Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Top 5: Big European luxury brands with little prices

I've been scouring the internet for a number of weeks now, picking out what I think are the best and most overlooked European cars you can buy in Australia. For me at least it has been both enlightening and immensely fun, but it got me thinking, how cheaply can you buy luxury motors that once upon a time had a price tag on the distant side of $100,000? Turns out quite cheaply, allow me to enlighten you a little more with a top 5 count down, god I love depreciation.

5. Range Rover 4.6 HSE

Coming in at number 5, the Range Rover. What car signifies countryside pomp and ceremony more than a Rangie? As comfortable cruising city streets as it is up to its axles in mud the Range Rover is potentially all the car you could ever need. That iconic British badge, a commanding high driving position and not to mention supreme comfort meant that back in the day Land Rover could charge you $114,500 for the privilege of owning one. Nowadays though you can comfortably pick up a good late 90's car for under $10,000.
Posh stone arch and gravel drive in the background, check

Admittedly the big lazy 4.6 litre V8 isn't going to break any land speed records, but it will make a wonderful burble and if you want it too pull your house down so you can build a new one more fitting to the Range Rover image, it'll do that too. I'd suggest installing some palatial pillars when you rebuild, the Queen has a Range after all!

4. Mercedes Benz S-Class (S320)

Expensive hotel in the background, check
Another icon of luxury travel comes in at number 4, the Mercedes Benz S-Class. A class leading car
since it's launch in 1979 the S pioneered things like pretensioning seat belts, airbags, ABS and a whole heap of other driver aids, not to mention massaging air conditioned seats. The W220 model was built from 1999 to 2006 with even the early cars getting the option of in car TV's, DVD player, in car phone and self leveling air suspension. Unsurprisingly when new in 1999 an S320 would have set you back a cool $170,300 but now these mobile Dick Smiths can be bought for under $15,000 

3. BMW 7 Series (735iL)

Opulent country house in the background, check
Remember when James Bond drove BMW's? He screeched a 7 Series around a car park in 1997's
Tomorrow Never Dies. It was quite possibly the shittest bond car ever, I mean a German limo with zero sex appeal for goodness sake, not very "shaken not stirred" is it. Anyway I digress, don't let that foray onto the big screen detract from what a excellent BMW the 7 Series is. You see for the non Bonds among us the understated 7 Series is potentially all the luxury one would ever need, with a little bit of legendary BMW driving dynamics thrown in for good measure. A wonderfully smooth 173kw V8 powered the 735i meaning, that if sir wanted, 0-100km/h could be dispatched in 7.9 seconds. The cost of Bonds BMW new? $172,500. Now one can be had for a little over $10,000

2. Jaguar XJR

In life there are villains, cads, playboys and generally people who, on the surface seem like chuffing ruddy nice blokes, but after dark get a little devious. These people have long been affiliated with Jaguars, or should I say, Jaaaaaags and I'm not going to argue. Number 2 on my countdown of bargain luxury is the Jag for villains who want to do the driving themselves, the Jaguar XJR. Perfectly suited for chasing any heroins sports car the XJR offers up 276kw of shove from a 4 litre supercharged V8 dispatching 100km/h in 5.3 seconds. Back in the day a villains unscrupulous activities would have had to net a profit of $178,000 to buy one, whereas now about $13,000 should do the trick.
Bad Ass powerslide for the Jag, check

1. Rolls Royce Silver Spur

There could really be only one conclusion to this run down of once expensive but now affordable luxury and that is a Rolls Royce. Quite simply a Rolls is the quintessential posh persons wheels, hand built and highly regarded as one of the best brands in the world. Sitting in one is akin to gliding along on a magic carpet, albeit with a bit more wood and a set of leather chairs thrown in for good measure. Powered by a 6.75 litre V8 engine designed to waft rather than set your trousers on fire a Silver Spur is surely the luxury bargain of the century. When new a Spur cost way more than an average house, $328,900 to be precise, but now, some 20 years later you can get one for about $35,000. A tempting prospect when you realise that Hyundai's new luxury Genesis saloon could cost you double that!
A ruddy big castle in the background, obviously!

Now go get one

Not content with just telling you this though, my blog wouldn't be complete if I hadn't done the hard work for you already. So here picked from Ebay, 5 real examples of my top 5. I'm not saying buy these exact cars, merely showing you whats out there after a quick search, plus these 5 won't stick around for sale forever anyway.
1998 Range Rover HSE, $8,500

1999 Mercedes Benz S320, $11,990

1998 BMW 735iL, $10,900

1998 Jaguar XJR, $12,950

1991 Rolls Royce Silver Spur, $37,000

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