Luxury cars are all about being comfortable as you cruise the streets, looking baller as you pull up to the club, and making a little noise as you pass suckers on the freeway. And today, thanks to depreciation, you can own surprisingly luxurious cars for cheap.
What’s up, Ideal fam? I’m here to help you ride in style and save you tons of cash. All I ask is that maybe you consider checking out our YouTube channel for more awesome content. Nothing’s more luxurious than that!
2013 – 2015 Lexus GS – A Sedan For True G’s
Specifically, the fourth generation Lexus GS, the athletic, well-mannered sports sedan from the Japanese automaker that’s known for reliability and luxury. New, these things new were pushing a $60,000 MSRP, and this generation that started in 2013 was a step in a new direction for Lexus, starting with its looks. It had a prominent new spindle grill, LED headlight treatment, and a more chiseled body.
But, it wasn’t just restyled. Oh no, it was also re-engineered. See, the new GS was way sportier than its predecessor, spending more than its fair share of time shredding laps on the Nurburgring, dialing in that lively chassis. And if you snag one with rear-wheel drive, this sports saloon with its 3.5-liter V6 pumping out 306 horses transforms into a proficient connoisseur of the curves.
I can guarantee you’ll want to log miles in the GS, because the first time you plop your butt into the driver’s seat and you’re touched by leather that would make a comparable Mercedes jealous, it’ll definitely put a huge smile on your face. And I can’t forget to mention that it’s a Lexus, so it’s a quality-built car from the team at Toyota.
And less than 10 years after conception, you can snag one for a 6th of the original asking price! We were able to find this GS for just under $10,000! Now, it was a little high in the mileage range but keep in mind that this is a Toyota. Some would say it’s just getting started! But, if you’re concerned about the distance this GS has gone, the good news is for a little more money, examples in the lower six figure mileage range can be yours.
Now, the Lexus GS is a great choice for a modern luxury car on the cheap. But wait! There’s some stiff competition on this list. And I think most of you will agree, the Lexus GS and BMW 5 Series are the rulers by which other luxury sedans are measured. And Cadillac, the official car brand of retirement homes, decided to see how they measure up with their 2014 Cadillac CTS.
2014 – 2019 Cadillac CTS – Big Bad Caddy
I know, I know, Cadillac? I’m not retired yet! But I really think you should give Cadillac a 2nd or 3rd chance, because this American luxury sedan is an ideal value for sure when it comes to cheap luxury. When you step inside the CTS’s spacious cabin, your eyes are met with signature Cadillac style. Sprinkled with leather and wood trim, it’s an inviting space that will wow your passengers on a nice cruise.
And remember, GM was going after the kings of luxury with their 2014 models. Let’s just say, the engineers were not messing around. The CTS is not a soft leather couch on wheels like previous generations, it was designed as driver’s car first, luxury car second. It featured sharp handling and stiff suspension, some say too stiff for a luxury sedan, but I think the Ideal fans would prefer a more nimble ride.
Now, the CTS came in a few different trims. And for $10,000, you can likely find a Luxury trim package CTS for sale, which comes with a moderately-powered turbo 4-cylinder or a V6, and tons of features like HID headlights, heated seats, and a rearview camera.
But if you’re really on the hunt, try and get yourself the V6 Performance or Premium trim. Up to 318 ponies came standard at that level! That’s respectable power, but maybe not enough for you. If that’s the case, the mad lads at Chrysler have your luxury muscle car needs covered with the second generation Chrysler 300.
2011 – 2014 Chrysler 300 – HEMI-Powered Highway Bomber
I don’t know about you, but I love the look of this revamped flagship Chrysler sedan! It still carries some of its all-American retro design language from the first generation, but it looks reinvented, more contemporary, and way classier.
The 300 is a hefty, good looking, American-made, rear-wheel drive, comfy boat that you just need in your life. It actually looks sophisticated, and it’s the kind of cheap luxury you want to put all sorts of miles on! It’s like one of the few products Fiat-Chrysler of America actually got right.
The 300 Came in a number of trim models, like the 300C trim level with a 5.7-liter HEMI, or the SRT which came with a snarling 470 horsepower 6.4-liter HEMI that can rocket the 300 to highway speeds in the low 4 second range!
Of course, I would totally suggest any trim that your budget allows, but for trying to stay under $10,000, you can still pick up the HEMI-powered 300C for around $9,000! It may not have the insane horsepower of the SRT, but it still has a roomy interior lined with high-end materials and a ride that rivals any German sedan. So, it’ll make you feel rich on the cheap.
