In 1970, Janis Joplin sang “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?” When she did, it’s unlikely that she had thought through the full implications of her request, and it was a good bet that she had failed to take into account the total cost of owning such a vehicle. What about gas mileage? What about the cost of repairs or insurance, not to mention depreciation and taxes?
Anyone considering the purchase of a new automobile has to think about more than just the sticker price, and ask how much the car is going to cost them to own. Edmunds.com, an automotive information website, offers a tool to help consumers understand what they’re getting into as they weigh this process. It’s called "True Cost to Own®" (TCO®), and it’s a resource that calculates how much one should expect to pay over a five-year period for all of the hidden costs incurred after driving a new car off the lot.
By calculating depreciation, interest on financing, taxes and fees, insurance, gas, upkeep and repairs, TCO® determines the total cost of owning a new car for five years. It helps consumers understand not just whether they can afford to buy that car, but whether they can afford five years’ worth of keeping it. In the words of one Edmunds.com analyst, “TCO® lets consumers see the depth of the water before jumping in the deep end."
Using data from Edmunds.com, CNBC.com collected the makes, models and styles of the 2011 automobiles with the highest TCO® figures. Which are the most expensive cars to own? Click ahead and find out.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 8 July 2011
TCO® Total: $128,262
Taxes & Fees: $8,791
Finance Interest: $15,877
Fuel Costs: $16,066
When the Porsche Cayenne was introduced to the North American market in 2003, it was considered nothing less than heresy by car aficionados. Porsche had manufactured some of the most distinctive luxury automobiles in the world, and here they were, creating a product for the SUV market. At best, they were slumming. At worst, they were selling out.
Despite all the grousing, the Cayenne proved a popular item, and it’s been a strong seller since its introduction. The 2011 Cayenne Turbo SUV carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $106,000, but after five years’ worth of expenses, such as over $5,000 in maintenance costs, $7,000 in insurance costs and $16,000 in fuel costs, buyers should be prepared for associated expenses to exceed $128,000.
Note: Costs are for the Porsche Cayenne Turbo 4dr SUV 4WD (4.8L 8cyl Turbo 8A).
TCO® Total: $132,097
Taxes & Fees: $8,007
Finance Interest: $14,456
Fuel Costs: $16,066
The Jaguar XJ has been in production since 1968, and it is considered one of the world’s classic cars. The company redesigned it in 2003, but they mistakenly believed that the outside appearance should stay the same, even though everything beneath the shell had been completely re-engineered. The newly-redesigned car attracted a bevy of criticism for its unchanged exterior, and the company responded by completely redesigning its appearance. The Jaguar XJ 2011 was the result.
Jaguar’s XJ Supersport retails for $110,200, and given the painstaking craftsmanship involved in its redesign, it’s easy to see why. Its ability to go from zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds is pretty impressive too. However, after factoring in over $4,000 in repair costs, $5,000 in maintenance costs and $8,000 in taxes and fees, buyers should expect to pay over $132,000 for five years of ownership.
Note: Costs are for the Jaguar XJ Supersport 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl S/C 6A).
TCO® Total: $132,325
Taxes & Fees: $8,333
Finance Interest: $15,011
Fuel Costs: $19,509
The second generation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS class Sedan was introduced in 2010. When the CLS class debuted four years earlier, it had heralded a return to executive-size cars, which the company had abandoned in 1995 in favor of more compact models. In 2011, the company added two models to the CLS-Class, the CLS550 and the CLS63 AMG, and while both are outfitted with generous amenities, the CLS63 AMG has more powerful brakes and V8, and even has a Bang and Olufsen surround-sound system, so the driver can more effectively get the Led out while achieving a top speed of 186 miles per hour.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS63 AMG 4 door Sedan carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $99,050. However, don’t let the modest five-figure sticker price fool you. Insurance costs exceed $14,000, interest on financing is over $15,000 and fuel costs are greater than $19,000. Anyone wishing to own one should expect to part with over $132,000 after five years.
Note: Costs are for the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS63 AMG 4dr Sedan (6.2L 8cyl 7A).
TCO® Total: $132,949
Taxes & Fees: $8,670
Finance Interest: $15,645
Fuel Costs: $19,509
The Range Rover is an SUV that celebrated its 40th year of production in 2010. To mark this momentous occasion, it was overhauled inside and out, most notably receiving 5.0 liter V8. All of the latest modifications are included in the 2011 model, but what has remained unchanged is this SUV’s ability to negotiate the most inhospitable off-highway terrain.
The Range Rover Supercharged 4 door SUV from Land Rover retails for $94,615. However, it has drawbacks that substantially pad its incidental costs, such as fuel economy that Edmunds.com describes as “abysmal,” and which brings fuel costs close to $20,000 in a five-year period. That expense combines with taxes and fees approaching $9,000 and insurance costs exceeding $12,000, bringing its TCO® total close to $133,000.
Note: Costs are for the Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged 4dr SUV 4WD (5.0L 8cyl S/C 6A).
