Selling my Audi S5 and crunching the numbers

Introduction

Approximately two years ago, I bought a used 2011 Audi S5.   At the time, I guess I was going through a “mid-life crisis” so went and splurged on a new [to me] car.  Well, as of 2 days ago, I have sold the Audi.  While I loved driving the car, my commute to work is really short (around 10 miles RT.)  Then on the weekends, we took out the SUV just because it’s more comfortable.  The Audi averaged about 3.5K miles per year.  Another thing that “annoyed” me about the Audi was that the car was really low to the ground, and you had to work your abs each time you got out of the car.  Also why I’ve started to work out.  I fully realize the last comment is #oldmanproblems, but once you’ve gotten to a point in your life, you start to not GAF about “looks” and want comfort.  Oh and the last reason is that my Tesla 3 should be coming this fall.  That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  My wife and I DO NOT NEED FOUR CARS!  So that’s why the Audi had to go.

 

Selling the car

I had posted the car on cars.com at first for $29K.  It was the lowest priced 2011 Audi S5 with only 40K miles.  I got a few responses that were trying to lowball me at 24K; one even offered 22K.  I held out since I was in no rush to sell the car.  After a few weeks, I listed it on Craigslist and lowered the price to 27K.  I got the same low offers, and eventually I stopped responding to them.  I think in all, I got about 5 inquiries and only 3 serious ones.  After a month, I got a call from a guy in Bellingham who wanted to check out the car in person.  We met up in the morning in the parking lot of a grocery store (after my MS run.)  He test drove it for a bit.  Then the moment of truth… “will you take 24K?”  I told him, “Naaah.  Someone else was going to buy it for 26K, but never got back to me, so that’s the lowest.”  Quick aside – The KBB on the car was 27K in ‘excellent’ condition.  He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “Okay, I can do 26K.”  He then gave me a $500 deposit and a few days later, came back with a cashier’s check for the rest.

 

The math

I had paid $40K for the car exactly 2 years ago, of which about $4K was the extra 4 year warranty.  The brakes and tires cost me an additional $1K.  I won’t count gas, oil, and insurance since I would have paid that on any other car.  So in total, this car cost me $41K and I got $26K back for a net loss of $15K in 2 years.  I actually didn’t realize the warranty was transferable and that I had 2 years left (I knew I had at least 1 year left,) so that probably cost me an additional $1-2K, but I won’t get into that.  That meant the car cost me $7,500 per year to drive.

If I had leased a new car say for 3 years, to keep the same $625 monthly payment, I could have driven a new $45K car (assuming 60% residual.)  A new Audi S5 goes for $60K+ however and so that wouldn’t have been possible.  I could have gotten an A5 maybe.  Whatever new car I would have gotten wouldn’t have been the same as the Audi S5.

 

Lease vs Buy New vs Buy Used

In my scenario, buying used was my best bet since I only lost 15K.  If I had leased a brand new S5, it would have probably cost me $12000 per year, so $24K total after 2 years.  If I had bought a brand new S5 and sold it after 2 years (terrible decision due to the up front tax,) it would have probably cost me $71K out the door ($65K + 6K tax) and realistically, I’d hope to get maybe $50K for a loss of 21k.  Granted the last 2 options are newer and better cars.  The best option was really to not buy ANY car and saved myself the $15K, but I digress.

 

Conclusion

If I could do it again, I still would have bought the car.  It was fun to drive the last 2 years, but now I’m done with it.  Now I’m just looking forward to the Tesla.

  • Elias

    I hate to disagree but your numbers are very very wrong. Check leasehackr.com for deals on car leases… that is another world like MS and churning.

    I am leasing a 55k Fully equiped G80 for about $285 a month…

    Leasing would have been much better in your case…

    • Miles per Day

      That’s because you timed a great deal where multiple things had to happen – dealership discount, higher residual value, price just recently dropped, etc (basically moon and stars had to align.) And you can’t apply that to any car; has to be a specific one. Why don’t you call Audi and ask them how much a lease for a new S5 all in would be.

      • Elias

        Yes you are right, my case is extreme. But so is most of what we try to accomplish right? thats why I follow your blog. To go after the best deals! But looking at your specific car, I think more realistic numbers for an S5 are around $600-$700~~ per month. And the same rules apply to car lease hacking, you dont just call Audi to get their sticker price. You negotiate with several dealers for the best price. Usually dealers that are not located in well known areas are better at discounting prices and knowing the incentives and MF of the car before emailing them helps a lot, and also the fact that you let them know that you are emailing several dealers in your state for the best price.

  • pointsrus

    $1000 per month to lease a new S5 is high. You are looking at around $700 per month to lease a new S5.
    That is factoring in audi leases – which are expensive than comparable BMW leases..

    I leased a ’16 535i BMW around the same time (now 18 months into the lease). I am paying $650 pm for a $72k MSRP car (WA tax and lease acquisition fee of 1k are included in the payment).

    I would say your overall cost came close to leasing a new audi S5 for 2 years, 7.5k miles per year provided you leased at end of month or during model year close-outs or during december sale events. With new car buying/leasing, timing matters a lot, that is why it is very hard to compare 2 deal-brags gotten at different points in time.

