The Best Used Luxury Cars Under $10,000
Your soul craves luxury. Heated leather seats, wood-grain trim, rich sound, power everything…
Your brain says, “Nope. You can’t afford a luxury car. You can barely afford lunch!”
This year, give your heart what it wants — and your brain, too. It’s entirely possible to find a reliable used luxury car under $10,000, which is well below the sticker price of a new subcompact. Of course, there are trade-offs to buying an older luxury car. You won’t get the technology and safety features that newer, cheaper cars have. And luxury cars are notoriously expensive to repair. Still, if you find one you love, we say go for it.
Here are five of our top picks for the best used luxury cars under $10,000.
1. 2009 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro
- Great gas mileage (21 city/27 highway mpg)
- Turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive
- MSRP when new: $33,525
We’ve always loved Audi’s sleek styling, and the A4 charms us with its smooth ride and its poise. Edmunds’ reviewers didn’t care for the “needlessly complex” Audi Drive Select system, which requires the driver to pick Comfort, Auto, Dynamic or customized driving modes, but overall, the A4 is a great luxury car. When you’re shopping for an A4 under $10,000, you may get lucky and find one with sweet options, like cruise control with distance pacing, dual-zone A/C or heated seats. The convertible A4’s available under $10K too, but is harder to find.
2. 2008 BMW 3-Series
- Tons of options for models and trims
- High marks for safety and stability control
- Base MSRP when new: $34,445
The BMW 3-Series is perennially one of the top-selling luxury cars in the U.S., and for good reason: It’s just fun to drive. Car and Driver called the 2008 3-Series “almost flawless. It is the best to drive in its class—fast, fairly fuel efficient, smooth riding, and roomy.” There are lots of model options, too: convertible, coupe, wagon or sedan, plus manual or automatic.
Confused by BMW’s numerical names? The numbers stand for liters of displacement, aka engine size: the 325 has a 2.5L engine, while the 328 has a 2.8L engine. X means all-wheel drive, and i means fuel injection.
3. 2008 Lexus ES 350
- 5L V-6 engine
- Power sunroof, windows and mirrors
- MSRP when new: $34,585
The Lexus ES 350 is what you want to drive on a long, lonely road trip. The seats are cushy, the ride is smooth and the cabin’s quiet. This sedan is notable for its “quietly stylish good looks, loads of technology, a posh interior, and an exceptionally serene driving experience,” Car and Driver said when it came out. It’s not exactly sporty, but the ES 350 does have luxury touches like walnut wood trim, remote power locks and power heated mirrors. For overall quality, it’s one of our favorite luxury cars under $10k.
4. 2010 Lincoln MKZ
- 3.5L, V6 power in a refreshed design
- Sync multimedia integration system and THX stereo
- MSRP when new: $34,965
A luxury sled built on the body of a souped-up Ford Fusion, the MKZ is Lincoln’s best-selling model for good reason. The MKZ has something going for it that many foreign cars don’t: reasonable maintenance and repair costs. That’s the upside of being born and bred from the Ford brand. The 2010 MKZ comes with a long list of upmarket features: alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated and cooled front seats. While it may have close to 100,000 miles on the odometer, a 2010 Lincoln MKZ under $10,000 isn’t hard to find.
5. 2002 Mercedes-Benz S-Series
- 3L V8 to a 5.8L V12 engine
- Heated seats and quad-zone climate control
- MSRP when new: $71,850-$115,200
While you can find newer Mercedes C-Series for under $10,000, the S-Series is our top pick for pure luxury and power. The S600, in particular, is “a luxobarge that massages your back and roasts the rear tires at 50 mph as if it was its civic duty to do so,” Jalopnik blogger Freddy Hernandez writes in his love letter to a 2003 S600. This is a car you can easily drive for decades — many people do, and they say it still purrs like the day they bought it. That’s why the S-Series crowns our list of the best used luxury cars under $10,000.
Used Luxury Car Insurance
Auto insurance on used luxury cars typically isn’t cheap. Neither are repairs, especially for foreign models. Parts for these cars — specifically body parts, headlights, and other external parts that are likely to be damaged in any sort of collision — are also expensive to replace, which is why insurance claims will be more expensive. Factor this into your overall budget. Before you buy, get fast, free car insurance quotes with Compare.com to ensure that you’re not paying too much for insurance.