The very idea of affordable luxury may seem absurd to some, with luxury often being defined by how much you’re willing to spend on something, like some sort of spending contest.
In reality, and at least in the automotive world, affordable luxury does exist. Luxury cars depreciate so severely that there are usually a lot of good deals to be had, especially among less popular brands. The old adage still rings true, however, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So with that in mind, it becomes increasingly important to eliminate a few models right away in your quest for affordable luxury, although they may be tempting, avoid these cars like the plague.
8 Range Rover
The first generation is actually an excellent off-roader, the new models have become almost infamous, but people rarely talk about the ultra-luxurious second generation. We say ultra-luxurious because of its difference from the original Range Rover.
It was clearly targeting the already growing luxury SUV market, but quickly became a bit of a nightmare. Wiring issues are common in part thanks to the addition of so many new technologies, and if these gremlins somehow get into the antiquated immobilizer system, the vehicle will be brought out of control. Air suspension is another problem, maintaining or replacing suspension components is an expensive process.
seven BMW 520i (E34)
In many ways, BMW has fallen victim to its own success with this particular 5 Series. Their corresponding 3 Series was doing well, and the small-displacement I-6 seemed like a good choice for an entry-level 5 Series.
That’s where the problem lies, an entry-level frame. While we certainly didn’t all want a luxury car that drives like a sports car, it was way too anemic even in the ’90s, today it’s just plain slow.
6 Chrysler TC by Maserati
Sadly, it surprised thousands of buyers when it was first sold it was marketed as an Italian luxury brand when in reality all they did was put lipstick on a pig.
While it looks oddly like a dolled up LeBaron, it was truly built in Italy, and the thing has all the shoddy wiring and workmanship that their market is associated with. After dreaming of creating the best of both convertible worlds, they ended up taking the worst of every business and bundling it into a sorry excuse for a car.
5 Maserati Biturbo
Many of us dream of someday owning a Maserati, all aware of their weaknesses and potential pitfalls. We strongly advise against the Biturbo however.
This was done while the business was on the rocks, so they desperately tried to save money in just about every department to hit their target price. Once it finally hit the market, instead of being the Maserati for the masses, it was just another poorly built production car with almost no sign of that desirable Italian luxury.
4 BMW 740i (F01)
Not to be confused with the older V8 740, which is actually a very good argument for affordable luxury. It was the N54 inline-6 that you would otherwise find in the 335i.
It is one of the most infamous modern BMW engines, with vanos solenoid failures, high pressure pump failures, and a host of other problems all rolled into one unfortunate engine. This powertrain has no place in a Series 7, so if it’s cheap, be prepared for a wild maintenance race.
3 Maserati Ghibli
Under the watchful eye of a newly reinvigorated Ferrari, much was expected of the Ghibli. They definitely have the right design, and if you’re lucky enough to sit in one, that looks like the real deal, too.
Unfortunately, once the rubber meets the road, you’ll find out the hard way why the car is so affordable in the used market. Ferrari maintenance bills are to be expected, but it is their failure rate that is so alarming. Most of the issues are with the wiring and there are a few callbacks, so a bargain at half the price could turn into lemon overnight.
2 BMW M5 (E60)
This is where the luxury sedan meets the supercar, the V10 that accompanied this 5 series produced incredible power and even more incredible sound.
Sadly, the one and only reason they’re cheap now is because of this supercar engine, which ironically won the Engine of the Year award in 2005. It has become a big sore point for BMW as their Ball bearings have given in under warranty, costing them dear and unlucky customers a fortune.
1 Porsche Cayenne
When the Volkswagen Group invested in this platform, it was one of, if not the Most advanced SUV when it was released. Wiring was by far the biggest issue with these SUVs, there were so many of them and they had to tuck a lot of the harness into the frame.
As vehicles aged and wiring deteriorated, they became a maintenance nightmare where one fault code only replaced another, baffling even the most experienced technicians.
Luxury cars usually cost a lot of money, but some are quite affordable. However, what is the best of these inexpensive vehicles?
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