Last night I made a frustrated post mocking Tavarish’s method. Namely, looking up an exotic marque, then listing them by Price: Low to High and arbitrarily picking a top trim mid-size sedan to compare the price to. I know you can buy a 15 year old S-class for peanuts, what about the other costs? The off-handed dismissal of concern running costs is lazy and disingenuous. Without that necessary information the articles are worthless. Honestly, which of us haven’t trolled the classifieds looking for the cheapest Ferrari available? So to the best of my abilities, I’m going to research and compare two similar vehicles: A 2000 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante and a (car that will be determined when the running costs of a DB7 for 3 years/15k miles)
The Used Exotic:
eBay link BIN Price of $45,000 (assumed purchase price)
Now given the character of the vehicle this is probably going to be a 2nd or 3rd car. I will treat it as such, and determine the running costs over 3 years and driving approximately 10k a year. But let’s see what this DB7 is bringing to the table.
First and foremost is the glorious 6.0 V12. You know it, you love it and if you don’t you can fuck right off. It was factory rated at 420hp and I doubt it’s putting out much less after 44k miles. This was good to push this heavyweight cruiser from 0-60 in ~5 seconds. This particular example also comes with the well familiar Tremec T56 manual six speed transmission. It would be regrettable if I didn’t also didn’t gush a bit about the perfectly shaped body. Personally I like the coupe more, but this is a compromise I could live with. First world hypothetical problems amirite? I have a strong weakness for British cars in proper BRG and this example doubles down on the perfection with an ivory and dark green interior.
(Credit to the dealership in the eBay link)
DOING IT RIGHT. :DROOL: Ahem, excuse me. Where was I? Oh, right. This one ticks all my boxes and makes me feel feelings a man should not feel about an inanimate object. GIVE IT TO ME NOW!
...sorry. If the combination of a gorgeous interior, exterior and a V12 backed by a manual transmission doesn’t induce heart palpitations, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. Well, let’s temper this well meaning enthusiasm and find the flaws. Flaws beside not having ~50k for a luxurious toy.
These are some mechanical issues with the V12 DB7 that seem to be prevalent just from glancing over a few DB7 forums. This is not universally true and your mileage may vary. Always have an independent mechanic inspect your vehicle before purchase. Now that I’ve distanced myself from any guilt or responsibility....
There’s general electronic and fit and finish niggles, such as intermittent interior lights, trim pieces succumbing to gravity. More serious issues include radiator leaks, coil pack troubles and fuel pump problems. The suspension, chassis and A/C were evolved or lifted from the XJ-S and are 15 years old, so don’t bank on them being 100%. Fortunately, many parts were from the 90’s Ford parts bin. This fact has given the DB7 the derisive title of a Jag in drag, but as far as the Aston owner on a (relative) budget is concerned, this is GREAT. Many wear parts, such as the brakes and bushings are shared with lesser Jags, meaning lower prices and more importantly, better availability. Say your door handle breaks, hit up your friend that hoarding Miata parts. A full thread of interchangeable parts can be found here. Now the yearly service/maintenance is tough to determine all I could find were British service prices, like they’re more popular there or something. Personally, I would budget $5,000 a year between regular professional service (unless you don’t plan on selling it, then save a few bucks) and sticking the rear view mirror back on.
This particular example has an apparently aftermarket upgraded sound system. I couldn’t find any evidence that JBL had done an OEM system for the DB7. It’s really neither a plus or minus as any damage notorious from aftermarket stereo work should be readily apparent with a cursory look. If it’s a hack job, it is an obvious red flag. The taped wires raise suspicion, but if it’s all good you aren’t really planning on having anyone sit back there are you?
So for 3 years of tasty Aston ownership think $60,000. If it comes under budget, great! Extra savings for your next ill conceived car purchase! Now, let’s compare it to a modern, new, convertible grand tourer.
The BMW 435i Convertible with M-sport line and optional M-sport brakes. This car comes with the VERY convenient MSRP of exactly $60,000. These compare quite well as both are luxo-compromised grand touring convertibles that weigh as much as a small whale.
I don’t want to waste my time on describing the BMW, not because I don’t like it, but because others who’s job it is to describe new cars have already done it. Here’s one and here’s another. Want more? Google. Now this comes with 4 years and 50,000 miles of warranty and free service, so as assumed that both cars are second or third cars you should be able to get good value from that if you decide to sell after 3 years.
Speaking of selling, the 435i hasn’t been out for very long so it’s difficult to predict how it will hold it’s value. So far so good (still at least $50,000 for a 2014), so I assume you’ll still be able to get at least $45,000 in 3 years with low miles. (Then again with these parameters it may be better to lease) The DB7 has the more uncommon V12-6spd combination which really commands a premium so you should be able to sell it for the what you bought it for in 3 years, especially if you continue documenting it’s service history.
Using Hagerty’s insurance quote machine the DB7 for “me” would be a bit less than 2600 a year for 5000 miles of pleasure use a year (Sunday drives, occasional trip, the sort of thing you’d reasonably use a DB7 for.) I’m not shopping and comparing deductibles for you, this is just a baseline. The BMW is a bit more to insure ($2800/yr) likely due to it’s higher value. Pretty equal all things considered. Another cost to consider is fuel economy, 11/19mpg for the Vantage Volante and 20/31mpg for the BMW. The BMW’s fuel efficiency will more than make up the extra insurance costs. The 435i should save about 400 gallons of fuel over 3 years/15,000 miles. (assumed average mpg of 15 for the Aston and 25 for the BMW)
Now comes the choice, do you want to spend the next 3 years and $15-20,000 in the safer, more luxurious, more prestigious BMW 435i that comes with free service and warranty? Or take a bit of a risk, tolerate some issues(probably small ones...probably) and spend your sun soaked afternoons listening to that thristy, dirty V12.
You can probably guess what I’d pick, but obviously I wouldn’t kick either out of the garage for an oil leak.