TCO® Total: $146,733
Taxes & Fees: $9,323
Finance Interest: $16,856
Fuel Costs: $22,771
The “G” in Mercedes-Benz’s G-Class stands for “geländewagen,” a German word that means “off-roader.” This is appropriate for a four-wheel drive SUV whose off-road capabilities are considerable. The car was introduced in 1979 and chosen by the German Army for use as a light military vehicle, and although it was intended to be replaced when the new GL-Class was introduced in 2006, the G-Class remains in production, and it’s expected to stay that way until 2015.
The G55 AMG 4 door SUV has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $124,450 which, while not exactly cheap, is to be expected from a vehicle carrying the Mercedes-Benz name. What should also be expected is associated costs totalling almost $147,000, including over $13,000 for insurance, almost $17,000 in interest and almost $23,000 for fuel.
Note: Costs are for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class G55 AMG 4dr SUV 4WD (5.4L 8cyl S/C 5A).
TCO® Total: $155,880
Taxes & Fees: $10,413
Finance Interest: $18,881
Fuel Costs: $18,215
Bavarian Motor Works, better known as BMW, has been offering full-size luxury vehicles since 1916. It introduced its flagship 7 Series in 1977, and as of this year it’s being upgraded to accommodate a six-cylinder engine. The 760Li is the most lavish model in the series, and it features such amenities as xenon headlights, leather upholstery and emergency telematics. It can also go from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds.
BMW’s 7 Series 760Li 4 door Sedan retails for $137,300, which is not surprising given its luxurious features and lavish details. However, fuel costs and interest costs each exceed $18,000, and insurance costs are more than $10,000. However, it’s worth mentioning that owners should expect to pay less than $3,000 to fix this Sedan over a five-year period. Altogether, this car costs almost $156,000 to own.
Note: Costs are for the BMW 7 Series 760Li 4dr Sedan (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 8A).
TCO® Total: $169,634
Taxes & Fees: $12,873
Finance Interest: $23,455
Fuel Costs: $14,372
The Porsche 911 was introduced in 1963, and was designed for automotive competition, in which it has routinely excelled, winning Daytona, Nürburgring and 24 Hours of Le Mans during the 1970s. The 911 has been manufactured in multiple iterations in 2011, such as the GT2 RS, the GT3 RS and the GT3 RS 4.0. However, the appropriately named Turbo can go from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds, virtually guaranteeing the ongoing adoration of automobile enthusiasts the world over.
The Turbo S 2 door Convertible costs $172,100 to drive off of the lot, and carries a relatively low repair cost of just over $3,000 for five years. However, both insurance and fuel will cost buyers over $14,000 each, and the interest on finance exceeds an already excessive $23,000. Its TCO® total is $169,634, making it the only car on this list that costs more to buy than to own.
Note: Costs are for the Porsche 911 Turbo S 2dr Convertible AWD (3.8L 6cyl Turbo 7AM).
TCO® Total: $209,350
Taxes & Fees: $14,331
Finance Interest: $26,193
Fuel Costs: $18,215
The Audi is a German sports car manufacturer whose subsidiary, quattro GmbH, specializes in high-performance vehicles. The R8 was introduced at the Paris Auto Show in 2006, but it wasn’t until the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show that it made its official debut. It’s used in both the British Superbike Championship racing series and in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters as a pace car.
The Spyder model, which was featured in the films Iron Man 2 and Date Night, is a convertible, and it costs $162,700. One should expect to pay over $14,000 in taxes and fees and over $26,000 in interest on financing. Buyers should also expect their investment to depreciate by over $123,000, roughly 75% of its purchase price. All told, this car costs over $209,000 to own.
Note: Costs are for the Audi R8 5.2 quattro Spyder 2dr Convertible AWD (5.2L 10cyl 6AM).
TCO® Total: $251,505
Taxes & Fees: $15,354
Finance Interest: $28,118
Fuel Costs: $19,509
The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is a high-performance grand tourer vehicle designed for long distance journeys taken at high speeds. It currently comes in four models, the CL500, the CL600, the CL63 AMG and the CL65 AMG, but the 621 horsepower CL65 AMG is the most powerful of them all, as well as the most expensive.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $209,300. Much of the cost involved in owning it is represented by fuel costs of over $19,000, interest on financing exceeding $28,000 and insurance costs greater than $34,000. However, the largest percentage of this car’s TCO® total is in depreciation by over $144,000. Altogether, this makes the car cost over $251,000 to own.
Note: Costs are for the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL65 AMG 2dr Coupe (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 5A).
TCO® Total: $252,946
Taxes & Fees: $15,295
Finance Interest: $27,982
Fuel Costs: $19,509
Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class is a luxury sedan series introduced in 1972. Although the German company specializes in high-end vehicles, the S-Class is in a class of its own. In fact, the “S” in “S-Class” stands for “Sonderklasse,” a German word that literally means “in a class of its own.” Little wonder then that the S-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s flagship model, and its best selling.
The S65 AMG retails for $209,000, so it’s not the most expensive car on this list to buy. It is, however, the most expensive to own, and anyone purchasing it should expect to pay almost $253,000 for the privilege. Repair costs come in at a reasonable $2,810, but interest costs are almost $28,000, insurance costs exceed $34,000 and the vehicle is expected to depreciate by almost $146,000.
Note: Costs are for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class S65 AMG 4dr Sedan (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 5A).