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You’ve probably heard enthusiasts tout adages like “life’s too short to drive a boring car” while referring to their luxury vehicle or sports car treasure. Well, as tired as that expression might be, they’re not wrong. While cheap luxury cars seem like a bit of a gamble, they have the potential to add some posh refinement to your daily driving grind. Wallet-friendly used luxury cars like the 2015 Lexus ES 350 and the 2018 Lincoln MKZ have the potential to deliver for under $20,000. 

These cheap luxury cars marry opulence with affordability in 2023

Just because your budget doesn’t cover the swollen starting prices of new luxury cars doesn’t mean you can’t get a used option. These used luxury car options all come in under the $20,000 price point without compromising class and panache. 

Make and modelFair purchase price
2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550 4Matic$17,058
2015 Lexus ES 350$16,831
2015 BMW 750i$17,811
2015 Audi A8 3.0T$17,942
2018 Lincoln MKZ$18,411

How much is a 2013 S 550 worth?

A 2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550 4Matic has a fair purchase price of $17,058, per Kelley Blue Book (KBB). That’s great news for fans of the nameplate, a mainstay in the cheap luxury car space. Better yet, the S-Class model employs 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) for multiplied traction in treacherous conditions. 

Of course, the premier Mercedes-Benz used luxury car model may require a larger budget to maintain. According to RepairPal, a 2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550 has an annual repair cost of about $1,272, a steep ask compared to more sensible cars like a used Toyota Avalon. Moreover, some pricier fixes, like a replacement cylinder head, could cost nearly $5,000. Still, the S-Class is one of the last words in class and refinement. 

Is the 2015 Lexus ES 350 reliable?

A 2015 Lexus ES 350, a cheap luxury car, sits in a park.
2015 Lexus ES 350 | Toyota

A 2015 Lexus ES 350 is much cheaper to maintain than a similarly aged Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 750Li. Specifically, the 2015 Lexus ES 350 got a 4.0 out of 5.0 for reliability and an annual repair cost of $534, better than average on both accounts. 

Moreover, at $16,831, the 2015 model’s fair purchase price makes it a bargain among cheap, used luxury cars. Furthermore, fans with a mind for fuel economy savings can opt for the ES 300h, a hybrid ES platform with as much as 40 mpg combined. 

Is a 2015 BMW 750i a worthwhile cheap luxury car?

The 2015 BMW 750i, a long-body luxury car from the fifth-generation (F01) 7 Series lineup, is a luxury car bargain. With a fair purchase price of $17,811, it’s tough to top the V8-powered Bavarian.

Of course, the 750i won’t save you any money in running costs; the big Bimmer has an annual repair cost of around $1,055. Still, the 7 Series could be a budget-friendly bargain if you can afford to treat it right. After all, the 7 Series was good enough for James Bond in the 1997 film “Tomorrow Never Dies.” If it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for your luxury car lifestyle.   

What is a 2015 Audi A8 worth?

A 2015 Audi A8 3.0T has a fair value of $17,942, per KBB. Still, the third-gen A8 model is a better bet regarding running costs than some of its countrymen; the A8 has an average annual maintenance cost of $731, around $541 less than a used 2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550.

What’s more, the Audi packs the marque’s trusted and tenured AWD grip. As a result, the used A8 is a cheap luxury car ally in inclement weather. Furthermore, fans who want longer legs on their understated Audi sedan can opt for the A8L, which adds a bit over five inches to the standard A8.

How much does a 2018 Lincoln MKZ cost?

A white CD4 Lincoln MKZ luxury car from 2018, 2019, or 2020 cruises down a city street.
Lincoln MKZ | Ford Media

An oft-overlooked presence in the cheap midsize luxury car market, the Lincoln MKZ silently slipped out of production in 2020. However, a used model has the potential to be a bargain; the 2018 Lincoln MKZ is worth $18,411, depending on factors like location, mileage, and condition.

Moreover, while the MKZ might not be as opulent as some wine-and-cheese rivals, it’s a well-equipped sedan with an optional 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine and AWD.

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