As an experienced mechanic who has seen these vehicles come through my garage over the years, I can tell you that some cars will lose value faster than others.
Regarding the fastest depreciating cars on the market, some clear standouts plummet in value during the first five years of ownership.
I’ve compiled data and my own insights on the ten quickest depreciators that you’ll want to avoid if retaining value is important to you.
Table 1: The Fastest Depreciating Cars
|Depreciation Rate (%)
|BMW 7 Series
|BMW 5 Series
|Cadillac Escalade ESV
1: Maserati Quattroporte
The ultra-luxury Maserati sedan leads the pack with a whopping 65% depreciation after 5 years. Known for exquisite Italian styling and thrilling performance from its Ferrari-built V8 engine, the Quattroporte still manages to shed value at record pace.
Why? High maintenance costs scare away secondhand buyers. Major services easily cost thousands, parts are expensive, and only specialty mechanics can provide repairs.
The Quattroporte also battles an inherent identity crisis—while considered a premier luxury brand in Italy, Maserati still lacks the widespread prestige to avoid rapid depreciation in America compared to Mercedes or BMW.
However, the driving experience is supremely enjoyable. Just be prepared to pay the price long after that new car aroma has faded.
As a mechanic, I must tip my hat to Maserati’s designers for the Quattroporte’s gorgeous aesthetic. But under the hood, the components don’t quite match the level of quality and reliability expected of a six-figure Italian masterpiece. Be ready to visit your mechanic often to keep this beauty running.
2: BMW 7 Series
Known as BMW’s flagship sedan, the 7 Series depreciates 62% after 5 years primarily from astronomical maintenance and repair costs. A new set of tires alone exceeds $1000.
Furthermore, complex systems like the twin-turbo V8 require specialized mechanics and tend to develop issues outside of warranty, translating to eyewatering bills.
Being the ultimate driving machine comes at an ultimate price over the long run. Of course, few vehicles can compete with the 7 Series for sheer performance, technology, and cabin refinement. You’ll just need deep pockets long after paying off the loan.
I’ll never forget the time a friend of mine brought an out-of-warranty 7 Series as used luxury car.
Just two months later, he showed up at my shop with a $3,000+ repair bill for failures in the electronic suspension system and onboard computer networks. Suffice to say, he learned his lesson about why used high-end BMWs end up so affordable!
3: Maserati Ghibli
Sharing a name with a famous hot desert wind, the Ghibli sedan certainly brings the heat with a Ferrari powerplant under the hood.
With a 5-year depreciation rate at 61%. Why the rapid value loss? You can blame the commonality of electrical gremlins and rattles inside on subpar interior craftsmanship.
Of course, the Ghibli still provides an intensely exciting driving experience and head-turning Italian style. But build quality fails to impress compared to other imports, and doesn’t uphold resale value.
Those looking to scratch the Maserati itch on a budget should consider the Ghibli…just don’t expect to regain much value down the road.
Having fixed my fair share of issues in Ghiblis over the years, I’ve noticed the leather stitching and trim materials seem to wear and peel prematurely compared to what you would find inside an equivalently priced Mercedes or BMW.
FCA just doesn’t have the best track record for longevity. While glorious to look at on the showroom floor, these eye-catching details won’t hold up to years of everyday use.
4: BMW 5 Series
The midsize 5 Series sedan retains technology, performance and luxury to rival the best in class, but still depreciates up to 59% after 5 years.
Why the drastic plunge? Some blame ubiquitous fleet and company car use diluting exclusivity. Additionally, the proliferation of BMW’s badge diminishes the cache of owning one.
Of course, a certified pre-owned 5 Series makes a fantastic value holding practicality, technology and driving dynamics rivaling luxury icons costing twice as much. Just know that you’ll pay for it down the road at trade-in.
Having spent many hours under the hoods of various BMWs, the engineering that goes into their performance sedans still manages to impress me. However, the complexity comes at a cost once they are out of warranty.
I once saw a 5 series roll into my shop with a fried electronic control unit that disabled nearly every function in the car, from the radio to the door locks. The repair required technicians flying in from Germany. Suffice to say it stretched the owner’s budget more than an economy car.
5: Cadillac Escalade ESV
The Escalade ESV holds the dubious honor of being one of the fastest depreciating vehicles GM manufactures, shedding up to 59% of value after 5 years.
Why the steep plunge? High volume production numbers dilute exclusivity over time. Being a legacy GM product, the quality and technology fail to impress late-model buyers despite a hefty original MSRP.
Furthermore, rapidly evolving full-size SUV competition continually leave the Escalade feeling dated. However, significant room for passengers and cargo still make it attractive for large families or businessmen willing to sacrifice the latest tech. Just don’t expect a great trade-in offer down the road.
Working primarily on domestic vehicles, I’ve handled more than a few Escalades over my career. While comfortable highway cruisers, the cheap plastic bits inside show their age quickly compared to SUVs from Lexus or Range Rover.
