We’ve all drooled over that new 2020 six-figure car that we can’t afford. I get it, it’s fun to dream, right? But, thanks to depreciation, some of those dreams can be a reality today! Whether it’s a Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, or even a Maserati, these cars were all once the pinnacle of luxury and engineering. And I know you’ve thought about what it would be like to commute in that kind of style and comfort.
However, there’s a reason a lot of these cars have depreciated so hard, and it’s not just because of their age. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the most infamous cars that once stickered in the six-figure range, and have fallen into totally affordable territory. These are the six-figure cars that are cheap today!
E65 BMW 760Li
First up is one of the most obvious choices, a German flagship with a V12 engine. BMW dropped the E65 7 Series in 2002, and it was completely state-of-the-art. Going on that controversial design by Chris Bangle, this was the 7 Series that paved the path for today’s technology.
When it was new at $117,000, the V12-powered 760Li was the ultimate luxury driving machine, and the best executive cruiser available. Unfortunately, the 760Li and the lesser 745i were plagued with more electrical issues than your buddy’s old Android phone, to a point where it’s hard to find one now without a Christmas tree of warning lights on the dashboard.
They’re available for less than $10,000 these days, with super worn-out examples listed for as little as $1,000. That’s less than 1% of its original sticker price!
Next up is another European luxury four-door, and this one’s literally just called the “four-door”.
Who doesn’t want some Italian flair in their life? With more style than the S-Class, 7 Series, and A8 of the same era, the Maserati Quattroporte was the out-of-the-box choice for the luxury buyer who wanted to stand out from the crowd.
The 5th generation Quattroporte, built from 2003 to 2012, came with a V8 and a beautiful exhaust note, and sounded a lot like the Ferrari models that it shared components with. The styling has aged extremely well over time too, making the Italian four-door still a sight for the eyes.
When new, the Quattroporte started around the $80,000 mark, with the average American transaction price being just over $100,000. It was more affordable than Ferraris, and really was seen by many as the only option if you wanted a Ferrari but needed rear doors.
Now, though, early 5th generation Quattroportes are online for as little as $8,000, and extremely clean, low-mileage models are all over the net for around $15,000. At between 15% and 20% of the original price, and depreciation of over $100,000 in the past decade and a half, this might be an okay bargain. Just stick with the 2007 and later cars that got a reliable ZF transmission over the clunky Ferrari single-clutch F1 gearbox.
For our next car we’ve got to bring it back to Germany and check out a car that will cost you peanuts up front, but might still be over six figures when you factor in repairs.
Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG (C215)
The Mercedes logo is a well-known symbol of luxury, and AMG has gone even one step further, becoming established as the go-to performance brand for enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. Any snob looking for something fast and flashy looks to AMG, and for good reason.
The C215 CL-Class sold between 2000 and 2006 had it all, good looks, big brawny engines, and that ballin’ design with no B-pillar, meaning you can look like a total boss driving down the street at over 150 miles per hour.
The CL65 got a 6.0-liter V12 that the madmen at AMG hooked up with two turbochargers. It put out a ground-shaking 603 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. That’s the same horsepower number as today’s E63 wagon and AMG GT R! The CL65 was 20 years ahead of its time!
Mercedes charged $180,000 for the CL65 when it was new, and optioned-out models were just over $200,000. Now, CL65 AMG‘s are online in the $20,000 range for supposedly sorted ones, and that doesn’t take into account the air suspension that’s guaranteed to go at some point.
It may be tempting to pick up one of these, or even the lesser CL55, but just remember that every replacement part will cost you a small fortune. That $20,000 car can become a $40,000 car without even blinking if you’re not careful.
This next car is a status symbol for wealthy suburban wives even though they’re going for ridiculously low today.
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
In 2003, Porsche launched the Cayenne. And while tons of purists thought it was totally sacreligious to the brand, selling them put a ton of money in Porsche’s pockets, which meant they could keep selling the stuff we really want, like the 718 GT4 and the GT3 RS.
