Mar 28 2014, 3:08am CDT | by Forbes
Luxury cars these days have gotten so plush that automakers have really got to push to make their most high-priced wares seem special.
It’s not enough to have a dozen cup holders in your ride—now you need motorized cup holders like in the Cadillac CTS, or a full-on champagne cooler like in the Bentley Mulsanne. It’s not enough to have LED headlights and high-density fog lights like those available from Audi—now you need curve-sensitive headlights and a starlight headliner, like in the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Even the interior details, like the leather vents in the Porsche Panamera and granite trim options in the sport sedans at Mercedes-Benz, are flush with expensive textures and materials.
But there are plenty of models from premium and luxury brands that actually offer a decent value over long-term ownership. Vincentric estimates a market price on the Audi R8, for instance, of $151,700 to buy and $168,157 to own for five years. That is 12 percent less to own than the typically estimated cost, says David Wurster, the president of Vincentric. Similarly, the Jaguar XK costs $78,771 at market prices but roughly $108,000 to own over five years – about 8 percent less money than typical.
They join the BMW 3-Series Diesel, Mercedes E Class, and Lexus IS 250 on this year’s list of the luxury cars with the best value. It’s the annual group compiled by Vincentric to determine where the good deals are in the luxury sector—and what brands to avoid, since two vehicles can have the same purchase price but different ownership costs.
“There is increasing fragmentation of the US auto market,” Wurster says. “We expect this to continue.”
The bottom line? If you’re looking for a good deal on a nice car, keep diesel engines in general and Buick SUVs in particular on your short list. And remember, the vehicle with the lower ownership costs is a better value than the one having the higher ownership costs.
Behind the Numbers
To compile this list of the luxury cars with the best value, analysts at Vincentric measured the cost of ownership for 3,000 vehicle configurations. They calculated it by combining the costs over five years of depreciation, insurance, repairs, maintenance (scheduled and unscheduled), finance, fuel, taxes and state fees (including the federal hybrid tax credit), and opportunity costs. This creates the “measured” cost of ownership.
A vehicle’s “expected” cost of ownership is based on statistical models that correlate the price of a vehicle with cost of ownership within each of the segments. Any vehicle that falls above the average value is a better value than a vehicle that fall below the average value.
Vincentric uses this approach to rate each vehicle from excellent to poor on a five point scale, with a score of 5 being excellent. The scores are calculated based on the percentage difference between a vehicle’s “expected” cost of ownership and its “measured” cost of ownership.
Toyota, Audi, and Chevrolet earned awards for Best Value Passenger Car Brand, Best Value Luxury Brand, and Best Value Truck Brand respectively. Indeed, Audi is the luxury standout among its peers, with the Audi TT, Audi A7 TDI, Audi R8 and Audi Q5 TDI all making the cut.
Lexus as well showed strongly, with Lexus ES 350, the Lexus ES 300h and Lexus IS250 all providing above average value this year.
“The diesel-powered Audi models tend to have excellent fuel economy,” Wurster says. “We also observed that the Lexus vehicles have low maintenance and repair costs. But a strength that the winning vehicles from both brands have in common is excellent resale value which results in relatively low depreciation.”
Click through the slideshow to see the rest of the list.
Source: Forbes Auto
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