$5,000 Luxury Cars For Students

2004 2007 mercedes c class
M@RS - The Digital Archives of Mercedes-Benz

Man, when you wake up late for class, you need a car as fast as lightning so you won’t be late, as comfy your bed, and it doesn’t hurt if it’s cooler than your mom’s Camry!

Well, good news, Ideal fam, class is in session. Grab your lunchbox and put on your backpacks, because we’re about to show you lavish luxury land yachts for under $5,000. 

2001 – 2007 Mercedes C-Class – C-Class Is In Session!

2005 2007 mercedes c class
Wikimedia Commons

So, you can tell people you have money to have one of the German three: Audi, BMW, or Mercedes! And the best $5,000 Mercedes is the W203 C-Class. This entry level Benz could be one of the best options if you want a comfy commuter, with soft, electric 4-way leather seats, classy wood-trimmed accents, and even a 10-speaker Bose sound system to bump your tunes. Some cars twice the price don’t even have all those things.

But a comfy interior isn’t the only reason why you should get one. This beauty makes you look filthy rich, because, after all, it is a Benz, which is synonymous with CEOs. You won’t even need to get a limo when you go to prom! This Benz is nice enough! I mean, you’ll get a date almost as quick as this car is from the factory!

Now, you have 2 engines to choose from: the base engine, a 2.6-liter V6 making 168 horsepower, which is respectable and reliable. But if you really want to make it to class on time, go with the larger 3.2-liter V6 that produces 215 horsepower. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

So, if you want a whip with some class, I found a C230 in the only color it should ever come in, black, for way under our budget at $4,000! This is a perfect cruiser car, but just keep in mind, this is a Mercedes. If something goes wrong on it, it’s going to cost you.

If you want something that won’t cost you your college tuition to keep running, then your best bet for a reliable luxury machine is the Acura TL.

2004 – 2008 Acura TL – The A+ Acura

2008 acura tl
Car and Driver

This little Japanese sedan went toe-to-toe against the German giants of BMW and Mercedes. With Acura being the luxury arm of Honda, you know the Acura TL is going to keep running for miles and miles, so you don’t need to worry about it breaking down on your way to a final. That sounds like a nightmare!

With the TL you’ll get all the features that you would expect from a great commuter like a smooth ride, sweeping body lines, and arguably the best sound system on a car under $50,000 MSRP.

Roll down the windows and slam the gas pedal to the floor, and you’re pleasantly greeted with the lucious sound of the 3.2-liter V6, which sounds crazy. And if you really want to hear it growl, straight pipe it and it will sound crazy! And with 270 horsepower, the TL makes short work of its competition, the BMW 3 Series, which, at the time, managed only 235 horsepower.

The TL also comes with a manual transmission, making you one of the coolest kids at school. Oh, make sure to grab one of our “Save the Manuals” tees!

Now, if you want to get a TL, grab a low-mileage one like the cherry example we found with 113,000 on the clock. That’s a sweet deal! You get a V6 supercruiser that won’t let you down!

But maybe this front-wheel drive lifestyle isn’t your thing. And you want something you can throw around, while still keeping it luxury, then the answer is the Infiniti G35!

2002 – 2007 Infiniti G35 – The JDM Superhero

2007 infiniti g35

Owning an Infiniti G35 is experiencing 90% of the joy of a German sports car with 10% of the maintenance costs. They’re practical, reliable, and reasonably quick, because that naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter VQ V6 packs some serious punch with a whopping 306 horsepower.

And you can either put that power to all four wheels with the all-wheel drive models, of for some more fun, cop a rear-wheel drive model, and hit some sick drifts! Yeah, impressing your friends with sick parking lot powerslides sounds pretty good, right?

And something that you might not expect is that the G35 is essentially a 350Z wrapped in leather, thanks to it sharing the VQ with the Z. Parts are widely available to either repair or modify your G35 to your heart’s content.

Now, the VQ is bulletproof, but you’d better keep that oil topped off, because she thirsty. So, just make sure you keep up to date on oil changes. And if you really want to get noticed, throw on an exhaust and it’ll sound incredible. Damn!

The best feature of the G35, though, is its price! I found a clean silver 2004 G35 for only $5,000! You get a smooth and handsome-looking ride, with all the fun of having a rear-wheel drive beast. Sadly, that means people beat the crap out of these cars. 

If you want a car that hasn’t been doing doughnuts in a parking lot, look no further than the Lexus GS.