But, if you want to look rich, check out our list of the best cheap cars that’ll get you there! Well, that is if you don’t need the power, like 469 fire-breathing horsepower out of a German assault vehicle. That’s right, it’s time we injected a little power into this list… with the W211 E55 AMG.
2003 – 2009 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG – Big Body Benz, Baby
This Mercedes E55 is insanely fun with to-die-for good looks and a drivetrain that will hang with the best of them! Yes, this is a list of cheap luxury cars! So, you probably didn’t expect to see an E-Class on here, let alone an AMG version! But, our good friend depreciation has grabbed this super sedan by its cajones and just never let go!
For less than $9,000, you’re rolling in pure luxury with the highest horsepower unit on this list. And let a boy dream, because that engine is supercharged, so with just some simple pulleys and an ECU tune, this thing is straight up unstoppable.
Now, yes, this is an older ride, but when you compare it to the 2004ish A6 and the E60 5 Series, this Mercedes has held up extremely well against the competition. Just don’t get one of these babies if you don’t know your way around a torque wrench, if you know what I mean. You do not want to take an E55 to the dealership.
You may be saying to yourself, I can’t afford to keep an AMG running! Well then, concerned reader, maybe you want a more reasonable German highway bomber that won’t cost so much to maintain. Well, the BMW 5 Series is the definition of a high-end sports sedan, and it wouldn’t be a cheap luxury car list without it on here.
2011 – 2017 BMW 5 Series – The OG Luxury Sports Sedan
The 5 Series has the tried-and-true 3-liter inline-six beneath the hood of this land yacht, which puts out a pleasant 240 horsepower. Yeah, I agree, nothing to write home about. But the N52 is straight up bulletproof, and this large-and-in-charge sedan is a statement piece that will have your friends thinking you spent way over the four figures it takes to get into one of these.
We found a 2011 model for less than $8,000! Now, you might be tempted by the 535i with a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3-liter, or the range-topping 550i with a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 packing 400 horsepower. And I’m going to save you guys a lot of money… Just say no to either of those.
The 528i is the way to go on the 6th generation 5 Series. Choose the naturally-aspirated 3-liter powerplant and you’ll get all the perks of a classic luxury sedan that perfectly blends 7 Series luxury with 3 Series agility. Plus, you won’t get hit with major running costs the 535i or 550i. Sure, it isn’t going to blow the doors off of anyone, but it won’t blow the doors off your bank account either.
Okay, now, easily the 2nd most underrated vehicle on this list you can get for a steal. Yeah, it’s the 2nd because the most underrated is coming up in a bit.
2009 – 2014 Acura TL – The Reliable Choice
So, the 4th generation Acura TL is an often overlooked value in the luxury ride department, and I think we can chalk it up to some of the shortcomings it has in the looks department. But don’t judge a book by its cover, baby! As far as a budget luxury daily driver, the Acura TL is one tough cookie.
With its spacious seating for 5 and a trunk big enough for weekly Costco runs, it’s a top runner! The 4th generation TL is based off of the 8th generation Honda Accord. And if there’s a word synonymous with Honda, it’s reliability. So, finding a 2012 TL with under 100,000 miles for just $9,000 means it’s barely broken in and an incredible value.
Plus, the best thing about an Acura is that it’ll be surprisingly inexpensive to run given how premium it is. So, if Acura has never come up on your radar when thinking cheap luxury, think again! That is, if you don’t want the most underrated penny-pinching luxury you can buy.
2013 – 2016 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 – Korea’s Answer to Germany
Those Koreans have done it again. The 2nd generation Genesis sedan is an absolute force to be reckoned with. The Genesis makes a statement everywhere it goes. The designers at Hyundai really stepped it up for the Genesis. This looks more like a Maybach than a Sonata. Other than the Hyundai badge on the back and the slightly cheap interior trim, you’d have no idea this was a Korean budget sedan! Anyone on the street that doesn’t know anything about cars sees those sharp curves and just immediately assumes it’s a Euro luxury liner.
And the Genesis ain’t just a pretty face, the 3.8 comes packing over 300 horsepower out of its Lambda GDI V6. You’re sitting in heated seats, and in a cabin with more space than the Audi or BMW competition. Hyundai really has some marketing geniuses!
And why is this one of the best cars on the list? When the Genesis 3.8 went for sale brand new, it was a budget-friendly alternative to the German luxury rivals. But today? It’s a freaking steal! You can look good and right for around $7,000 with the Genesis 3.8! And better yet, you can even find some of the much more powerful R-Spec models floating around $10,000! Just do yourself a favor and do not even consider a 2012 R-Spec, they’re lemons!