Our list of the top 10 luxury vehicles with the highest residual values was compiled using Kelley Blue Book data for new vehicles with MSRPs $30,000 and up, including specific trims of vehicles, not just base MSRPs. The residual values are expressed as a percent of the original MSRP five years into the future. We’ve put the vehicles in ascending order. Vehicles that tied for a particular ranking are in alphabetical order.
Kelley Blue Book estimates future vehicle values based on a model’s past performance as well as new or notable features. “The best indicator of future performance is past performance,” Ibara says. For newly introduced models, Kelley Blue Book looks to past similar models from a given manufacturer.
This ranking shows that being green pays off when it comes time to sell. The MSRP might seem high, especially compared to a glitzier Lexus IS 250, but the price increase over a standard Accord is justified and bodes well for value retention. The Accord’s widely acclaimed reliability is another boon. Consumer Reports rated the Accord Hybrid its 2007 Top Pick in the family-sedan category, with “Excellent” predicted reliability.
Any BMW 7 Series is good and will hold value well. But this one, with a 500-hp supercharged V8, special suspension and styling add-ons engineered by European performance tuner Alpina, really resists dollar-shedding. It’s extremely rare — the U.S. will see only 200 in 2007 — and exemplifies the low-supply/high-demand that can skyrocket resale value.
Toyota’s largest sedan lacks sex appeal — so this is one case where sheer quality instigates high resale value. The Avalon’s strength is its lack of weaknesses, with more-than-adequate power, excellent interior room and a host of luxury features — it’s more luxurious than a similarly priced, smaller but more modern up-level Camry. That bang-for-the-buck translates to high resale values.
This is Lexus’ entry-level model, but its performance doesn’t show it: A taut, muscular exterior and a V6 with more than 300 hp give it personality and panache. There’s also real value here: It’s loaded with useful, high-tech features, like adaptive bi-Xenon headlights and radar cruise control, but avoids superfluous luxury items.
Infiniti’s M series is rather staid-looking; all the more surprising when you realize the sheer speed that skulks within. Kelley Blue Book’s Eric Ibara says the M45’s relative exclusivity gives it a value retention edge over the G35, “which you see all over, and is easy to lease for a reasonable amount.”
The BMW 6 Series is a modern classic, whether or not you like its progressive styling. The convertible version is made in fewer numbers than the coupe and its $7,000, or 9.5 percent, price hike over the coupe provides a value-retention advantage when it’s time to sell, as evidenced by the fact that the convertible made this list over the coupe.
Kelley Blue Book ranks the Acura MDX as the SUV with highest resale value, including non-luxury models. Recently redesigned, the midsize MDX blends power, practicality and luxury extremely well. The MDX has also been reliable. Consumer Reports calls the 2007 model a “good bet.”
Auto Appraisal Group’s Larry Batton says “expensive, fast and impractical” usually bodes well for resale value. This brutish vehicle has all three: Its six-figure price tag is outrageous; the AMG engine has nearly 500 hp; and it averages about 12 mpg.
“Green doesn’t mean slow anymore,” says Black Book National’s Ricky Beggs of the speedy GS 450h, one of two hybrids on our list. “The technology here makes the car both quick and efficient.” Kelley’s Ibara thinks the hybrid will have a higher residual value than the conventional GS: “We think that the relatively small increase in list price ($2,500) ensures that the car will sustain its higher residual,” he says.
The only American car on this list finishes on top. Auto Appraisal Group’s Larry Batton says that American cars generally lag imports in residual values, but the Corvette’s an exception. “It’s an icon. And it’s also historically an image-maker, which keeps it in demand, and keeps value high,” he says.