How Much Does It Cost To Maintain a Luxury Car

BMW X6 luxury car suv
UWE FISCHER / BMW

Buying a luxury car is only the first expense associated with riding in style. The cost of owning and maintaining a high-end vehicle can easily tack on five figures more over the course of a decade.

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If you’re thinking about getting behind the wheel of an Audi, Porsche, BMW, Bentley or anything else with a prestige nameplate, make sure you have the cash not just to buy it, but to maintain it over time.

Plan For Lots of Visits to the Gas Station

Luxury cars, particularly exotic cars, are notorious for lousy fuel economy. According to The Auto Sunday, luxury cars have bigger, heavier, more powerful engines than regular sedans, which require more fuel to accelerate. They also have lower gear ratios, which also makes the car require more fuel to use. All of that paired with a poor aerodynamic design, and you’ve got a recipe for a car with low fuel efficiency. It’s not just the amount of fuel that luxury cars burn, but the type — high-end cars are most fuel efficient when given premium gas. So, just how bad are the cars with the worst fuel efficiency?

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Here’s a look at the worst performers on the road, according to Car and Driver:

  • Mercedes-AMG GLA45 4Matic: 23 mpg
  • Bentley Continental GT and convertible: 15 mpg
  • Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Phantom, Ghost, Wraith and Dawn: 14 mpg
  • Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 14 mpg
  • Lamborghini Aventador coupe and roadster: 10 mpg
  • Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport: 10 mpg

Those vehicles, however, are outliers — even most rich people aren’t commuting in Rollses, Bentleys, Bugattis and Lamborghinis. According to CarFax, these are currently the most fuel-efficient luxury vehicles:

  • Lexus ES Hybrid: 44 mpg
  • Lexus UX Hybrid: 42 mpg
  • Audi A3: 32 mpg
  • BMW 3 Series: 30 mpg
  • Volvo S60: 30 mpg

Luxury Cars Pose More Risk to Insurance Companies, and That’ll Cost You

According to insurance comparison site The Zebra, luxury cars cost more to insure because they cost more to purchase and maintain. The site compared nine of the most popular luxury cars from Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. The results showed that premiums for luxury cars cost an average of 18% more than the cost of insuring a moderately priced sedan.

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According to Progressive, luxury cars also cost more to insure because they have a higher risk of theft and higher crash rates.

So, Including Maintenance and Repairs, What’s the Cost of Ownership

Luxury cars are more costly to fix and maintain because they’re made from expensive premium materials that can sometimes be hard to find. They can even have tech that requires specialty training to work on or repair. All of that plus expensive specialized needs like synthetic motor oil and premium tires makes for much pricier long-term ownership costs. According to Policy Genius, it costs $792 per year to maintain a typical new car for a 10-year maintenance cost of $7,920 — but high-end cars aren’t typical.

CarEdge recently ranked the most popular luxury brands by their average 10-year maintenance cost, which includes maintenance schedules, predicted probability of repairs and expected costs per year. Excluding Tesla, which makes only EVs, here’s the average 10-year maintenance cost among the most popular luxury brands, in order of least expensive to most expensive:

  • Lexus: $7,786
  • Acura: $10,730
  • Infiniti: $11,830
  • Lincoln: $12,099
  • Audi: $13,222
  • Cadillac: $13,406
  • Volvo: $13,513
  • Mercedes-Benz: $15,986
  • Jaguar: $17,636
  • Land Rover: $18,569
  • BMW: $19,312
  • Porsche: $22,075
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As a Parting Gift, Luxury Cars Depreciate More Quickly

High-end vehicles tend to lose their value more quickly and more dramatically than ordinary cars. According to Garage Dreams, luxury vehicles typically take the biggest hit the moment they leave the showroom. Because those who can afford new luxury cars usually want the newest model, they tend to replace them for the latest more frequently than average. This ensures a steady supply of low-mileage luxury vehicles to the used market, which increases supply and lowers the average price.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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