The Engine Room has been busy buying and selling various cars in recent months. From traded-in BMWs to sold Porsches. Pretty extraordinary to see that many people who have saved up for years for their “dream car” are often still a little unsure about which car they spend their money on.

Especially the trade-off of age/mileage against and the options available on a car. So what should you look for when buying a used luxury car?

To give an example; we recently had a customer who was unsure between an old type RS6 Performance, or a new type RS6.

2018 with 605 hp by 2021 with 600 hp. Surely the difference was quickly 60,000 euros. Our client’s choice was quickly made based on price; he went for the RS6 C7 model. A wise choice, if you ask us.

But then? You enter a jungle of options. Go for:

  • 80,000 euros buying a 2015 RS6 with 110,000 km?
  • With BOVAG warranty?
  • Are you buying from a branded dealer?
  • What options are a must if you trade the car back in later?
  • Should there be a panoramic roof on it, or is that irrelevant?

Type & budget

First of all, it’s important that you set a certain budget that you don’t want to go over. We understand that this is difficult in practice, because at 500 euros, few people fail to let a deal go through.

So, in this case, select a range what you are willing to spend before you start shopping. This prevents a last-minute impulse purchase that you later regret.

Next, decide what type of car you want to buy. A fast sports sedan? An SUV? Or still a sports car for weekends. Consult this carefully especially at home, as this can eliminate many problems in advance (unfortunately not all).

Once you’ve found the type you want to go for, we can start looking at the important details.

Suppose you have budget x, and you want to buy a fast station wagon, no older than 6 years. Then you often end up with the German brands; Audi RS4 or RS6, BMW 540/550i, Alpina B5 Touring or Mercedes with a C or E class estate.

In our opinion, what is always most important; buy from a reliable seller. This does not mean it has to be a branded dealer. By this we mean transparency, clear story, open about the history of the car, enthusiasm for the sale and, of course, customer friendly.

In practice, you will often find that about a dozen cars are really of interest to you. So depending on the color you choose, this is always personal, you are left with a number of interesting cars, which may be relatively far apart.

So how do you determine what is the best choice for you?

Think about who will be using the car. What are the character traits of this person/people? Do you always want a sporty ride, or is comfort important to you too. Will you drive many miles, or will you use the car purely for weekends? Do you want to buy a car for yourself that you want to personalize completely, or one that you will trade in for a newer one after 2-3 years?

All important strategic considerations you need to make beforehand to make the choice easier for yourself.

For some people, Fuel consumption, power, torque, HP also play a big role. In practice, however, you will see that this is very close for most models.

Based on this, you can often eliminate a lot of cars.

If you’re not a hardcore sporty driver, you won’t benefit from ceramic brake discs either. If you have a family, then that extra loud sports exhaust may not be a must either. Or the 23inch rims that put your wife or kids a little too close to the curb when parking. All practical considerations.

Eventually you then come to a choice between a few cars. Price is going to play a big role in this, though.

Also, warranty/maintenance history is a very important point. Our advice is that it is better to spend a few thousand euros more on a car with a perfect maintenance history than to save this money, only to run into problems later when the warranty has expired. You want to avoid that at all times it seems to me.

Taking all these considerations into account, we think that a good strategic plan should remove a lot of “noise” beforehand, in order to arrive at the right decision.

If you are in doubt when buying a car, and don’t know what to do? You can always ask us for advice without obligation; we will be happy to help you tie the knot!