CarGurus Study: Value Retention of Mainstream Luxury Class 2008 Vehicles

October 24, 2011


The objective of this study was to analyze the value retention of comparable vehicles from mainstream premium vehicle manufacturers to determine which have held more value since their original purchase in 2008. CarGurus focused the analysis on three segments (midsize sedans, full-size sedans and SUVs) and considered 2008 offerings from the following manufacturers: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz.


Of the models studied, the Lexus models consistently held their value well, with current market values holding at an average of 80% of the original manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP). Mercedes-Benz (75% average value retention), BMW (74%) and Infiniti (74%) models also showed strong value retention overall. In contrast, current market values for the 2008 Cadillac, Lincoln and Acura models studied were on average just 68% or less of original MSRP.


The following table shows overall value retention by manufacturer:

Manufacturer Overall Average Value Retention
Lexus 80%
Mercedes-Benz 75%
BMW 74%
Infiniti 74%
Audi 70%
Acura 68%
Lincoln 65%
Cadillac 61%

The following charts highlight the study findings by vehicle type. The value retention indicated below for each model represents the average of all trims analyzed for each model.

Midsize Sedans Average Current Instant Market Value Average Original MSRP Value Retention (as a % of MSRP)
Lexus IS $28,261 $33,972 83%
Mercedes-Benz C-Class $28,010 $33,948 83%
Lexus ES $27,188 $33,820 81%
BMW 3 Series $27,719 $35,517 78%
Infiniti G35 $25,961 $33,188 78%
Cadillac CTS $25,800 $33,395 77%
Audi A4 $23,531 $33,163 71%
Acura TL $25,101 $36,058 69%
Lincoln MKZ $21,118 $31,490 67%
Full-Size Sedans Average Current Instant Market Value Average Original MSRP Value Retention (as a % of MSRP)
Lexus GS 350 $33,463 $45,125 74%
BMW 5 Series $33,905 $50,060 68%
Infiniti M35 $30,077 $44,775 67%
Audi A6 $30,902 $48,450 64%
Mercedes-Benz E-Class $35,416 $55,160 64%
Acura RL $27,568 $48,090 57%
Cadillac DTS $25,150 $46,420 54%
Cadillac STS $25,748 $49,005 53%
Lincoln Town Car $25,590 $48,098 53%
SUVs Average Current Instant Market Value Average Original MSRP Value Retention (as a % of MSRP)
Lexus RX $32,752 $40,040 82%
Mercedes-Benz M-Class $37,713 $47,250 80%
BMW X5 $39,660 $50,200 79%
Infiniti FX35 $28,666 $38,800 74%
Audi Q7 $36,716 $49,817 74%
Lincoln MKX $26,924 $36,715 73%
Acura MDX $32,161 $44,825 72%
Lincoln Navigator $34,144 $51,695 66%
Cadillac SRX $26,912 $41,115 66%
Cadillac Escalade $43,421 $67,543 65%


The analysis focused on comparable 2008 models from the mainstream luxury manufacturers in the three segments in which each OEM has offerings: midsize sedans, full-size sedans and SUVs. In each category and for each model, CarGurus analyzed values for most available trims. Some high-performance trims were deemed not comparable and were thus not included. In cases where the manufacturer offered more than one comparable model in a category, both models were considered.

The value retention cited for each model represents the average of all model trims considered. To arrive at the overall value retention for each model trim, CarGurus compared the original manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) to the current CarGurus’ DealFinder Instant Market Value for the same car with 36,000 miles (12,000 per year). CarGurus’ DealFinder IMV is based on a proprietary pricing model that analyzes historic and current prices of thousands of comparable listings at the trim level to determine the market value for the car. The overall value retention rate cited for each manufacturer is an average of all models considered for that manufacturer.

Amy Mueller