We understand manual-shift cars aren’t for everyone. Automatic transmissions, after all, have their place in the world of sports cars as well. Automatics are faster at shifting than human beings. For the driver who just wants to focus on the road and not worry about the rev range, or the arcane nearly-vanished idea of operating three pedals like a neanderthal, nothing beats an automatic. Sometimes there’s nothing better than sinking into your Mercedes-Benz after a long day and hitting that throttle to nirvana. That experience is just $10,000 or less away. Here are some of the best automatic luxury sports sedans under $10,000 that can give you some perspective.
2001 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG: comfortable, smooth luxury sports sedan
Though it’s a massive presence on the road, the “AMG” tag on the back of the 2001 Mercedes-Benz S55 spells performance. Thanks to Mercedes-Benz depreciation, this AMG makes the list. Equipped with a 350-hp 5.5-liter V8, the S55 AMG cruises with ease and handles with tight precision. The car doesn’t let up under full throttle, and it’s up to the driver to stop the onslaught of power. Though it looks big, it turns like the luxury sports sedan it is and can easily canyon carve. Just be sure not to fall asleep in the plush leather seats while you’re driving.
2010 Lexus IS 250 is slow but has a lot to offer
Though not quite as sporty as the IS300, the IS250 is more affordable and still packs a punch. It uses a 204-hp 2.5-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which helps deliver power to the rear wheels, or all four wheels if you prefer. The front sports a suitably luxurious interior, while the back seats are reportedly a bit cramped, according to U.S. News. Lexus leather never disappoints, and the front seats are as comfortable as ever. This, combined with the transmission’s smooth shifting and easy acceleration, make the IS 250 a pleasurable luxury sports sedan to drive.
2009 Jaguar XF SC: the most powerful luxury sports sedan on this list
In the same luxury sports sedan weight class as the Mercedes is the Jaguar XF, and with a supercharger it produces a lot more power. Under the hood lays a 4.2-liter V8 pumping out 420 horsepower to massive rear tires. It grips and hops around like a sports car while providing a warm and comforting interior, almost like being in a log cabin on Christmas morning. Power is immediate, and if you’re not on your toes, the XF may take advantage. Never fear with the 285mm rear tires at your beckoned call. The one drawback seems to be the electrical system, but as long as you can find one that’s been meticulously cared for, it should have those bugs worked out.
It’s a toss-up between the Mercedes and the Jaguar
As with any luxury sports sedan, you’ll have to consider things like gas mileage, which isn’t great, and insurance, which can be expensive. Maintenance and repairs can surprise you, so be ready for that as well. With that in mind, we say go with either the Mercedes or the Jaguar. The Lexus is smaller and more realistic, but you’ll want that passing power, and its drivetrain won’t be any more reliable than the Mercedes. If you have lots of money for repairs and maintenance, the Jaguar’s power is hard to pass up.