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Better, or bargerine?

I'm ready to replace my current car (a great old workhorse - Peugeot 405 Executive TD) and I'm tempted by the relatively low prices of luxury cars due to the massive depreciation we're all seeing in this sector. I'm 50 years old now so insurance rates are also on my side, so the time could have come whereby I could consider driving something that a few years ago would seem way out of reach. A saloon would be OK but large enough for the fishing tackle etc. that I cart about in my 405. Clear HPI, full service history etc. would all be givens. My Budget is around £12,000 and the sort of cars I've been considering are BMW 5 series, Audi 6, VW Passat, Volvo S60 etc. I've even seen S class Mercedes (320s) from 02/03 in my price range. My gut feel is to go for Diesel for economy and grunt, but the cost difference now of petrol might suggest that it could offset the extra MPG that a Diesel offers. I'd like something that has a way to go before it breaks the 100,000-mile psychological threshold, for potential resale purposes as much as anything. Taking into account reliability (your articles have put me off an E class Merc), running costs etc. am I being realistic in getting a bargain for my budget, and if so are there any stand-out winners.

Asked on 20 March 2010 by S.P., Newmarket

Answered by Honest John
The fact is that repair bills for a £60,000 car bought for £12,000 reflect the £60,000 rather than the £12,000. Are you up for some very serious potential bills? Or are you generally lucky? You can reduce the odds quite a bit by opting for a Lexus. Japanese 'quality' far exceeds anything out of Germany.

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