If there’s one good thing about the economic apocalypse, it’s that former high-rollers are being forced to slim their fleet of high-dollar rides. Why is that good news? Because the rest of the world can now pick up the ultimate in luxury from manufacturers around the globe for tens of thousands of dollars less than what they went for new just a few short years ago. Don’t believe us? Have a look at DriverSide’s top 7 deals in used luxury.
Mercedes-Benz S Class
BMW 7 Series
When VW unveiled the Phaeton back in 2002, more than a few people wondered who exactly the people’s carmaker had in mind when it rolled out the outrageously priced sedan. If you ticked off every box on the option sheet, this Vee Dub could hit you up for over $100,000. That’s a far cry from the humble Beetle that started it all. While U.S.-spec cars started at around $67,000 in 2006, pristine examples can be had today in the neighborhood of $25,000. You don’t need a calculator to figure out that’s some serious depreciation. The Phaeton came with a 350 horsepower V-8 standard, but a 6.0-liter W-12 was also available. That mill puts out a mind-boggling 450 horsepower to all four wheels. Then there’s the interior, complete with doors that shut themselves, more legroom than business class and radiant heat. That’s what we call luxury, all for less than a Honda Civic.
Few things scream luxury quite like a Silver Arrow, and the S-Class does it better than most in the company’s stable. With proportions that would easily embarrass most yachts and only the finest in German engineering, the 2007 S-Class once MSRP’d for $85,400. Now, if you look hard enough you can have a good example for a much more manageable $45,500. That would be pricey for any normal used car, but aside from all of the standard lux accouterments, the S-Class was available with a potent 5.5-liter V-8 with close to 400 horsepower. Oh, and it could be had with Mercedes-Benz’s fantastic all-wheel drive system, too.
Yet another German barge, the 2007 BMW 7-Series offers up a whole new level of prestige. Whereas the S-Class is the chariot of choice for musicians and hotel heiresses alike, the 7-Series is numero uno for CEOs and bank tycoons. Inside the sinister shell, occupants are treated to plenty of leather and space to stretch their legs, not to mention the usual array of electronic wizardry. While the 2007 BMW 7-Series started at $75,800 just two short years ago, you can pick one up today for anywhere from $36,000 to $39,000. Either way, this amount of car for under $40,000 is one serious deal.
If massive sedans aren’t your taste, a 2006 Jaguar XK8 just might do the trick. With lunging good looks wrapped up in a sexy two-door convertible or coupe package, the XK8 is what James Bond would drive if he weren’t so wrapped up in Aston Martin. Under the hood, there’s a plenty powerful 4.2-liter V-8 that puts power to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. If you wanted one back in 2006, the fine people at Jaguar would have politely asked for $69,000 for the base model. Today, you can pick one up for around $35,900 depending on how hard you look. Though Jaguar’s aren’t renowned for their reliability, the company has made impressive progress on that front in recent years.
Ever overlooked in the luxury segment, Acura's vehicles have plenty to offer. The company manages to keep pace with its European competition in the interior department, though cars like the RL may seem underpowered when stacked against some of the competition on this list. With a 3.5-liter V-6, the RL has a respectable 290 horsepower on tap. Thanks to Acura’s super-handling all-wheel drive system, this ride can keep on keeping on when the going gets slippery, too. Priced at close to $48,600 in 2006, pristine examples are easily found for around $20,000, with some as cheap as $16,499. It may not have badge appeal, but this ride does boast all of the creature comfort of pricier rides for a fraction of the coin.
Speaking of all-wheel drive, if you find yourself looking for something that puts power to all four corners, look no further than the A8. Audi has built its reputation on the superiority of its Quattro all-wheel drive system, and the A8 makes the most of its going power. With an impressive 4.2-liter V-8 under the hood and a sprawling 115-inch wheelbase, this car exudes brute force. After all, Jason Statham pilots one in the Transporter franchise. If that’s not enough to convince you, we don’t know what is. While the car originally carried a sticker of $68,130, a little searching can easily turn up good examples for less than $40,000.
Though slightly less powerful than the German bruisers it tries so hard to emulate, the LS has a flare all its own. Handling characteristics are somewhat muted thanks to an overly soft ride, but this car is a rear-wheel drive, V-8 brawler at heart. Under the hood, this Lexus offers a 4.3-liter V-8 with 278 horsepower. That may not be blistering power, but it's more than enough to scoot this hefty rig right along. If you found yourself wanting an LS in 2006, the car would have set you back a full $56,525, but thanks to the global economic maelstrom, you can have yours today for around $38,000. Not too shabby.