And the tiny screens running outdated software seem archaic by the third or fourth model year. Just be ready to accept the Escalade for what it is–a big, brash American luxury SUV that emphasizes presence over perfection.
6: BMW X5
BMW’s midsize luxury SUV sheds up to 58% of value over 5 years of average ownership. Why does this capable luxury crossover depreciate like a rock?
You can partly blame brand dilution on BMW’s over-proliferation of SUV crowding showrooms in recent years, including the X3, X4, X5, X6, X7…
You get the point. When buying used, consumers perceive the X5 as merely another BMW crossover rather than an exclusive choice.
However, the X5 holds the advantage of still being manufactured stateside in South Carolina, allowing for greater availability of affordable parts and mechanics familiar with maintenance.
If you can stomach the steep depreciation, it remains a solid value retaining impressive driving manners and performance.
Having owned an X5 myself at one point, I still understand the appeal despite lagging resale value.
The cabin offers space for the whole family while maintaining BMW’s renowned driving feel that other midsize crossovers can’t match. Just be religious about scheduled maintenance, as years of BMW engineering complexity always rears its head out-of-warranty.
7: Infiniti QX80
Infiniti’s full-size luxury SUV also makes the list, shedding 58% after half a decade. What gives? An aging platform dating back to 2011 fails to incorporate latest tech and refinement expected in the segment. Fuel economy also trails rivals.
Furthermore, questionable Infiniti brand prestige places the QX80 at a disadvantage in the used marketplace. However, value-oriented buyers are rewarded with significant interior room at bargain pricing for a luxury badge. Just don’t expect strong resale value down the road.
Working at an independent shop, we service vehicles across a wide price spectrum.
I’ll admit that the Infiniti QX80 doesn’t leave much of an impression despite its imposing size. Unlike Range Rovers and Cadillac Escalades which make bold styling statements, the aging QX80 feels generic inside and out. There’s nothing overtly wrong with it per se as a comfortable cruiser.
But you can find similarly priced full-size SUVs with more road presence and latest cabin tech unless depreciation is your main concern.
8: Maserati Levante
Maserati returns to the list with its Levante SUV, shedding 58% of value over 5 years. This luxury crossover faces an uphill battle courting buyers, being the Trident brand’s debut SUV lacking proven reputation.
Furthermore, like other Maseratis, poor electronics and subpar build quality hurt resale value down the road despite exclusivity.
Of course, performance stands out packing a Ferrari-built engine under the hood putting down 424 to 580 horsepower depending on the model. The Levante also represents a rare Italian-bred SUV for a unique alternative to German options. Just know you’ll pay the price long after that new car smell has faded.
As a mechanic, I admire the Levante’s audacious styling and ambition to court luxury SUV buyers. The concept of a Maserati SUV still boggles my mind after decades working on their hand-built cars.
However, make no mistake that the Levante is still very much an Italian exotic underneath despite the added ride height. Be prepared to pamper this SUV with premium fuel and frequent shop visits to maintain the high performance under the skin.
9: Jaguar XF
The sleek Jaguar XF sedan sheds up to 58% of value over 5 years despite refined driving dynamics and attractive styling.
What gives? Jaguar still battles perception of poor reliability and quality control despite recent improvement. Complex British engineering and electronics give buyers pause in the pre-owned marketplace.
The rapid rise of SUV sales also hinders Jaguar, causing the XF to feel stale up against German midsize luxury competition.
However, significant depreciation rewards shoppers willing to tolerate the growing pains of a legacy brand reinventing itself. Just brace yourself for potentially hefty repair bills outside of warranty.
As a mechanic partial to British cars, I still admit that Jaguars suffer an unfortunate reputation for subpar electronics and finicky engineering.
However, the XF brings genuine luxury and driver engagement to the midsize segment despite struggling resale value. Just make sure to enlist a specialist you trust when issues inevitably arise. Think of the XF as an exotic masquerading as an ordinary sedan both in virtues and vices.
10: Audi A7
Rounding out the list, the swoopy Audi A7 sheds up to 57% over 5 years despite plenty of appeal. What causes such extreme depreciation for this tech-savvy hatchback?
You can blame high maintenance costs and evidence of corner cutting more commonly found in mainstream Audis. Furthermore, competitive rivalry against the Mercedes CLS and BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe splinters the niche luxury segment, hindering resale value.
Still, the A7 dashes to 60 mph in under 5 seconds thanks to peppy supercharged V6 engines while retaining everyday hatchback practicality. The price premium simply melts away quicker than competition.
While a mechanical workhorse under the skin, my time working on A7s has revealed electrical vulnerabilities and strange cost-cutting measures for a supposed flagship.
Case in point–many A7 models lack a spare tire from the factory despite the capacious cargo space. Instead owners must rely on a can of sealant goo and an air compressor (depending on the market).
Average Value Loss on Each Model
|Value Loss ($)
|BMW 7 Series
|BMW 5 Series
|Cadillac Escalade ESV