The Ten Most Expensive Cars to Own

5. SL-Class
> Make: Mercedes-Benz
> Style: SL550 2dr Convertible (5.5L 8cyl 7A)
> True cost of ownership: $129,588
> Purchase price: $106,718

> Combined (city and highway) MPG: 17

Mercedes-Benz has been producing its grand tourer SL-Class since 1954. It was not until 2007 that the company debuted the SL550 convertible. Although it is the seventh-most expensive when ranked by purchasing price alone, it ranks the fifth-most expensive model for overall cost of ownership because of its particularly costly financing interest and insurance. Total registrations of the car have dropped dramatically from more than 5,600 in 2007 to less than 1,500 in 2011.

4. CL-Class
> Make: Mercedes-Benz
> Style: CL550 4MATIC 2dr Coupe AWD (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A)
> True cost of ownership: $142,558
> Purchase price: $121,671
> Combined (city and highway) MPG: 18

Mercedes spun off the CL-Class from its S-Class in 1998 to hone in on the line’s exclusivity. This is certainly reflected in the vehicle’s cost. The CL550 has the fourth-highest purchase price and finance interest. It also has the third-highest cost of maintenance. Sales of the car have steadily decreased over the years. There were more than 3,200 total registrations in 2007. In 2011, there were 980.

> Make: BMW
> Style: SWB 4dr Sedan (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6A)
> True cost of ownership: $153,150
> Purchase price: $133,445
> Combined (city and highway) MPG: 17

The number of registrations of the Alpina B7 has been significantly lower than that of other cars on this list. This is more the result of a limited number of cars being imported to North America than of customers shying away from its high cost. The car’s purchase price alone exceeds $133,000. It also has among the most costly interest on financing and insurance. When it comes to overall quality and design, the car received scores of just three out of five in both categories from JD Power.

2. R8
> Make: Audi
> Style: 5.2 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (5.2L 10cyl 6M)
> True cost of ownership: $193,429
> Purchase price: $170,175
> Combined (city and highway) MPG: 15

The Audi R8’s purchase price of $170,175 is more than the third-most expensive vehicle’s true cost of ownership. The two-door sports car also has the second-most expensive maintenance costs, reaching $7,370 over five years. It also has particularly high fuel costs, thanks to its 13 MPG fuel efficiency in the city. The R8 does relatively poorly by JD Powers’ standards, scoring a three out of five for both overall quality and design. Despite this, there were 1,173 registrations for the car in 2011 — the most of any year.

> Make: Mercedes-Benz
> Style: 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl 7AM)
> True cost of ownership: $245,469
> Purchase price: $210,875
> Combined (city and highway) MPG: 16

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, a luxury grand tourer, has been in production since 2010. Since that point, it has been the most expensive vehicle on the market. The automobile’s purchase price is more than $210,000, and is approximately $40,000 more expensive than the R8’s base price. After depreciation, finance interest, insurance, fuel costs and maintenance over five years, the car’s true cost of ownership during those years is nearly a quarter million dollars. This cost has not prevented the SLS AMG from being popular; total registrations of the automobile increased from 470 in 2010 to 707 in 2011.

Mike Sauter

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