As new-car inflation continues to drive prices up far ahead of consumer price inflation, even ordinary cars can feel expensive to South African motorists. The current generation Volkswagen Polo Hatch starts in TSI guise with 66kW at R229 600, and tops out in GTI spec at R379 900 with 141kW. The question is, if you’re willing to opt for a used car, which luxury ride can Polo money buy you?
1. Mercedes-Benz S500 (2009, R369 900)
An eight-year-old car with just 12 0000 km on the clock, the W221 S-Class set unheard of standards in ride quality and luxury in its class on launch. Equipped with a 285kW, 5.5-litre V8, the S500 is quick and supremely comfortable, and is loaded with technology such as a night-vision camera, massaging seats, and the German automaker’s ‘Distronic Plus’ radar-based cruise control.
Unlikely to have suffered at the hands of boy racers or other abusive owners, this represents an extraordinary amount of power, space and luxury at the price. Just beware – this car will not be cheap to fix if something goes wrong.
2. Range Rover Supercharged (2010, R349 900)
A seven-year-old “big body” Range Rover equipped with a 375kW supercharged 5.0 V8 will effortlessly whisk you to 100km/h in around six seconds. Standard with extraordinary off-road talent and the ability to tow pretty much anything, the Range Rover is a top-end luxury car that will be great for families and long holiday adventures. Just bear in mind that this is a thirsty machine with a 105-litre fuel tank.
3. BMW 650i (2007, R234 995)
A probable future classic, the Chris Bangle-designed 6 Series was controversial from the start, but looks aside it’s an immensely likeable grand tourer, equipped with a 270kW, 4.8-litre V8 and standard equipment such as satellite navigation. A fast, comfortable and beautifully balanced rear-wheel-drive Coupé , it doesn’t get much better than this at this price. 4. Audi A8 4.2 V8 (2010, R249 900)
The king of the Audis, and still technically the current model (although replacement is imminent), this A8 offers a different, more minimalist interpretation of high-end luxury to its nemesis, the S-Class. Equipped with a smooth and powerful 4.2-litre V8, good for 273kW and a sprint to 100km/h in under six seconds, the A8 makes an astonishingly attractive offering at this price.
5. Jaguar XF 2.2d (2013, R229 995)
With just 98 000 km on the clock and equipped with a super-frugal diesel motor, this Jaguar XF is a different option to the usual luxury car contenders. It offers unique styling inside and out, and a beautifully engineered chassis that delivers the ideal balance between comfort and sportiness. The XF makes a great family car and executive commuter for those in the market for something a little different.
6. BMW 740i (2010, R299 800)
For a car with this much spec, tech, and only 76 000 km on the clock, excluding this BMW from our list would have been foolish. This 740i is the “entry-level” car with a turbocharged inline straight-six motor, good for 240kW. Loaded with contemporary luxury equipment, a good seven-year-old 7 Series makes a great luxury option for Polo money.
7. Lexus RX450 h (2009, R299 900)
A final, leftfield option is this hybrid-powered Lexus SUV, equipped with a powerful 183kW V6 petrol-engine and a 173kW electric motor. A Practical and luxurious all-wheel drive car for urban families who need something powerful (yet not too thirsty), the reliable RX is a compelling idea at this price.
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