that was named after the son of the Helios in Greek mythology, was fully loaded with the latest technology and boasted V8 and W12 engines. But the sun didn’t shine too bright at VW’s dealerships around the world.

Today, a 2004MY W12 model with under 90,000 miles can be had for $23,000. Perhaps the Phaeton’s future claim to glory will be that it provided the platform for the Bentley Continental GT.

Story source: Popular Mechanics

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