But the Cayenne wasn’t all that bad. The original Turbo could be optioned to $150,000 and its 5,724-pound weight was on par with the GMC Yukon. The twin-turbo V8 was good for 450 horsepower and could hustle this fat Porsche to 60 miles per hour in just five seconds, which was insanely quick for the time.
Early Cayenne Turbos are now available in the $10,000 range, and that’s actually somewhat of a bargain. Sure, it’s less than 10% of the original MSRP, but unlike most of the cars on this list, the Cayenne is a surprisingly reliable choice. Sure, they have their issues, and Porsche maintenance costs aren’t exactly as cheap as Toyota’s, but when compared to the BMW X5, Mercedes ML AMG, and even the early Audi Q7 that the Cayenne shared a platform with, the Cayenne Turbo is affordable to run and maintain.
The next car on the list is among the least impressive in the BMW M Series, but hey, it’s still a Bimmer, and it used to sell for 10 times what it does today.
BMW’s M cars are said to have lost their way over time, with the peak performance of 20 years ago going by the wayside in favor of softer rides. The M5 and M6 in the mid-2000’s got a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V10, with 500 horsepower and a sprint to 60 in just 4.1 seconds. It was a seriously fast car, and the only thing holding it back was its optional automated manual gearbox.
The six-speed manual was the way to go, and even though the M6 wasn’t a reliable car by any means, its insane depreciation means that just about anyone can afford one today. In 2006, the M6 started at a few hundred dollars short of $100,000, and adding even basic options pushed it over that mark. BMW offered stuff like extended leather, performance bits, tech including the awful original iDrive system, and more that could get your M6 into the $120,000 range without flinching.
Today, M6’s are around the $7,000 range to start, with crackpot low-mileage showroom models in the $25,000 range. Even still, that’s depreciation between 75% and 90% from the original sticker. The BMW enthusiast forums are quick to point out that, despite their problems, the M6 and its four-door twin, the M5, are more than manageable if you can do your own work on them. That’s a pretty big “if”.
But, if you’re planning to use the local BMW dealership for all of your maintenance, you may want to look elsewhere, because there are more value-focused options out there for sure.
Next up is a British icon of luxury, with repair costs that are pretty much impossible to afford unless you have celebrity levels of cash.
Range Rover Supercharged
The Range Rover has a reputation for royalty. Seriously, Queen Elizabeth drives one. It’s known to be one of the most luxurious SUV’s on the road, and has been the pinnacle of off-road luxury prowess for decades now. The Range Rover has better ride quality and road manners than the Mercedes G-Wagon, and thanks to depreciation, is way more accessible.
Recent years have seen the introduction of real rivals like the Bentley Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, but the mighty Rover has held its position as the choice for luxury buyers who still want to venture off the beaten path. Plus, it’ll make people assume that you have Angelina Jolie levels of money. Yeah, she’s driving a Range too.
But, the Range Rover comes with another reputation, as one of the least reliable vehicles money can buy in any price range. Whether you’re looking at a heavily depreciated sub-$10,000 Rover or a brand new big-daddy Autobiography at $150,000 or more, these things will bankrupt you.
Models from just 10 years ago are now under the $10,000 mark, less than 10% of their original MSRP. The catastrophic failures starting with air suspension components, engine failures, oil consumption, and of course, electrical problems aren’t a matter of if but when. The general consensus on the Range Rover forums is that they’re absolute hell to own. However, the dealerships typically provide owners with newer Jaguar or Land Rover models while you get your wallet-draining repairs done, so get used to driving service loaners.
There Are Plenty More Where These Came From!
The temptation is real, and every year there are new models from about a decade ago that are getting seriously cheap. But, as you’ve learned today, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good, and even if you’re doing a bunch of the work on your car yourself, it’s just probably not worth it.
That new Honda Civic Si doesn’t sound so boring now, does it? Which do you think will be the next few cars to drop hard in value this year? Let us know in the comment section below!
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