10K Friday: A8L v. 745i v. S500

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Today on 10K Friday we’re going to look at how much luxury you can buy for around $10,000. Unlike last week’s look at two sport sedans, today’s cars are more focused at isolating their drivers from the proletariat. It’s hard for some people to believe that on a Kia hatchback budget you can pick up a top-of-the-line German luxury car. But if you’re a fan of the bigger German cars, it should be no surprise that at around 10 years old, the value on them falls; but it’s a delicate balance between buying one that’s new enough that it won’t be a heap and buying one old enough that you can afford on a budget. Today we’re going to look at one from each marque; a 2004 Audi A8L, a 2004 BMW 745i, and a 2004 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic. We’ll start with the Audi EDIT: it appears the original A8 sold; I have updated the links to a similar 2005 with slightly more miles:

Year: 2004
Model: A8L
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 101,551 mi
Price: $9,990 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A8L on eBay

2004 AUDI A8L AWD Quattro. Beautiful Sparkling green color with tan leather interior. Nice and Sharp Looking loaded with most of the options. Texas Owner. Even with slightly high miles, it runs and drives awesome. Non Smoker. Equipped with Navigation, Heated Seats, Xenon Lights. Engine sounds great and transmission shift swiftly. I personally drove it for over 50 miles and checked the A/C, alignment, and Suspension. NO flood, water. Clean Texas Title with no lien.

I have to say, I really like the light mint green, and that you can get into a D3 for under 10K. The interior on these cars is beautiful and well laid out; on the outside, while the D3 isn’t as pretty to me as the D2 was, it’s still quite a handsome car. I always felt the taillights were too large on this model, but like that this car does have acres of rear leg room. I haven’t heard of D3s suffering the same transmission issues that saddled D2s, and with just over 100,000 miles, there should be plenty of life in this mill. The front bumper shows signs of some curb contact and in typical fashion the dealer has failed to replace a few little things that would dress the car up ($10 centercap, anyone?), but the one item that would concern me is the trunk lid seems out of alignment; these mostly-aluminum A8s need special repairs if they’ve contacted something hard. If the thought of a higher mile Audi scares you too much, perhaps the BMW is for you:

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Year: 2004
Model: 745i
Engine: 4.4 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 119,140 mi
Price: $10,995 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 745i on eBay

2004 BMW 7 Series 745i
04 745i-119K-SPORT PKG-LUXURY SEATING PKG-XM RADIO-PARKING AID-NAVIGATION

The E65 won’t go down in many people’s books as a great looking car, and few would argue that it’s really good looking; but, it is stately and it’s hard to argue with the combination of a sport and luxury. This particular car was pretty well optioned with the sport package, cold weather package, luxury package, park distance control, and upgraded wheels. Kalahari Beige looks quite nice without dating the car too much. The interior is less well laid out than the Audi but still pretty trick and full of gadgets you can (and will need to) play with all day. Like the Audi, the drivetrains in these cars were pretty tried and true, so with normal maintenance one shouldn’t expect too many issues immediately. Bangle-era BMWs not your thing? Well, how about a Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic:

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Year: 2004
Model: S500 4Matic
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Mileage: 137,339 mi
Price: $8,863 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic on eBay

THIS MERCEDES RUNS,DRIVES AND BRAKES AS IT SHOULD.THIS CAR WAS INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT AND WAS CLAIMED TO BE TOTALED AND THE PREVIOUS CUSTOMER LIKED IT SO MUCH PURCHASED IT BACK FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND HAD IT FIXED AS EVIDENT ON THE AUTOCHECK REPORT.THIS CAR DOES HAVE A SALVAGE TITLE AND IS BEING REPRESENTED THAT WAY….THIS CAR IS BEING SOLD AS-IS NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.THIS CAR HAS NOT BEEN THRU OUR SHOP AND WE RECOMMEND HAVING IT CHECKED OUT BY AND OUTSIDE GARAGE…..

Although this S-Class is the cheapest car here and sports the largest motor, there are items that give me pause; chief among which is the salvage title. However, repair costs on these cars “by the book” are sometimes so high, it’s not unusual to see totaled cars without tremendous damage. Provided it checks out, I’m not sure the title would scare me away as I don’t think this is a long term keeper anyway. The mileage is also higher than the other two, and like the E65, the W220 isn’t high on the “favorites” list of many enthusiasts. Despite this, they’re pretty solid cars that will quietly whisk you away from your daily grind.

Were it my money, hands down it would be the Audi. More power and lower weight than the Mercedes, less technologically dependent than the BMW, and better looking than both, to me that’s the winner of the group. Which one would you like to show off in?

-Carter

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10 Comments

  1. Love how you guys have really been stepping up your game with the frequency and quality of the posts. These comparisons are fun to read too, as are the ones with the wheels. Nice job!

  2. G, thanks very much for following us and the compliments! Stay tuned for a few more changes coming up that we hope will enhance the site! Also, make sure to follow us over on Facebook where we post a few more cars that don’t make the write-up cut!

  3. The ebay ad for the Audi is misleading – the car has been in TN, CO and TX yet the ad claims a texas owner. Also claims “non smoker” yet carfax shows 2 previous owners – has the selling dealer talked to the 1st owner? And did anyone notice that the carfax says that the engine was destroyed per the “cash for clunkers” program on 10/17/2006?

    None of the ebay ads mention anything about service records, which would give me pause with high-mileage cars that were leased.

  4. The dealer around the corner from us has an 03 S500 with AMG rims. Nice car but the price isn’t as attractive as these.

    http://www.powercorvallis.com/used/Mercedes-Benz/2003-Mercedes-Benz-S-Class-6a5f66600a0a00650133a2a8a6245d8c.htm

    dc

  5. The Audi wins on looks but I also prefer the way the D2 series looks and would probably go with that or an older E38.

  6. I’m not a Merc guy as my name would suggest….LOL
    but I would take that S500 all day…especially if I was going to DD the wheels off it…
    while the Audi is plain ole pretty….they are nightmares with repair issues/costs as everything is a PIA to get to when it needs replacing….
    this model BMW never gave me the warm & fuzzies and they do have long-term reliability issues +the costs associated with them
    The Merc…well that car is an a word a PANZER…..routine maintenance my neighbor has a dark blue one with almost 180k on the odo…it is his station car and trip to summer house car…never left him stranded..

  7. I’d go Audi also. The quattro system is invaluable in winter, and Audi does great interiors. To be fair, at this age and mileage, any of these three can eviscerate your bank account with maintenance and repair costs. The salvage title on the Benz puts me off, and the 7…well, just look at the thing.

  8. The ad for the E65 is misleading. It indicates that the car has the sports package. The E65/E66 sports package includes the following: sport steering wheel, shadow-line exterior, sport seats, sport suspension, and sport wheels. None of these options appear in the photos of this car.

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