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buying used

I saw the new Lexus LS at the car show and I can’t stop thinking about it, especially the back seat (it looks like the First Class seats I pass on the way to the back of the plane). I can’t pay $102,000 for a new one, but could I get a used one for half that? I’d want the longest one so I get the most back seat room, as long as it’s enjoyable to drive. – Tony, Edmonton

Even for $100,000-plus, you can’t always have it all.

Flagship sedans, a car maker’s biggest and priciest, are typically either more for drivers or more for the luxury-loving driven (who don’t ever need to know that such things as potholes, or road noise, exist).

The 2013 Porsche Panamera ($47,127 used, on average, according to Canadian Black Book) and 2013 Jaguar XJ L ($38,744) are on the sportier side.

The long-wheelbase 2013 Lexus LS L ($50,325) and Mercedes-Benz S550 LWB ($54,919) veer toward super luxury.

Somewhere more in the middle – relatively sporty and relatively luxurious – are the 2013 Audi A8 L ($40,410) and BMW 740Li ($34,418).

And that’s changing – the newest versions of the LS and 7-series still emphasize comfort, but they’re both edgier than their predecessors.

2013 Lexus LS 460L

  • Fourth generation: 2007-2017 (facelifts for 2010 and 2013)
  • Average asking price for base: $50,325
  • Original MSRP: $102,550
  • Engine: 360-hp 4.6-litre V-8
  • Transmission/Drive: Eight-speed automatic/All-wheel
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 15.1 city, 10.3 highway; premium gas

To figure out why the 2013 Lexus LS 460L cost nearly four times more than a Camry, it helped to be an insider.

“A word about the interior. In a word, it is spectacular,” Globe Drive said. “This is, without a doubt, the quietest automobile I have ever driven – ever.”

Remodelled for 2013, the conservative LS got just a little more personality outside – and on the road.

“This big sedan still wraps its occupants in a cocoon of peace and quiet while wafting down the road in comfort,” review site Edmunds said. “But changes to its two suspension systems and the steering have brought about greater control for the driver.”

The AWD-only 460L was 5.21 metres long over all, 12 centimetres longer than the regular 2013 LS 460 ($42,375 used for rear-wheel drive, $44,525 for AWD). There was also a hybrid, the 600h L ($70,717 used).

Consumer Reports liked the “super-spacious, super-luxurious, super-quiet cabin” and smooth V-8.

But it said rivals were still more engaging to drive – and it didn’t like the infotainment system’s mouse-like controller.

If you weren’t content with mere heated, air-conditioned and massaging rear seats in the 460L, an executive package added a power passenger-side ottoman and infrared body temperature sensors.

Consumer Reports gave the 2018 Lexus LS five out of five for reliability. There were no recalls.

2013 BMW 740Li xDrive

  • Fifth generation: 2009-2015 (facelift for 2013)
  • Average asking price for base: $34,418 (Canadian Black Book)
  • Original MSRP for base: $106,660
  • Engine: 315-hp 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder
  • Transmission/Drive: Eight-speed automatic/All-wheel
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.7 city, 8.9 highway; premium gas

If your wallet was a little light after springing for a loaded 740Li, you could save a little cash at the pumps – if you drove like it told you to.

“You know something has changed when a major selling point for a $120,000 luxury limousine is a driving nanny intended to keep you from wasting gas,” Globe Drive said.

In a 2013 refresh, BMW added start-stop, an Eco Pro driving mode that gives green driving tips and regenerative brakes.

The 740Li was the cheapest 7 Series available in Canada for 2013. At 5.21 metres over all, the L is 14 cm longer than the normal version.

There were other, pricier versions, including the 2013 4.4-litre turbocharged V-8 750i xDrive ($39,362 used) and 750Li xDrive ($43,930 used), the ActiveHybrid 7 ($53,763 used) and the rear-wheel-drive 760Li ($78,187 used) with a 6.0-litre 12-cylinder.

Consumer Reports praised the 7 Series for its powertrain, “nearly non-existent” road noise, “blissfully pleasant cabin,” seat comfort, interior room and fit and finish.

But, it didn’t like the “unremarkable” handling (for a BMW) and the complicated iDrive control system.

Consumer Reports doesn’t have reliability data for the 7 Series.

There was one recall to fix a tail light that didn’t meet safety regulations. It affected just five vehicles.

Send your used car questions to with the subject: “Buying used.”

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