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

1998 Mercedes-Benz S500

A new S class is set to debut next month. Without a doubt, the upcoming W222 is set to move the executive sedan bar even higher, as each successive S class has done throughout the years. The W140 was perhaps the greatest leap the S class had made to date, and its introduction was not without controversy. Seen as a bit too large and conspicuous when it was introduced on the cusp of a worldwide recession, this S class brought a plethora of high-end features such as double glazed windows, self-closing doors and an available V12 engine. Later, safety features such as Brake Assist (BAS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESP) would be introduced.

The W140 S class is a car that is revered to this day and, with exception of those cars that were given up on due to electrical gremlins, one which you will regularly come across on the street. This late model S500 for sale in Arizona is a one owner vehicle just off of a fresh service.

Year: 1998
Model: S500
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 60,940 mi
Price: $13,900 Buy It Now

1998 Mercedes-Benz S500 on eBay

Mercedes-Benz S-Class or W140 Sedan was introduced to the public in the Summer of 1991 with rave reviews. The S-Class set the new standard for world class luxury, technology and safety and introduced a brand new 8-Cylinder engine to the line up. An aluminum 5.0 liter DOHC V8 producing 322 horsepower to the rear wheels was all new and so advanced that many articles said it is one of the greatest engines on the market today. The W140 S-Class was produced from 1992-1999, known as the “Big Body S” or “the most over engineered car in the world” was also the safest car money can buy.

This gorgeous very rare Black Opal Metallic over stunning Charcoal leather interior 1998 Mercedes-Benz S500 is a documented 1 owner car bought brand new on September 8th 1997 from Phoenix Motor Company Mercedes-Benz. The car has only covered 60,940 miles from brand new and has lived in Phoenix all of its life. Every single service and maintenance work that the car has needed has always been done by either Phoenix Motor Company or Mercedes-Benz of Chandler from day one. The car is 100% stock original and only Mercedes-Benz genuine parts has ever been on this car. The car has the self leveling HID Xenon headlamps, power sunroof, factory chrome Mercedes stock wheels with brand new tires and brakes, pneumatic closing doors and trunk, power folding mirrors, heated front and rear seats, 14 way power driver and passenger seats with 3 position memory settings. Power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 6-disc CD auto changer with Bose premium sound system, dual zone automatic climate control, one touch double pane sided windows, power door locks with two original Mercedes-Benz remotes, Homelink garage door opener with 3 settings, monochromatic auto dimming review mirror and drivers exterior mirror, heated headlight washers, cruise control and power lumbar.

All of the power equipment works as it should, all of the electrical items work, all of the lights work and no dash lights on. The car runs and drives like it just left the factory, it is one of the smoothest running and driving cars I have ever driven. The suspension is perfect and tight, absolutely no rattles or creaks, the steering is precise and tight without any play, wobble, vibration or drift. The car has just had new brakes, new tires, 60K service and an alignment done. This is one of the nicest W140 S-Classes out there. The paint still has a stunning shine to it, (a few small road chips here and there that have been touched up with a correct matching Mercedes-Benz touch up pen) the interior is absolutely stunning without any wear. The leather is near perfect, wood is flawless and all of the chrome plastics and trim are perfect. The car has a clear, clean title, never been involved in an accident, no salvage, flood, fire or water damage. Box A actual miles.

If you are looking for a near perfect, fully serviced, documented and well cared for S-Class this is the one. 480-310-8814

If I was going to purchase a W140, I’d probably go for an S500. While the S320 is a more economical way of going about things, the V8 gives this heavy beast some added oomph without the complexity and cost of the twelve cylinder variant. Almost $14,000 is fairly steep for an S class of this vintage, but given the condition of this specimen, I’d say it’s not too far off the mark. I’m glad this isn’t an ultra low mileage car, as those kind of cars pose a conundrum. Not only can they be ticking time bombs, but they are often valued too high and lose their collectibility once they are used as intended. I’d probably try and bargain a little bit off this particular car, but with documentation and the fact that this is a W140 from a dry climate, it doesn’t get much better than this.

-Paul

1995 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe

I always considered the W140 Mercedes-Benz S Class coupes and sedans as sort of a Concorde moment for the brand. Following up the highly successful act that was the W126 S Class was never going to be easy but with development of the W140 starting in the early 1980s, Mercedes-Benz was determined to make their mark once again in the luxury segment. Reportedly costing over $1 billion USD to develop, this generation of S class introduced new technologies such as Brake Assist, seat occupancy sensors and Electronic Stability Program, which has been licensed to other manufacturers since.

It is still possible to find clean, W140 sedans with low mileage. With only 888 produced for the year 1995 according to The Standard Catalog of Mercedes-Benz, the V8 powered S500 coupe is a rarer beast. I was pleasantly surprised to see this well preserved, three owner example in New Jersey. In classic black, it definitely looks the part.

Mercedes S500 Coupe for sale on eBay

From the seller:

I am a private car collector located in New Jersey and I am selling my pretty rare S 500 Coupe! I searched for this car for two years and looked at over twenty S500 coupes and I finally bought this from another collector of exotic cars in Providence R.I. The original MSRP was $100,275.00 and I have the original invoice.

This car is a 9.5 out of 10 and has never been hit, accident damaged, painted or abused. I am the third owner and it has been garaged kept its entire life. My garaged is climate controlled and I have driven it only on sunny days in the three years that I have owned it.

Hence, the paint is deep and glossy and the interior is immaculate with supple butter soft leather seats. The interior stills has the aroma of new leather!

The options on the window sticker are:

* SRS DRIVER AND FRONT PASSENGER AIRBAGS
*FRONT SEAT TENSIONERS/KNEEBOLSTERS
*4-WHEEL ANTILOCK POWER DISC BREAKS
*HALOGEN HEAD/FOG LAMPS WITH WASHERS
*HEATED WINDSHIELD WASHING SYSTEM
*HEATED REAR WINDOW/OUSIDE MIRRORS
*AUTO SLIP (ASR)
*4-SPEED AUTO TRANS
*ALLOY WHEELS
*CRUISE CONTROL
*HEATED FRONT SEATS
*REMOTE CENTRAL LOCKING
*ANTI THEFT SYSTEM
*POWER DOOR/TRUNK CLOSING ASSIST
*POWER WINDOWS WITH EXPRESS UP AND DOWN
*POWER STEEL SUNROOF WITH REAR POP UP FEATURE
*POWER TILT TELESCOPIC STEERING WHEEL
*POWER FRONT 12 WAY SEATS/MIRRORS WITH MEMORY
*LEATHER UPPOLSTERY
*FRONT SEATS LUMBAR SUPPORTS
*AUTO CLIMATE CONTROL WITH CHARCOAL FILTER
*AM/FM/WB/CASSETTE RADIO (CD CHANGER READY)
*BOSE BETA SOUND SYSTEM *AUTO ANTENNA
*PREWIRING FOR CELLULAR PHONE

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT:
040 BLACK
261 BLACK SOFT LEATHER
494 CALIF EMMISSION CONTROL EQUIP

THe S500 would surely represent a better investment than the more complex S600, which could bankrupt a small, developing nation with it’s V12 servicing costs and wiring harness issues. While the styling was a bit more brutish than the W126 SEC coupes, there is no denying the commanding presence of the W140 and for around $11,000, this is a hell of a lot of car for the money. It may not exactly fit with the economic times in which we live, but if I was going to drive a big car, I sure would rather drive something like this than your typical SUV roaming the streets these days.

-Paul