Used luxury sedans suffer from some of the harshest depreciation on the automotive market, with high end models in particular often seeing their values slashed by as much as 50 percent when it comes time to sell. Of course, this is excellent news for anyone searching for an affordable second-hand premium car, as lease returns and trade-ins contribute to a healthy supply of inexpensive used luxury vehicles to be found at dealerships across the country.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best used luxury sedans and what makes them stand out from the rest of the premium pack.
01 - Lexus LS
The Lexus LS is the Japanese brand's full-size flagship, and it also happens to be one of the most reliable used luxury sedans available. The Lexus LS is packed with technology and can be found in both regular and extended wheelbase models, with the latter catering towards those who prefer to be driven rather than drive themselves. All recent versions of the LS are motivated by a 380 horsepower V-8 engine, and the car also features one of the first eight-speed automatic transmissions to be offered on a production vehicle. All-wheel drive can also be found with certain used Lexus LS models.
02 - Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid made waves when it first debuted due to the fact that it provides exceptional fuel economy without asking luxury sedan buyers to sacrifice any comfort or style. The mid-size Lincoln MKZ Hybrid provides an exceptional EPA rating of 41-mpg in city driving and 36-mpg on the highway, figures that are made possible through the use of a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gas engine that combines with an electric motor to produce 191 horsepower. Standard gear found with the MKZ Hybrid includes heated and cooled leather seats, dual automatic climate control, and the SYNC vehicle interface. Features such as navigation and a sunroof also available on the used market.
03 - Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has soldiered on for years as a popular mid-size premium sedan choice, and as such the used market is virtually flooded with low-mileage examples. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class provides used luxury sedan shoppers with a number of choices that they won't find in other brands, including a diesel engine (E350 BlueTEC), all-wheel drive (4MATIC), and a high performance model (E63 AMG). Our pick of the group from a value perspective is the E350, which delivers all of the Mercedes-Benz features one expects backed by a 302 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission.
04 - BMW 7 Series
The BMW 7 Series is another full-size luxury sedan that makes for a bargain buy as a used car. The BMW 7 Series is best purchased with a CPO warranty, as it is a technologically complex vehicle, but it's also one of the most rewarding to drive despite its size and weight. The 7 Series' engaging chassis is supported by a range of nicely-tuned engines, including a 315 horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder, a 400 horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, and even a twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 that is good for 535 horses. A six-speed automatic transmission shifts all three engines, while all-wheel drive can be had with the V-8. From a maintenance perspective, sticking to the six will net you more reasonable repair costs, but for sheer land yacht status there's nothing quite like a V-12.
05 - Acura TSX
The Acura TSX is an often-overlooked luxury sedan, one that serves as an entry-level four-door that provides above-average handling in its segment. Like most Acuras, gizmos such as advanced audio and navigation features are a big part of the appeal, but the car also delivers two distinct driving experiences depending on which model is purchased. Opting to find a base 2.4-liter, four-cylinder version of the Acura TSX with its available six-speed manual transmission is the best way to sample the car's 201 horsepower mill. For those seeking a more refined ride, the 280 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 that comes in higher trim levels of the sedan is a better bet (as is its five-speed automatic transmission).
06 - Cadillac CTS
The Cadillac CTS was a game-changer for the domestic brand when it was first introduced, and more recent used models continue to fight the good fight for the dollars of luxury shoppers. The Cadillac CTS provides a chassis that is willing to mix it up in the corners, and it can also be had with all-wheel drive to help drivers deal with slick winter roads. Although the 556 horsepower supercharged V-8 found in the CTS-V gets a lot of press, it's the pair of V-6 engines available in the standard CTS that you will encounter on a far more regular basis during your used luxury sedan search. These 270 (3.0-liter) and 306 (3.6-liter) horsepower units can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, and they post the same fuel economy (18-mpg city / 27-mpg highway), which means you won't have to choose between efficiency and speed.
07 - Jaguar XF
The Jaguar XF has slowly worked its way into the best used luxury sedan conversation thanks to its combination of avant-garde looks and its ability to skillfully mix performance with traditional British comfort. The Jaguar XF also offers the chance to stand out from the rest of the premium Euro crowd, which tends to draw heavily from Germany. Like most of the Jaguar fleet, power is derived from either a naturally-aspirated (385 horses) or supercharged (470 ponies) 5.0-liter V-8, with a 510 horsepower version of this engine also on offer in the XFR. Expect a six-speed automatic transmission in each version of the car that you find for sale, as well as the potential for a heated steering wheel, elegant wood trim, heated and cooled leather seats, and a surround sound audio system.
08 - Volvo S60
The Volvo S60 is another outlier in the used luxury sedan category, and one that has helped the Swedish automaker dispel its reputation as the builder of safe but staid automobiles. Finding a car with the Technology package ensures that your Volvo S60 will come with all of the brand's advanced safety gear, including a pedestrian detection system, a collision warning feature, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. On the fun side of the equation is the T6 trim - the most prevalent Volvo S60 model - that makes use of a turbocharged 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine that is capable of producing 300 horsepower. All-wheel drive makes for excellent all-weather traction for the S60 T6, while a six-speed autobox handles the gear shifting duties.
09 - Audi A6
The Audi A6 doesn't enjoy the same cachet as competitors like the BMW 5 Series or the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but that just means there are better bargains to be had when shopping for used models of this premium mid-size sedan. Although quattro all-wheel drive isn't standard with the Audi A6, it's the best feature to target when searching for a previously-owned model. This means bypassing the entry-level edition of the car in favor of the 3.0T, a version that comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 300 horsepower, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. You can also find quattro with the A6 4.2, which is motivated by a 350 horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8.
10 - Hyundai Genesis
The Hyundai Genesis is perhaps the biggest sleeper in the world of used luxury sedans. Few expect such performance and comfort from a Hyundai, but the Genesis is neck-and-neck with its Japanese and German counterparts at a much lower price point. It also doesn't hurt that used models will offer the balance of one of the longest warranties in the business. In addition to a long list of standard premium features, used versions of the Hyundai Genesis are typically found with either a 290 horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 or a 378 horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 under the hood. Later models can also be had with a more potent 5.0-liter V-8. A six-speed automatic transmission handles the gear shifting duties for this rear-wheel drive sedan.