The cost of a luxury automobile does not end with its purchase price — it begins there. The true ownership costs are often much greater than what customers perceive, after repairs, insurance, interest and other expenses are taken into account. For example, an Audi R8 has a price tag of slightly more than $170,000. After five years, the costs of ownership of the R8 are an additional $193,500 on average. 24/7 Wall St. has examined the true cost of ownership, based on Edmunds.com calculations, for 2012 models sold in the United States, identifying the 10 cars that cost the most to own.
According to the Census Bureau, the median American home costs $221,800, and the median household income is slightly more than $50,000. These should provide some perspective to the cost of buying and maintaining the vehicles on our list. The purchase prices of these cars range from $91,000 to more than $210,000. And the true costs of owning the cars for five years range from $117,000 to more than $245,000 — on top of the purchase price.
A large component of these extreme true costs of ownership is the luxury vehicles’ steep depreciation in the first five years. These 10 models are projected to lose anywhere between 27 percent and 47 percent of their value in their first half-decade on the road, leading owners to lose between $56,000 and $153,000 in depreciation alone.
While depreciation is a big part of these expenses, it is far from the only major expense. Several direct costs, including repairs, maintenance, insurance and fuel charges, can cost a driver more than $10,000 for each expense category during the first five years.
As gas prices approach $4 per gallon, fuel costs are increasingly becoming an issue — even for some of the wealthiest drivers. Each of these cars, because of their status as high-end vehicles with high-end engines, has terrible gas mileage. The most fuel-efficient car on our list gets 20 mpg. Six of the 10 get 17 mpg or less. Over a five-year period, the owners of these cars will have each paid at least $15,000 in fuel costs.