Enjoy royal motoring for proletarian money in any of our top ten used luxury cars
Would you like a car that’s more posh and more comfortable than your house? The world’s top manufacturers are happy to help you scratch that itch with spacious, soft-riding, super-refined and technology-packed luxury motors.
Unfortunately, if you insist on buying new, they’ll expect you to pay through the nose for the privilege. So, why not do what we do with houses and buy secondhand? Unlike houses, used luxury cars go down in value rather than up. That’s because there are plenty of expensive things that could go wrong in a two-tonne slab of metal pounding along the road at three-figure speeds.
Still, if you buy wisely you can get something that will, with any luck, not trip you up financially. In fact, it’s perfectly possible to drive in the lap of luxury for about the same money you’d be paying for a new SUV.
Here are our ten best used luxury cars for under £25,000. All of these are actual cars that we have found, and all have full service history.
10. Maserati Quattroporte 4.2
We found: 2010, 25,000 miles, £24,450
A Maserati for the price of a Nissan Qasqhai? This elegant four-door saloon combines fabulous styling and a lovely engine with a wonderful cabin and all the kudos of this famous badge. It doesn’t drive quite as well as it looks and sounds, but isn’t it worth a bit of a sacrifice to own an Italian thoroughbred?
9. BMW 730d SE
We found: 2015(15), 15,000 miles, £24,999
One of the best-driving luxury cars, the 7 Series will hustle along bendy roads just as easily as it will cruise along a motorway, and it will do that quite cheaply too if you plump for the smooth 730d diesel engine. Nobody will complain about a shortage of modern technology inside the cabin and the recent arrival of a new, higher-tech Seven will work in your favour on used 2015 models.
8. Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Vogue
We found: 2012(12), 59,000 miles, £24,995
No car combines on-road luxury and off-road ability as brilliantly as the Range Rover. Whether you’re outside the Dorchester in your DJ or mud-plugging across Dartmoor in your wellies, it will do the job, seating you up in high in big, comfy seats and surrounding you in expensive materials. The whole experience is supremely relaxing as long as you’re not unlucky with the reliability.
7. Bentley Flying Spur W12
We found: 2005(55), 42,000 miles, £24,000
For many connoisseurs of ‘quality’ motoring the Bentley badge has always had a certain edge over many others. Aston Martins and even Rolls Royces can seem common alongside something like a Flying Spur, and any doubt will quickly be washed away by the thrust of the 552bhp 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine. This a genuine 200mph limousine. The fun will be immense, and the running costs probably will be too.
6. Porsche Panamera 3.0 TD V6
We found: 2011, 89,000 miles, £25,000
Hamstrung by unfair pigeonholing as ‘the four-door 911’, the Panamera is a fast, luxurious and sporty car in its own right. Not everyone is wowed by the styling, but that ambivalence is keeping used values usefully low. Get beyond that and you’ll find yourself in one of the smartest, best built cabins in motoring. Maintenance costs are the biggest potential fly in the ointment.
5. Jaguar XJ 3.0d Premier Lux
We found: 2013, 25,000 miles, £25,000
Jaguar XJs have set standards for comfort and handling in the big car market since 1968. The current model, which came out in 2009, divided opinion on looks but dynamically was every bit as good as its predecessors. Performance is strong and the handling agile but you still get the unabashed luxury of wood and leather. Some might worry about Jaguar reliability but there are no serious concerns with this model.
4. Mercedes-Benz CLS 350d AMG Sport
We found: 2014, 16,000 miles, £24,995
The first CLS was a pioneer in the four-door coupe market, and the 2010-on second-gen version is an even more handsome mix of desirability and practicality. Based on the well-proven E-Class, the CLS drives well and with plenty of refinement, whether it’s a petrol or a diesel. The plush cabin has plenty of equipment, and both buying and running costs are affordable.
3. Audi A8 3.0 TDI SE
We found: 2014, 25,000 miles, £24,995
Sharp build quality is an Audi given, and that goes double in the A8. Extensive use of aluminium minimises weight and maximises performance and efficiency. The cabin is very classy, the infotainment works very well and the long-wheelbase option has masses of interior space. You’ll save on depreciation with this age of car but you may pay out on parts, which are expensive.
2. BMW 520d M Sport
We found: 2016, 8,000 miles, £24,995
When it comes to breadth of talent you’ll struggle to beat the BMW 5 Series. Go for an early 2016 car to avoid the financial penalty of the late-’16 facelifters. Engines are strong yet frugal and the ride and handling are superb, especially in the adaptive suspension models. Throw in the fine ergonomics and brilliant iDrive infotainment system and you’re laughing.
1. Mercedes-Benz S350 CDI L
We found: 2013, 44,000 miles, £24,000
The S-Class wins just about every luxury test it’s entered into when it’s new, and the same goes for used examples. Quality, smoothness, comfort and driver appeal are all top-notch and, if you pick an S350 diesel, you can add reasonable running costs to that list. The cabin tech is easy to use. A true luxury car bargain.