1996 – 2005 Lexus GS – A G of a Sedan

2005 2005 lexus gs300
Lexus USA Newsroom

A car that will stay low key, while also keeping it classy. No, it’s not going to break necks, but I can guarantee that it won’t break your bank account either! The Lexus GS is Toyota reliable, so you won’t get stranded when you need to get to your morning class.

Brand new, this was a Japanese luxury car. What could it possibly cost? Well, you won’t believe this, original MSRP was $60,000. Let that sink in. That was the same amount as a fully loaded BMW M3! Once you step inside, though, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Lexus showed all the way up with solid quality and luxury beyond its price range, leather trim, a huge sunroof, and a smooth automatic transmission.

You know, this is a legendary commuter, and you know what’s more legendary than the interior? The engine! A 3.0-liter naturally-aspirated 2JZ that puts out 220 horsepower. Yeah, the the same one as the Supra! Being naturally-aspirated, it’s definitely not the fastest, but definitely a tunable and super smooth and luxurious commuter whip. So, do you want one? For $4,900 and under 100,000 miles, it’s a freaking 2JZ steal!

Sadly, the GS300 doesn’t get an A+ in the horsepower department. A car that tops it’s class, though, is the Chrysler 300!

2005 – 2010 Chrysler 300 – Chry Me A River

2010 chrysler 300
The Car Connection

Packing a luxurious interior with a big body and a hunk of American metal up front, the Chrysler 300 will scratch your itch if you need a luxury muscle car. Yeah, that’s right, luxury muscle car. That means a fancy dinner at night with wood and leather trim, and doughnuts in the morning, putting the ponies to the rear wheels.

You can choose from a list of different engines depending on your budget and needs, like a 2.7-liter V6, a 3.5-liter V6, a top-of-the-line 5.7-liter V8, or a crazy 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that puts out 425 horsepower in the SRT8 models. That’s a lot of power! Whatever engine you chose, just know that you’re getting a kick-ass leather-filled commuter with some killer speed.

So, why should you get a 300? Sure, it’s a big, beefy American all-star with a luxurious interior and classy exterior, and definitely has more power than most of the cars on this list. But if you ask me, compared to the other cars on this list, I think I’d take a hard pass on driving a big body, unreliable Chrysler.

Disagree? Well, we found one with the 3.5-liter V6 for under $5,000! The 300 sounds great on paper with its power and rear-wheel drive, but one place it sounds terrible is in the snow!

For those of us in colder climates, you may want to take a look at the Audi A4!

2001 – 2006 Audi A4 – Quattro!

2005 2008 audi a4
Honest John

And to be specific, you students want the B6 A4. Why? Because it’s the comfiest with its leather plush seats, and it will make you confident with the Quattro all-wheel drive system, which will keep you planted to the road more than any other car on this list. Plus, it’ll make you look rich!

Keeping the power are two engines: a tuner-oriented turbocharged 1.8-liter engine that makes 170 horsepower, or a 220-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. My advice is to avoid the turbocharged 1.8 at all costs, because they’re notoriously unreliable. However, if you know your way around the engine, you can tune these to insane numbers! And if you want to check out some other European tuner cars, check out our video!

Why would I get this if I were a student? Because of that Quattro all-wheel drive system, baby! See, in a rear-wheel drive car, if you hit a puddle on the freeway, you could spin out and hit the barriers. With the sophisticated all-wheel drive system that distributes power based on the loss of traction to all four wheels, you will never have to worry about spinning out again.

You also will never have to worry about breaking the bank to get into one of these. We found a 3-liter A4 with under 100,000 for just $5,000! That’s crazy cheap for a super stable luxury stallion from Audi!

If you don’t need the Quattro all-wheel drive system, but still want that German luxury, get a Volkswagen. And if you want a cheap VW that can take you to class on time, then get the Passat.

2005 – 2015 Volkswagen Passat – To Pass Class

2015 volkswagen passat

I’m going to drop some knowledge. Volkswagen means “Peoples’ Car” in German, so they designed this car with comfort and luxury in mind. If you can get over the shoddy electronics, this is a solidly built car, and its understated and reasonably reliable. One of the best features is active sound insulation, so freeway noise won’t pester your passengers.

Now, the Passat came in a plethora of engine options, but if you want the ideal power plant, get the 2.0-liter turbo. You get good gas mileage, parts are widely available parts, and most important of all, it’s super reliable.

Just make sure to get service records, and you get one with reasonably low milage. We found a Passat Komfort with under 75,000 miles with the 2-liter for under $5,000. For that price, you might want to take a pass at getting yourself a Passat. And it’s pretty well known that ladies love VW’s. So who knows? Maybe your crush will ask for a ride to class.

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