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10 Best Used German Luxury Cars

10 Best Used German Luxury Cars

Our 10 best used German luxury cars will not be older than 2015 models, which means that some could be available through certified pre-owned (CPO) programs. This is good news, because the initial hit of depreciation already has happened to the first owner, but nothing has worn out yet (except for things like tires or brake pads, perhaps), and the warranty is almost as good as the one that comes with a brand-new car.

Buying a used German luxury car brings the possibility of finally reaching that particular level of prestige, or acquiring something larger and plusher than the budget could allow if buying new. Welcome to a rich world of German sophistication at much more reasonable prices.

BMW 5 Series

Our 10 best used German luxury cars will not be older than 2015 models, which means that some could be available through certified pre-owned (CPO) programs. This is good news, because the initial hit of depreciation already has happened to the first owner, but nothing has worn out yet (except for things like tires or brake pads, perhaps), and the warranty is almost as good as the one that comes with a brand-new car.

Buying a used German luxury car brings the possibility of finally reaching that particular level of prestige, or acquiring something larger and plusher than the budget could allow if buying new. Welcome to a rich world of German sophistication at much more reasonable prices.

Audi A8

The A8 is Audi’s flagship sedan. In this class, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class reigns supreme, which makes the A8 a more intriguing choice. Perhaps buyers at this level are naturally conservative, going with the three-pointed star instead of the four rings, but there’s nothing wrong with Audi’s large luxury sedan. Even the entry-level version comes with an adaptive air suspension, power-closing doors, a touchpad with handwriting recognition, and a 630-watt Bose surround-sound system.

We came across a 2015 model with all-wheel drive, a 3.0-liter V6, and just over 31,000 miles, selling for about $32,000. Considering it would have been close to $80,000 new, that’s a lot of car for the money.

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Here’s another dream car. There’s been a Mercedes-Benz SL since 1954. While some generations are debatably more attractive than others, there’s still an air of sophistication mixed with just enough hedonism for any version to come across as wildly desirable.

A 2015 SL is from the same generation as the 2019 model. It has a folding hard top, so here’s a convertible that can be used all year round, especially since heated seats also are standard. This is an exceptionally well-equipped car. The company also touts the SL as “the world’s safest convertible,” if anyone needs more convincing to buy one. While going through the online ads, we found several low-mileage 2015 SL400 cars all in the $50,000 range.

BMW 3 Series

The 3 Series really is one of the best cars available to people who aren’t in the top one percent wealth-wise. It’s a compact sedan with a wide streak of luxury and a respectable amount of driving attitude.

Our research brought up a 2015 328i (featuring 240 hp and rear-wheel drive) with less than 37,000 miles on the odometer offered for $17,000. That money wouldn’t even get a brand-new 2019 Kia Forte. And no disrespect to the Forte, but a BMW is on a whole different level. If anyone reading this hasn’t driven a BMW, try to remedy that situation ASAP. It really is how all cars (well, cars with this broad of an appeal) should drive.

Audi A6

An all-new generation of A6 midsize premium sedan debuts for the 2019 model year, but the outgoing model is still highly desirable. And not just because of its styling, although Audi’s approach to design means that its older cars are wearing the years well.

The A6 is sized just right, drives well (handling and ride quality both are excellent), and offers great equipment. It’s a highly accomplished all-rounder. We’ve seen a 2016 A6 in top Prestige trim, with all-wheel drive (known as Quattro in Audi’s jargon), a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, and only 18,000 miles on the odometer, for sale at approximately $35,000. Scout around and even more tempting buys could arise.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class really is one of the more perfect cars. It’s spacious, luxurious, offers lots of tech, drives really well, and has prestige dripping from its bumpers. For a status symbol that avoids being excessive, the E-Class is ideal. It also comes in coupe and open-topped (Cabriolet) form.

Buying used brings more opportunity to get one of the bigger engines. The E400, for example, has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 making 329 hp. Looking at advertisements for a 2016 E400 in the midsize sedan body style uncovered a sweet example with less than 16,000 miles on the odometer going for just under $41,000 from an authorized dealer. This model would have leather upholstery, navigation, and a Harman Kardon 14-speaker audio system as standard.

Porsche Panamera

The Porsche Panamera is not just one of the 10 best used German luxury cars, but one of the best cars, period. The second-generation Panamera debuted for 2017, so the first generation might be a better idea. Not everyone was crazy about this model’s looks, although the handy hatchback means access to a 44 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are folded.

It definitely has a “Porsche-ness” to its styling, and owners will spend most of their time inside a well-executed and highly appealing cabin. Once there’s an interesting stretch of road, any aesthetic misgivings will evaporate, since there’s also a high degree of “Porsche-ness” in the driving experience. Think in terms of $50,000.

BMW M3

Even though the choices mentioned so far are all wonderful, this is the first of our dream cars. An M3 is a high-performance version of the 3 Series sedan. And yes, it still qualifies as a luxury sedan because it isn’t harsh or sparse, but exceptional in virtually all ways.

If you and/or your significant other find the Porsche 911 sports car too firm and too small, the 425-hp M3 will be pretty much as satisfying to drive while also making life easier for your spine. Every car enthusiast should own an M3 at least once. Buying a used example makes that more possible. A budget of $45,000 could easily net a 2016 BMW M3 with low mileage.

Audi A7

Closely related to the A6 is the A7. We’re choosing this model as well because it has its own particular design. Its body incorporates a hatchback instead of a conventional trunk, bringing extra practicality to the premium midsize class. Luggage space behind the rear seats is a massive 24.5 cubic feet, accessed easily by a powered tailgate.

Yet all this usefulness doesn’t mean a boxy vehicle. Audi didn’t invent the “four-door coupe” (the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class did), but it took the idea and ran with it, culminating in the A7’s sleek proportions. The interior is similarly gorgeous, while the dynamics and engine selections all are top-notch. An A7 similarly equipped to the A6 we just mentioned would be about $5,000 pricier.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Traditionally the best-selling flagship sedan, the S-Class is the archetypal Mercedes. This is where attention to all the thousands of details becomes microscopic, even obsessive-compulsive, which is the kind of approach buyers will appreciate. The S-Class embodies engine power, computing power, technical prowess, luxury sensibilities, head-of-state space and grace, plus undeniable class.

Even the entry level S550 comes with an adaptive suspension, 12.3-inch infotainment display, heated wiper blades (see what we mean about attention to detail?), and a top-flight Burmeister surround-sound system. A 2016 S550 can be acquired for something in the region of $50,000. Admittedly, that’s still a hefty sum, but it says a lot about the car’s resale value.