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Luxury cars epitomize opulence and comfort in the car world. Everything about luxury cars is top-notch, from the engine and bodywork to the interior trim and tech options. Their engines are often big, and in recent times, car manufacturers have introduced hybrid powertrains in their high-end vehicles. Luxury vehicles are incomplete without high-end leather, chrome wood-trimmed interiors, and in some cases, even carbon fiber.

They feature plenty of passenger space, top-of-the-range sound systems, and the latest interior car technology. But luxury doesn’t come cheap. Entry-level models from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz start around $35,000. Ultra-luxury options from Bentley and Rolls-Royce can cost as much as $450,000. High-end vehicles are a delight to own and drive, but there are several pitfalls to high-end car ownership. Here are 10 things no one tells you about owning a luxury car.


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Not all German cars are created equal, but some of them made a strong statement of luxury in much simpler times.

UPDATE: 2024/03/05 18:00

Contrary to what you may see in Hollywood productions or on social media, luxury car ownership may not always be a pleasant one. The reality is that, you have to accept that there are pitfalls associated with owning a luxury car. This update refreshes this article with new information about luxury vehicles.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including HotCars, Car And Driver, AAA Foundation, and CarEdge.

15 High Maintenance Costs

2019 white Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG Coupe

Luxury cars are expensive to buy and to maintain. The general rule is to only buy a luxury car if you have the resources to maintain the vehicle over an extended period.

Luxury Vehicle Parts And Maintenance Costs Are High

For instance, it costs a lot more to maintain a Porsche Panamera than a Toyota Corolla: the maintenance cost of a Porsche over ten years is $22,075; the maintenance cost of a Toyota over a similar period is $5,996. Several factors further inflate the maintenance costs of luxury car ownership. First, you may need to visit an authorized auto shop to perform service or repairs on your car. Authorized auto shops tend to charge more for their services.

Second, working on high-end luxury cars takes longer as the vehicles are more complex. This increases the labor costs. Furthermore, the cost of high-end car parts is also high. Maintenance costs of high-end cars are set to increase as manufacturers electrify and further add sophisticated electronics to their vehicles.

14 Depreciation Of Luxury Cars Is More Pronounced

Gray Maserati Quattroporte

Some of the highest depreciating cars are luxury vehicles. The depreciation of luxury vehicles is more pronounced due to their high initial values.

Luxury Cars Sometimes Lose Huge Chunks Of Their Values

Luxury cars drop in value sharply because their demand in the used car market is low. Most car buyers have no need for the luxuries of a high-end vehicle. An average car buyer will prefer a new Toyota Camry over a used Bentley with wood trim and leather. Further, people with the means to purchase luxury cars prefer to buy new ones rather than used examples.

Also, the expensive-to-maintain nature of luxury cars drops their value. Car buyers are aware that they could spend fortunes maintaining a used Maserati and will shy away from purchasing the vehicle at a premium. Consequently, sellers are forced to reduce the prices of used luxury cars, contributing to their rapid depreciation.

13 Unwelcome Attention

2004 Maybach 57
Mecum Auctions

Some people buy luxury cars as status symbols. Manufacturers know this, so some allow customers to personalize their cars as they see fit. Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Aston Martins, and Maybachs are symbols of opulence, wealth, prestige, and success. They are the types of cars you find in Monaco, Malibu, and Beverly Hills.

You Will Attract Attention Whether You Like It Or Not

A significant portion of high-end vehicle owners want the world to know that they’ve made it. If you are one of those people, purchasing a Rolls-Royce Phantom will get you all the attention you want. Conversely, a few luxury vehicle buyers buy the cars simply because they are safe, comfortable, powerful, and high-tech. These owners have no desire for the spotlight.

Unfortunately for them, there’s no escaping the attention that comes with owning a luxury vehicle. The perception is that luxury car drivers want to be seen; people generally abide by that perception. They will bombard you with camera phones and ceaseless queries about how to make it big.



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12 Most Luxury Cars Are Fuel Guzzlers

Pumping gas
Via Unsplash / Engin Akyurt

Luxury cars often come with big engines. Luxury parts add weight, forcing manufacturers to install powerful engines on high-end vehicles. These engines burn a lot of fuel.

Big Engines Burn Plenty Of Fuel

The Rolls-Royce Phantom, for instance, features a twin-turbo V-12 churning out 563 horsepower, more than enough grunt to lug the 5,750-pound car around with ease. As a consequence, the engine gulps a gallon of fuel every 14 miles. The Bentley Flying Spur, with its twin-turbo W-12 or twin-turbo V-8, doesn’t fare much better. The V-8 variant has a combined fuel economy rating of 17 MPG, while the W-12 variant has a 15 MPG rating.

