Current lease (Mercedes C-class) maturing in a few months. Considering both leasing and buying for my next car and can afford $10k per year, ideally with maintenance included.
Standard 36/10k lease. Assuming $0 down, the monthly payment would be around $800 - $850.
Will probably own it for 3-4 years. This means the car on average should depreciate no more than $10k per year, with the plan of selling it/trading it in in a few years. Prefer used to avoid new car depreciation but open to new ones that keep their values well.
- Number of cars: one. This may sound weird but I’ve seen people recommend some daily driver + weekend sports car combination. While that might work for others, I have absolutely no interest in keeping two cars.
- Type: A sedan that’s practical enough. Usually just me and my GF, with occasional backseat passengers. There’s a 50/50 chance we’ll have a baby within 3 years though so I do want the car to be somewhat future proof. Something like a 911 is probably too small but I don’t think I need an SUV either.
- Age/warranty: obviously not a concern if leasing. If buying I want the car to not be too old so that I can enjoy newer technologies such as CarPlay. If buying used, CPO is preferred for peace of mind.
- Make: I’ll be completely honest that I am one of the badge chasers. Prefer luxury German brands. Open to other brands though.
- Exterior: I know it’s very subjective. Regardless I want the exterior to look good and ideally not too boring.
- Interior: Again subjective but I want it to be luxurious, comfortable and quiet.
- Speed/acceleration/handle: I don’t need the fastest car in the world but I do want it to handle well, if that makes sense.
- ICE vs EV: no strong preference. Have access to chargers so EVs are ok.
Tier S: it’s a Porsche and it looks good! What else do you need?
- Buying used Panamera: this is the car that I’ve done the most research on and have actually test driven. The fact that I don’t want a pure sports car or an SUV makes Panamera the only viable Porsche option (Taycan is in the wildcard section due to uncertainty on depreciation) and it actually matches my requirements pretty well. My first impression during test drive was it’s big and not very agile but then I kinda got used to it. With the right options such as rear wheel steering and surround view this should work just fine. Regarding depreciation, based on my limited research a 3-year old CPO should depreciate below $10k per year on average. Maintenance is going to be expensive but I’m ok stretching my budget a little bit. My only concern is I don’t know how Taycan is going to affect used Panamera’s market. There’re already speculations that Porsche might just kill the entire Panamera line around 2024, when the current 971 generation reaches the end of its lifecycle. This does make a lot sense to me given how similar these two models are. Will there still be enough buyers in 3-4 years that are interested in a used Panamera when they can also get a used Taycan?
Tier A: it’s not a Porsche but it looks so good!
- Leasing (or buying used?) Audi A7: love the exterior and interior. I haven’t seen many A7 lease deals but based on the 1% rule and this not being an S model I’m hoping $800 per month is enough.
Tier B: they’re great cars but the exterior just looks boring.
- Leasing BMW 5 series: 540i should be well under budget. Can probably stretch my budget a little bit to get an M550i, which is more appealing.
- Leasing Audi A6: don’t think I can get an S6 without significantly going above budget.
- Leasing Mercedes E-class: don’t think I can get an AMG E53 without significantly going above budget. I’d also prefer not to drive two Mercedes back to back unless it’s a … keep reading!
Wildcard: if they somehow work they’d at least belong to Tier A and potentially Tier S
- Buying new Porsche Taycan: I have no idea how Taycan is depreciating. My mind tells me that there’s no way it’s going to depreciate less than $10k per year but all the EV credits do help offset the cost a bit. The idea would be to buy one from the previous model year for a bigger discount.
- Buying used Porsche Taycan: if I wait until later this year, the 2020 models will be almost 2 years old and theoretically should have depreciated quite a bit. Probably still too new to buy from a depreciation perspective? I don’t know.
- Buying used Mercedes AMG GT 4-door Coupe: man oh man is this a good looking car. Exact same concern/uncertainty as buying used Taycan.
- Leasing BMW M440i: feel free to judge but I like the grill. The obvious concern is it being small and a coupe so not very practical if I end up having a baby.
- Leasing Audi S4/S5: I have no idea how much they’re going for leasing these days. Are they even under my budget?
The reason I’m trying to reach a decision soon while there’s still a few months left on my current lease is to allow the time to custom build a new car (regardless of leasing or buying), if that’s the route I end up taking. While this is a real problem for me, I hope it’s also a fun thought exercise for everyone else.
Thanks for reading and looking forward to your feedback/suggestions!