These Are the 5 Fastest-Depreciating Sports Cars

As it turns out, buying an expensive German or Italian car isn’t a wise financial decision.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Oct 17, 2018 12:41 PM
These Are the 5 Fastest-Depreciating Sports Cars

It's hard to fault anyone for wanting a brand-new high-end sports car, but the financial hit that the car's buyer tends to take is enough to dissuade most from buying a showroom-fresh BMW or similar. Used car search engine and research firm released a study detailing the value retention in late model vehicles over five years. Turns out the Mercedes-Benz SL is the endgame of burning cash faster than can be accomplished with a shovel and a furnace.

The study included enthusiast cars, spanning everything from muscle cars and hot hatchbacks to SUVs and sports cars. Data for the study came from 4.3 million used vehicle listings, allowing data scientists to determine what percentage of value a model of car tends to lose over five years after being purchased new.

The following five vehicles are the worst performers in the sports car category, suffering the most depreciation over a five-year period. For reference, the average in the sports car segment is calculated at 46.6 percent.

No. 5: Audi S5, 59.4 Percent Depreciation

, 2018 Audi S5 Sportback (European model), Audi

You know what's nice? A turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, dropped to the ground through all-wheel drive for a zero-to-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. What's not so nice is that of the S5’s starting price of $54,400, more than $33,000 of that is likely to fly out the window over the first five years of ownership. Things only get more dire from here, too.

No. 4: Audi S6, 59.5 Percent Depreciation

, 2016 Audi S6, Audi

With a bigger model number than the S5 comes more power—450 horses from a 4.0-liter V8—and (marginally) worse depreciation. The fact that the S6 starts in the low $70,000-dollar range makes its 59.5 percent average depreciation even more painful. The buyer of a new S6 today will lose more than $40,000 on their vehicle in the next five years.

No. 3: Maserati GranTurismo, 60.5 Percent Depreciation

, 2018 Maserati GranTurismo Sport, Maserati

The only two things meaner than the Maserati GranTurismo's scowling, barracuda-like face are the sounds emitted by its Ferrari-built, 4.7-liter flat plane crank V8...and its depreciation. A new GranTurismo will gut your wallet of $132,975, and then proceed to throw more than 60 percent of that cash into the wind, or just over $80,000 by our calculations.

#2: BMW M5, 61.8 Percent Depreciation

, 2019 BMW M5 Competition, BMW

625 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque are a great way to destroy rubber, and an even better way to empty your bank account. See all the smoke kicked up by the drifting M5 Competition? Imagine those are burning Benjamins, because the 2019 M5 starts at $102,700, and is liable to lose almost $62,500 of that in your first five years of ownership.

#1: Mercedes-Benz SL, 62.6 Percent Depreciation

, 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL 450 Designo Edition, Daimler

The Mercedes-Benz SL is the worst culprit of them all. Its base SL 450 model demands $89,150, of which $55,000 will be gone in five years. If you think you'll be saved this hit by buying the upmarket SL 63 AMG or SL 65 AMG, you're wrong. The AMG SLs lose value at a similar rate of 60.4 percent over five years.

So What Do You Buy?

If owning a sports car is a must, but a decent resale value is also crucial, here are the five vehicles in the segment with the least depreciation.

  1. 35.9 Percent: Subaru WRX
  2. 43.3 Percent: Volkswagen Golf R
  3. 44.6 Percent: Chevrolet Corvette
  4. 45.2 Percent: Subaru BRZ
  5. 45.4 Percent: Dodge Challenger

Head and shoulders above the competition is the Subaru WRX. Not only is the WRX a venerable name, but also one of the few affordable all-wheel-drive performance options available to the masses. With a new one supposedly due in under two years, it could be a fine time to buy a new one.