Thankfully, fuel efficiency for luxury brands has improved and will keep improving as manufacturers electrify their cars. Bentley, for example, offers a 2.9-liter hybrid V-6 variant of the Flying Spur. It’s slower than its gasoline-powered siblings but much more economical: the vehicle manages 46 MPG in hybrid mode.

11 High Insurance Premiums

Front 3/4 of a parked 2023 BMW 7-Series

It generally costs more to insure a luxury car than it does to insure a regular vehicle. Insurers charge more because expensive high-end cars cost more to fix, and the insurance payoffs for luxury vehicles are often higher. For instance, the annual cost of insuring a Maserati Quattroporte is more than double the national full coverage average.

Reduce Insurance Costs By Searching For Discounts

It’s advisable to purchase full coverage for your expensive vehicle. It’s legal in most states to only purchase liability coverage. However, liability insurance doesn’t cover your car. You can reduce the cost of high-end vehicle insurance by looking for insurance discounts. Some insurers provide special policies that cover luxury cars. They are often cheaper, but they impose conditions like mileage limits on the owner.

10 Used Luxury Cars May Have Outdated Technology

1988 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur
Bring a Trailer

Used luxury vehicles can be dirt cheap due to their high depreciation rate. Some depreciate so much that they cost about the same as new everyday cars.

Used Luxury Cars Sometimes Feature Glitchy Tech

Used luxury vehicles, especially ones with high mileage, don’t attract many buyers. They may have leather seats in roughly good condition and shiny wood trims, but their tech is bound to be outdated. Nothing ages a car as much as technology and newer versions of luxury cars often feature better technology and are usually better equipped.

It may not be possible for manufacturers to send over-the-air updates to improve the used cars’ systems, leaving owners with glitchy and out-of-date navigation systems. Another crucial problem with used luxury cars is maintenance. Used high-end vehicles still need regular maintenance. To make matters worse, older high-end cars tend to have worn parts, which aren’t cheap.



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9 Luxury Cars Are Targets For Thieves

2023 Lexus LS Hybrid

Premium cars are prime targets for thieves because luxury cars or parts from high-end vehicles are pricier on the black market. Keyless entry, a cool car feature, has made it easier for thieves to steal cars. People can purchase devices from online markets like Amazon that unlock your car with minimal fuss.

Install Anti-Theft Devices To Deter Thieves

The increase in premium car thefts is a global issue. In the U.K., the number of premium vehicles stolen in the first six months of 2019 was more than the number of premium cars stolen in 2015. Luxury and sports cars are more alluring to thieves than other vehicles. The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends the installation of anti-theft devices and parking in well-lit areas to deter potential thieves.

8 Luxury Cars Are Fast and Powerful But Not Sporty

White 2023 Rolls Royce Phantom
Rolls Royce

Luxury cars often feature powerful engines, which provide impressive straight-line speed. A 2024 Rolls-Royce Phantom, for instance, rockets to 60 MPH in 5.1 seconds, an impressive feat for a 5,750-pound vehicle.

Luxury Cars Are More Tuned To Luxury Than Sportiness

However, luxury cars are not sporty; they are tuned for comfort and kitted for luxurious travel. Most sports cars eschew high-end options like wood accents and leather sets because they add weight. The astronomical curb weights of luxury cars make them unsuitable for track actions, their powerful engines notwithstanding. Also, high-end vehicles have soft suspensions suited more for comfortable travel than tire-shredding track action.

7 Leasing A Luxury Car May Be A Better Financial Decision Than Buying One

3/4 action shot of a 2016 Jaguar XJ

Many luxury car owners lease their vehicles from dealerships instead of buying them. Leases typically last between two and four years, and the money a lessee pays is the difference between the MSRP and the car’s expected value at the end of the lease period. Basically, the lessee pays for the car’s depreciation.

There Are Several Advantages To Leasing Over Purchasing

People prefer leasing over buying for several reasons. Firstly, they only own the car for the period covered by the warranty. Also, some premium vehicle automakers offer free maintenance during the lease. Thirdly, leasing allows the lessee to dispose of the vehicle for a newer model without selling it or negotiating for a trade-in.


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6 The General Perception Of People With High-End Cars

A black 2003 Maybach 57

Luxury car owners are often revered for success and viewed as role models. However, some luxury car owners are considered obnoxious people without respect for road rules and etiquette.

