Luxury cars are among the most popular vehicles on the road today, with more and more automakers delving into the world of premium commuters. While these cars cost a lot more to purchase than regular models, they do not hold their value very well – often dipping well below the price of lesser and more reliable models.
Thirty years ago, luxury cars were mostly reserved for the wealthy as these cars featured big, powerful engines and interiors adorned with soft leathers, veneered wood inlays, and solid chrome switches. In between global economic recessions, the luxury car gains popularity and gets more outlandish to the point where we have a Bentley which features solid gold controls and Rolls-Royces inspired by luxury yachts of the 1960s. While these types of cars cost in the millions of Dollars, there are more affordable luxury sedans that offer most of the same comforts but for around $150,000. Sadly, these cars usually have reliability issues and the extra technology and luxuries cost a small fortune to fix when they break, which means the cars’ values plummet as soon as they are driven off the showroom floor.
Luxury sedans offer all the same practicality as regular family sedans but with added comforts and technology – meaning more things can go wrong – leading to a loss of value. Here are ten luxury sedans that depreciate faster than water tumbling down a waterfall.
10 Audi A8 – 52%
The Audi A8 is the German company’s largest and most opulent sedan. It is designed and built to go up against the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the luxury sedan segment but places third out of the three. The A8 is a good compromise between the BMW and Mercedes-Benz, offering great performance along with smooth luxury.
Since the A8 is the top-of-the-line vehicle within the Audi hierarchy, it has technologies from all its other models, including some unique aspects making the A8 special. These extra features are cool when new, but may cause issues down the line, which results in the A8 losing half its value after five years of ownership.
Related: This Is What Makes The Audi A8 An Understated, But Refined Luxury Sedan
9 Mercedes-Benz S-Class – 46%
Like the Audi A8, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is in the high-end luxury segment and is arguably the best of the lot – below the likes of the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Ghost. The S-Class is the standard for ‘regular’ luxury, featuring exciting new technologies and engineering.
Sadly, while the S-Class innovates and inspires, it isn’t really an investment for the future. The S-Class loses about 46% of its value over five years, reducing it to the price of a new C-Class. Granted, the car will last longer than five years, but the service plan runs out then – potentially leaving the owner with a large bill when something goes wrong.
8 BMW 7-Series – 53%
The BMW 7 Series is in the same boat as the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class but offers better performance and a nicer driving experience. Where the A8 and S-Class are made to be chauffeured in, the 7 Series wants to be driven – especially the last generation’s M760Li V12.
The current 7 Series is a bit too new to calculate the depreciation just yet, but its predecessor didn’t do all that well – mostly due to the expenses when the service plan runs out and the fact that many believe that the design won’t age very well in the long run. Still, the 7 Series is a great choice for a luxury sedan – even with the maintenance costs.
7 Audi A7 – 49%
The Audi A7 is the sportier-looking version of the A6 sedan but with a more coupe-like ‘Sportback’ body style. Underneath, the A7 is identical to the A6, featuring the same V6 and V8 engines and drivetrains. Unfortunately, while the A7 looks fantastic, the good looks turn out to be its downfall.
Where the A6 is a practical family sedan, the A7 sacrifices rear headroom for style, leading to less useful rear seats and a smaller and less convenient trunk. This style-over-substance approach results in a 49% depreciation over five years. Not all that great for the German manufacturers thus far.
6 Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 45%
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the mid-size sedan from the Three-Pointed Star and is usually the better rounded-off vehicle in the line-up. The E-Class features all the practicality of a C-Class with the added luxury features of an S-Class – probably why Germany has been using E-Class models as their taxicabs of choice for the last few decades.
Even though the E-Class is a great blend, it still isn’t perfect. The current E-Class is brilliant, but the previous generation suffered from reliability issues. The new E-Class has already been announced, and it will have a lot more in common with the EQE rather than the S-Class, which is a shame. Due to these reasons, the E-Class loses around 45% of its value over five years.
Related: 10 Awesome Features In The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
5 Jaguar XF – 50%
The Jaguar XF is currently still on sale in the US; however, it has been discontinued in many other countries, as Jaguar is busy working on a fully electric replacement. The XF is a sedan that helped Jaguar out of a financial slump as it offered all the same things a BMW 5-Series did, but at a lower price and with better styling.
As such, the XF loses around 50% value over five years, making it not that bad of a new car to purchase. Sadly, the only engine options left are a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder as Jaguar discontinued the supercharged V6 and the V8-powered XFR. Still, the XF is a really good-looking car that will hopefully continue on in electric form, rather than be replaced with an SUV.
4 Porsche Panamera – 46%
The Porsche Panamera didn’t have the best of debuts when the original model arrived on the market in 2009. The car resembled the 911 on which it was modeled but had disproportionate features and was too ugly for most gearheads. Luckily, the second-generation fixed all these issues and the Panamera is now one of the best sports sedans on the market.
With the Panamera being a Porsche, it holds on to its value quite well in the short-term but loses around 46% over five years. This figure counts all the way from the cheapest V6 to the most expensive Turbo S E-Hybrid. The top-spec Panamera is great, but the Audi RS6 and RS7 are still cooler – even though the Audis and Porsche are based on the same platform.
3 Audi A6 – 46%
The Audi A6 is the main competitor to the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Unlike the BMW or Mercedes, the A6 is based on a front-drive platform, meaning the lower-end models get front-wheel drive as standard – as opposed to the famous Quattro system. 2023 is also the last year when the A6 will remain the ‘A6’, as Audi’s new naming system will change it to the A7 in 2024.
Still, the A6 is a really good car. It loses around 46% over five years, which is 1% more than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and around the same as the BMW 5-Series over the same period. The A6 also benefits in the colder areas of the world as the models usually come with the Quattro system, aiding in snowy and icy conditions.
2 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 37%
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is to the E-Class like the Audi A7 is to the A6, but strangely, the depreciation is the opposite. In this case, the coupe-like sedan that puts style over practicality depreciates less than the practical, family-orientated sedan. How weird?
The CLS-Class only loses around 37% over five years, which is 8% better than the E-Class. Granted, the CLS is much more expensive for less use, but it is still a confusing statistic. That being said, the CLS is a really good-looking car, with the previous generation’s CLS Shooting Brake taking the cake for the best-looking German estate of the last decade.
Related: How Reliable Is A 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG
1 Tesla Model S – 35%
Coming in with around 35% depreciation over five years is, of course, the Tesla Model S. The Model S is responsible for bringing the viable electric car to the masses and even today is a popular model for anyone looking to buy a sporty and slightly luxurious sedan. While the updated Model S is not yet five years old, the unrefreshed version is still a great choice – even with the battery degradation.
The reason why the Model S only loses around a third of its value is because of Tesla’s massive stock value, which is far more than Toyota’s or VW’s. This keeps their current and past cars’ value up – even if the past models’ build quality wasn’t exactly the best. It is quite weird that a car like the Model S has a better resale value than one of the German manufacturer’s creations – sporting decades more experience and expertise.