  • Veronica Forest

    Did you look into renting the car out with one of those ride sharing services? Since you already owned it instead of selling it for a loss.

    • Miles per Day

      Veronica, I did. I seriously looked at Turo. A couple of days a month and that would have covered the monthly payment. However, I didn’t want to deal with the logistics around delivering and cleaning the car. I also heard some bad stories, so decided to just sell it.

  • Ling Lin

    I simply broke into laughter when you said you brought an Audi because of “mid-life” crisis. Mine is around the corner but I know I won’t be able to afford an Audi.

    • Miles per Day

      The ‘mid life crisis’ is a real thing. Trust me. =) I’m just glad I got over it really quickly.

  • J. Greisman

    Interesting…I’m also near that mid-life crisis mode. I have been contemplating splurging for a new 2017 Infiniti Q50 400 Sport with 400 HP…when everyone in my family think I will get tired of it. How long did it take for that new road excitement to wear out for you? Trying to decide between this and a nice roomy Lexus for the family.

    • Miles per Day

      Oh no, I wouldn’t get the Q50. That’s how all of this shit got started. Cuz I saw a lease deal on a new Q50. We went to test drive it and wife said, “This looks like an old man’s car.” And that’s how the S5 eventually came about. But to each their own.

      • J. Greisman

        Agreed. I test drove the Q50 and the 400 horses blew me away and I was instantly in love. I never test drove the S5 b/c it was out of my price range but I did give an A4 a go and it was nothing compared to the Q50. Bottom line, your taste may vary.

        Seriously though, any tips on getting over the mid-life crisis?

        • Miles per Day

          Aren’t you a lawyer? Just splurge. If not, you can keep holding in the mid-life crisis but it WILL nag at you for years and you’ll keep regretting it, so may as well YOLO.

          • J. Greisman

            Good advice. I agree.

          • J. Greisman

            Update – I went and got the q50. Wife was mad. Took her for a drive in the mountains. She loves the car now.

          • Miles per Day

            Haha you don’t mess around. Let me know in 6 months if you still regret it.

  • Mark Ostermann

    I would say a lot of the time the lease would work out just because of the upkeep and maintenance on a used car if you are only keeping it 2 years. But if you get lucky and the used car doesn’t have issues then you come out ahead. We usually buy used and hold them for 5-6 years. Just dumped my wife’s volvo last year after 200k in miles and a lot of issues building up. Wanted to get another year out of it but bit the bullet. She drives 20-25k a year for work so I try to make them last if I can!

    • Miles per Day

      Yeah my goal was to keep it for 4 years. If I had done that, the ROI prop woulda been better.

  • Ken

    I’ve had an 02 WRX wagon for 12 years now and it has moved maybe 5k miles in the past few years since I work from home. Putting it up for sale before we move to TX, but I really doubt it’ll sell in a week and if that’s the case we’ll trailer it to TX and my wife will drive her beatup Forester with 268k miles on it and we’ll sell both cars once we get to TX.

    • Miles per Day

      I heard it takes about a month or so to sell a car. Just need more time for eyes on the ad. Good luck.

      • Ken

        Yup. Probably going to trailer it to TX with us. Subarus are like gold in CO though, so maybe I can lowball for the area and it’ll still be higher than anything I could get in TX.

        • Miles per Day

          Man, I’d sell it a bit of a loss just to not deal with the hassle of trailer.

          • Ken

            I’ll put it up once we’re back rental hunting this weekend in TX. If I can sell it for a loss I’ll probably do so. We’re trailering at least one car either way. It’s no big deal, we did that from NC to CO behind the Budget truck and it was fine. Don’t know if I trust my wife’s beater to drive 800 miles nonstop though.

    • Mark Ostermann

      Have you done the autotrader thing just to see what kind of offer you get?

      • Ken

        I’m not done returning the car to stock so it’s not up for sale yet. It’s what I get for procrastinating. Do you mean take it to Autonation? They’re a total ripoff. Tried that with my wife’s 2 year old Versa and they offered 9k. Took it down the street to a private dealership who offered 13k.

        • Mark Ostermann

          I did it with my BMW 5 years ago and they were actually a little higher then private dealers were offering but less then if you sold it yourself. I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of selling it.

          https://www.autotrader.com/trade-in-instant-cash-offer

  • Ted

    Wait…so you and your wife have THREE cars before you sold the S5?

    • Ted

      Oh wait nvm, are you counting the TWO Tesla 3s you pre-ordered?

      I’m still driving a 2003 Accord with 240k miles on it (for past 9 years). Been contemplating getting a newer car (bouncing between Tesla 3 and Civic SI), but there really isn’t anything wrong with this one… I’ve got toddlers but that’s not going to stop me from getting a sportier car, hah! We’ve got a minivan for that.

      Btw, you should test drive the M2 if you can find one!

      • Miles per Day

        No, I had 3 – the audi, the suv, and a hyundai. the hyundai was my MS / Home Depot run car, but it’s now my main car.

        • Mark Ostermann

          Was the SUV the one you didn’t really want to buy but they gave you your insane price that you quoted them?

          • Miles per Day

            Yeah. there’s a post on it.

  • Erik

    Its a reasonable cost plus you’ve got to give yourself some perks to enjoy. A nice car thats fun to drive etc good looking is something that most people appreciate despite the cost.