Luxury Car Owners Are More Likely To Break Highway Laws

Studies have actually found that upper-class individuals, the type who drive luxury cars, are more likely to violate traffic codes. Another study found that unempathetic and stubborn men were more likely to drive high-status cars. Conversely, it also found that thoughtful and conscientious people tend to buy high-end vehicles. It appears that the cars aren’t the problem; it’s the type of people that own them. You decide the kind of luxury car owner you want to be.

5 As a Luxury Car Owner, You May Be Charged With The “Rich People” Tax

Front 3/4 shot of the 2023 Jaguar F-Pace 400 Sport

It goes without saying that when people see you in a flashy, expensive car, they automatically assume you are loaded with cash. After all, most high-end luxury cars come with a six-figure (or more) sticker price.

People May Charge You More For Services Or Goods

In a hypothetical situation when you call someone to work on your house (plumber, roofer, etc.) and they spot your luxury car parked in front, it’s a safe bet they will try to rip you off. As a luxury car owner, you will, most likely, be hit with the “you can afford it” attitude, and negotiating a fair price for the service will be an ordeal.

While there is always a chance for someone to try and take advantage of your supposedly enviable financial situation, the probability becomes that much higher once you have a luxury car parked in your garage.

4 Used Luxury Cars Are Sometimes Poorly Maintained

1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG W202 front side view

Whether we talk about luxury cars or mainstream models, there are two kinds of owners. On one hand, you have those that religiously keep up with the maintenance intervals and spare no expense. On the other hand, there are those who, due to lack of knowledge or simple negligence, take poor care of their vehicle.

Luxury Cars Require Specialized, Costly Care

This goes double for luxury cars as most first owners of these cars change their vehicle every three years at the most. The point is, luxury cars have a lot more tech and maintenance goes well-beyond regular oil changes and rotating your tires.

Luxury cars like some Mercedes SUVs have complex systems like the active body-control module or air suspension, which, if left unattended, can easily start malfunctioning, rendering the car undriveable. There is a reason why many used luxury cars are dirt cheap. They, often, hide repairs costing more than the car itself. So, if you want to avoid potentially catastrophic financial decisions, think twice before buying that “bargain” S500.


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3 Luxury Cars Are Not Very Child-Friendly

BMW XM Label Red rear seats

This partially overlaps with the previous paragraph about negligible maintenance. Allow us to clarify. While luxury cars provide superior comfort and safety, they are loaded with tech, even in the second-row seats. This can include auxiliary climate or stereo controls and headrest-mounted TVs.

Innocent Accidents May Necessitate Expensive Repairs

All that tech is sensitive to spilled drinks and other occurrences, likely to appear with children on board. Not to mention the upholstery, which in luxury cars, is almost exclusively leather and suede or Alcántara – very difficult to keep clean and fresh. It’s not that luxury cars can’t be family-friendly vehicles, but it can be unnerving knowing that you can be one spilled drink away from an expensive ordeal at the repair shop.

2 Luxury Car Safety Features May Be Dangerous

Safety on the 2023 Kia Sportage

Luxury cars often feature the best and latest safety tech, making them some of the safest cars on the road. However, research by the AAA Foundation concluded that negligent use of advanced safety features may cause accidents.

The Improper Use Of Safety Features And Driver Aids May Cause Accidents

It is important to note that the AAA Foundation found no fault with safety features like Lane Keeping Assistance and Adaptive Cruise Control, tools often found in luxury vehicles. However, the organization discovered that as drivers become more trusting of safety tech and driver assists, they are more likely to lose concentration and engage in non-driving activities, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

You should learn how to use your vehicle’s safety features correctly to avoid crashes.Before the automotive world develops safe and autonomous driving – another feature likely to appear in luxury vehicles first – you need to remain alert when the vehicle takes partial control.


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1 Your Luxury Vehicle May Not Stand Out For Long

Black 2008 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed
Mecum Auctions

One of the reasons why people buy luxury cars is the desire to stand out. Owning a BMW or a Mercedes demonstrates that you are wealthy – that you’ve ‘made it’. Unfortunately, your luxury car will eventually lose its luster.

Luxury Car Features Often Trickle Down To Regular Cars

The features that distinguish luxury cars from regular cars often become standard as time goes by. For instance, at some point in the 20th century, power windows were a luxury exclusive to cars like the Lincoln Custom limousine and sedan. As your car won’t remain luxurious forever, there’s no need to go for overpriced German examples when alternatives from Japanese brands like Acura and Lexus offer better value.

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