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Old 08-31-2010, 01:38 PM
 
800 posts, read 1,524,176 times
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Background: Terms like “resale value” or “depreciation” are irrelevant to me in terms of cars, as for me a car is not an asset like stocks or commercial real estate—I know people that buy USED cars and worry about “putting miles on it”, that’s not me. My primary objective is enjoyment and the driving experience. For reference, I currently own a Jetta 2002 at 100K miles.

Hi guys, given the choice between an “older” Luxury Sedan, like a BMW5 series or an Audi A8 from 2004-6 or a new 2009-11 mid-sized sedan like a Jetta, VW CC, Ford Fusion, etc., head-to-head, which one is the more enjoyable experience, which one is easier to maintain, etc etc?

I am happy with the handling and feel, but it very well may be that I simply do not have reference points.

I’m looking to upgrade possibly as soon as next summer but maybe not until the end of 2012. I’d thought I’d go in for a VW CC, but only recently have I started thinking of luxury cars.

The disadvantage of BMW or Lexus type car is that I’d still have a car that’s 6-8 years old. Are luxury cars of 6-8 years old better quality, build, handling and comfort as new regular economy/mid-size cards of today?
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:51 PM
 
Location: 'Murica
1,294 posts, read 2,298,808 times
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The main issue with older luxury cars, and probably the biggest reason they are so cheap, is that they are very expensive to maintain. Luxury cars starting around the mid-late 90's started to become very complex and packed with technological gadgetry. Even luxury cars before that time were costly to maintain because parts were so expensive. One sobering thing to keep in mind is that although you can get a Bangle-style 7-series for just over $20k nowadays, you'll still have to pay the costs to maintain a $100k vehicle. That has 100k miles.

Your best bet is to go with a Lexus, specifically an ES, since it's mechanically similar to a V6 Camry. They won't be as big of a bargain as a late-model 7-series or S-class, but you'll still be able to find a newer model year. If you want something with sharper handling, then unfortunately, you won't be able to find anything with more pedestrian underpinnings, but my brother's G35 at 110k miles and my CTS at 60k miles have both been fairly reliable. And although the G35 has shown quite a bit of wear and tear at this point, I'd say that luxury cars of that age are at least as well-made as mainstreamer cars today.
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 24,104,510 times
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We recently bought a 2007 Infiniti M35 instead of a newer (but used) Ford Fusion Sport. The Fusion Sport is a very good car to drive - has 262 hp, good suspension, its roomy, and has good features (such as the Microsoft Sync). However the M35 is an entirely different class of vehicle. Even though it as about 30K more miles - it was a more satisfying choice. I think it is interesting how cheap used BMWs are after the warranty expires. I think that shows how afraid buyers are of owning those cars out of warranty. The good news is that if you aren't afraid of them - the cars are cheap. The bad news is that there is a reason to be afraid of them.

Notice that Acura values don't drop off as quickly - probably because they cost less to maintain for most people.

I like interesting cars. So I would probably choose an older premium car over a newer non-premium car. But I would not choose a car with a reputation for difficulty.
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:43 PM
 
800 posts, read 1,524,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
We recently bought a 2007 Infiniti M35 instead of a newer (but used) Ford Fusion Sport. The Fusion Sport is a very good car to drive - has 262 hp, good suspension, its roomy, and has good features (such as the Microsoft Sync). However the M35 is an entirely different class of vehicle. Even though it as about 30K more miles - it was a more satisfying choice. I think it is interesting how cheap used BMWs are after the warranty expires. I think that shows how afraid buyers are of owning those cars out of warranty. The good news is that if you aren't afraid of them - the cars are cheap. The bad news is that there is a reason to be afraid of them.

Notice that Acura values don't drop off as quickly - probably because they cost less to maintain for most people.

I like interesting cars. So I would probably choose an older premium car over a newer non-premium car. But I would not choose a car with a reputation for difficulty.
Intriguing. Mind going further into your approach to this (premium, reputability, etc) whenever you get a chance?

Are Japanese luxury cars as sturdy, and durable as their german counterparts?
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:59 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 21,925,649 times
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The best car ever made including everything that is made today, on balance, is the Mercedes W126. A range of motors from a 3.0 liter diesel to a 5.6 liter gas, in a coupe and sedan and extended sedan, it was and is bulletproof. Many cars topping 400,000 miles and routinely topping 250,000 miles. I have had several. My 300SEL gets 17.5 MPG (all city rush hour), pretty good for the heaviest modern conventional sedan. They are also among the safest vehocles made having about the lowest fatality record, because of good engineering.

One would be hard pressed to spend $5,000 on a W126 other than a collectible specimen with less than 100,000 miles on the clock. Mine might be worth $1,500 and I prefer to drive it over any of the nine other cars and trucks i own.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Pikesville, MD
5,229 posts, read 11,224,889 times
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This is my 12 year old daily driver, bought at 143k miles in 2006 for $7500. I've spent a bit over $1500 in repairs since that purchase, and have 180k on it now.



Unless I decide to replace it with an '01 version, I'll probably have it through 300k miles. No, I wouldn't rather have a new(er) mid sizer or economy car.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 16,609,774 times
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As long as the repair cost (it is a machine after all) AND the vehicle is still the car you like to drive then an older comfortable vehicle will always be my choice.

We drive a '93 Suburban that I bought new and have no intentions of getting rid of any time soon since it does all that we need done. We like it so much that if necessary we will re-power when the time comes.

One must remember that older luxury cars are always better engineered due to the market they sell to. Richer folk's don't have much sense of humor about car defects.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 14,710,370 times
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Really depends on how long you plan on keeping it, how many miles it has/how many you'll put on, and how good of shape everything is in.

I can see the benefit on buying a used luxury car if it's in good mechanical condition but otherwise they can be a money pit. I'd look for luxury vehicles with low miles...many retirees trade off vehicles every couple years and most of them have very few miles and are impeccably maintained.

There are MANY 3-4 year old S-Class Mercedes as well as Lexus LS430's with less than 30,000 miles on them in the Phoenix area. You can pick up a very nice 2005 LS430 with 30K miles for less than $20K. I've seen a few 2005-2006 Mercedes S500's with 30K miles or less for around $25K.

You'll get more enjoyment out of a used luxury car but make sure to have an independent mechanic check it out BEFORE buying it.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 14,710,370 times
Reputation: 3918
Really depends on how long you plan on keeping it, how many miles it has/how many you'll put on, and how good of shape everything is in.

I can see the benefit on buying a used luxury car if it's in good mechanical condition but otherwise they can be a money pit. I'd look for luxury vehicles with low miles...many retirees trade off vehicles every couple years and most of them have very few miles and are impeccably maintained.

There are MANY 3-4 year old S-Class Mercedes as well as Lexus LS430's with less than 30,000 miles on them in the Phoenix area. You can pick up a very nice 2005 LS430 with 30K miles for less than $20K. I've seen a few 2005-2006 Mercedes S500's with 30K miles or less for around $25K.

You'll get more enjoyment out of a used luxury car but make sure to have an independent mechanic check it out BEFORE buying it.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Pikesville, MD
5,229 posts, read 11,224,889 times
Reputation: 4846
Actually, I'm leery of low mileage used luxury cars, as all of them have known problem areas before about 100k miles. If the car has low miles all of that is still in front of you AND out of warranty. At higher miles, usually those areas have been adresed and you won't have to worry about it. Generally 90-120k miles is the sweet spot for TCO over a 3-5 year period, as usually all you'll have to deal with is normal wear items and MAYBE a couple smallish things (that you might be able to simply live with).
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