Luxury used cars available for the price of a Tesla Model 3
By now, there’s a good chance you’re aware of the hype surrounding the Tesla Model 3. The hotly-anticipated electric saloon has been in the works for years, and has been available globally for a bit of time now — and it looks set to finally arrive on UK shores later this year.
Sure, most will be looking at it for its impressive electric range — but others may be thinking about the abundance of tech and features Tesla tends to pack into its cars. What if you don’t want to wait though?
Well, for the £27,000 the Model 3 is available from in the US (although after import fees, taxes and other bits and bobs it’s likely to be higher here), the used market can provide you with some of the best lightly used luxury cars around. Here’s what we found...
Mercedes S Class
It doesn’t really get much more luxurious than a Mercedes S-Class, does it? These models are traditionally a technological tour de force, debuting features that tend to be at least 5-10 years ahead of the norm. With all this tech on board, you might wonder if the S-Class can still offer the basics - a cosseting ride, superb interior and smooth engine. Luckily, it can. They’re absolute bargains on the used market, but all those electronics can be temperamental, so do make sure you’re buying from someone reputable.
BMW 7 Series
There are few cars quite as synonymous with both prestige and dynamic driving as the BMW 7 Series. Historically it’s always managed to toe the line between a high-end, luxurious barge and a sporty driving saloon well - and the 2012 model is no different. Though this generation of 7 may have been one of the least impressive visually, it still delivered when it came to in-car tech and performance.
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit
Why have a cutting-edge electric car when you could have yourself a slab of fine, handcrafted British motoring royalty? Running costs aside, the 1994 Silver Spirit showcases an attention to detail that you’ll struggle to find on even modern luxury cars, and its postcode-sized grille will be hard to miss at all occasions.
If you want a sporty saloon with good driving dynamics and a premium badge, then you’ll likely be tempted by a BMW. However, if you’re after a car with the famous blue and white badge, but with a touch more performance, then there’s Alpina. In particular the 2014 D5 stands out for this list; it offers breathtaking performance but with an understated design to keep you flying under the radar.
Coming up alongside the Mercedes S-Class and the BMW 7 Series in the luxo-saloon segment is Audi’s A8. Available with a variety of engines it may not be the most exciting of cars, but it delivers when it comes to outright comfort and build quality, too. The 2015 model showcased a new, sharper look - and a grille the size of a county.
There’s always a sense that the owner of a big Jaguar is a good sort. Though the brand doesn’t really compete with its German rivals in some areas, there’s a certain class about the XJ that makes it ideal for those who want to stand out a bit from the norm. They’re also brilliant to drive, especially if you opt for one of the V8 petrol models.
Alright, so you’ve probably never heard of the Hyundai Genesis. Why would you? After all, the ever-reliable HowManyLeft will tell you just 47 of them are registered on UK roads. It was Hyundai’s ill-fated attempt to establish itself as a luxury brand and was swiftly brushed under the rug. The thing is though, it has all the hallmarks of a real luxury car — bags of kit, premium materials everywhere in the cabin and something of a ‘I’m better than you’ style direction. Unlike German rivals, it’s unlikely to break down anytime soon as well.
Okay, so Infiniti may be a forgotten player in the UK market, even to the point where it will soon be exiting the European scene altogether, having failed to gain traction in a hotly-contested luxury segment. The result of that though is there’s some pretty new and interesting cars to be had on the cheap — and here’s where the Q60 steps in. Based on bulletproof Nissan internals, the Q60 provides a stylish look and one that’s going to stand out on the road. It’s far from the best equipped on this list, but it is the newest — with examples as recent as 2018 with comfortably less than 10,000 miles on the clock available within budget.
When Lexus entered the luxury car market in the ‘90s, it did so in a uniquely Japanese way. By admitting that it couldn’t match European brands for heritage or dynamics, it concentrated on building cars as beautifully as possible. The results speak for themselves, and you can find Lexuses tooling around very happily with hundreds of thousands of miles on the clock. This LS460 does somewhat fly under the radar, but many will like that - and its creamy smooth V8 is well worth the money.
Wait, a Volkswagen? VW isn’t known for its luxury vehicles, but remember, it does own Porsche, Audi and Bentley - so it’s got the technical know-how to make one work. The Phaeton was just such a car. With the underpinnings — and engine — from a Bentley Continental, this beast of a car was the ultimate in understated luxury. After all, the truly classy don’t need to shout about their wealth. V6 diesel models make the most sense today, but it could prove difficult to avoid the lure of a W12 petrol...