Budget luxury wheels
THERE’S no need to spend big or take a hit from the government to get a premium badge.
The definition of a luxury car has changed dramatically in the past decade.
The government treats a car as a luxury item and slugs the buyer 33 cents in the dollar if it costs more than $64,132.
The irony is that just about anybody who buys a Toyota Prado, for example, is also paying Luxury Car Tax (LCT).
But the good news is that there are plenty of cars with luxury badges that limbo well underneath that figure.
If you’re happy for your luxury fix to come in a small package, you can get an Audi A1 for $28,600. A little more gets you an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while a BMW or Mercedes-Benz badge can be had from less than $40,000.
It doesn’t stop there. You can get family sedans and SUVs that are the right side of the luxury car tax. And if your choice is a fuel miser, a higher LCT threshold of $75,526 applies to cars claiming fuel consumption of 7.0L/100km or less.
Can you afford a luxury badge and avoid LCT? Sure. As the late, great Kerry Packer said, “Anybody in the country who does not minimise his tax wants his head read.”
Some of the best ways are the Audi A3 Sportback. The range starts at $35,900 for the 1.0 TFSI.
BMW’s 1 Series starts at $37,990 but the sweet spot in the range is the 125i M Sport, which is good value at $49,000.
The Mercedes-Benz C250 is $69,400 with a 2.0-litre turbo, the C250d with superb 2.1-litre turbo diesel is $70,900 and the C350e hybrid is $75,300.
Jaguar’s XE 20t Prestige sneaks under the LCT with a price of $60,400 before onroads.
If you must have an SUV and a prestige badge, the little Audi Q2, (above) starts with a frontdrive 1.4-litre turbo for $41,100 plus on-roads.
Audi claims it has five million colour and trim options, so the Q2 can suit any taste.
BMW’s X1 is the most spacious of the compact luxury SUVs, kicking off at $50,600 for the front-wheel drive (sDrive in BMW-speak) 20i, with 2.0-litre turbo.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport variants are powered by the company’s super-refined 2.0-litre turbo diesel that comfortably slides under the 7.0L/100km rate.
Prices start at $56,355 for the TD4 150 SE.
Audi’s four-seater convertibles start at $49,000 for the front-drive A3 1.4 TFSI.
It goes well and, for a compact convertible, it’s spacious and comfortable.
The BMW 230i coupe is $61,900 and the convertible $71,900. You also get rear-drive, so it handles like a real sports car. The convertible is a fourseater with a folding soft-top.