In the automotive world, few things can beat the might, sound, and smooth power delivery of a proper V12 engine. V12 engines take a lot of time, money, and engineering expertise to build, which is why they’re typically used in the most expensive supercars.
Owning a V12-powered car seems like a far-fetched dream for gearheads working on a tight budget, but thanks to the used car market, it’s not. There are plenty of V12-powered used cars that cost less than a brand-new Kia K5 today. However, before running to the nearest used car lot to get one, keep in mind that, while they may be cheap, V12-powered cars can be extremely expensive to maintain, fuel, and insure. If you’re still willing to take the risk, here are some of the cheapest V12-powered cars available today. We used the Hagerty Valuation Tool to ensure that all prices are accurate.
Aston Martin DB7 — $26,500
Yes, you read that right — there’s an Aston on a ‘cheap’ list. The DB7 may not be included in the list of the greatest Astons ever created, but since it’s the most produced Aston of all time, it’s still an important part of the company’s history.
This gorgeous beast was powered by a 5.9-liter V12, blurting out 420 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. When paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, the DB7 could achieve a top speed of 186 mph, making it one of the fastest British sports cars of the ’90s. The DB7 costs around $26,500, which is extremely cheap for an Aston Martin.
Jaguar XJS — $11,000
The XJS had a terrible start to life in 1975. It was developed as a successor to the iconic E-Type, but since it lacked the E-Type’s sheer beauty and sporting prowess, everyone hated it. However, Jaguar persisted and managed to sell more than 115,000 examples of the XJS over a 20-year production run.
There were multiple versions of the XJS, but none of them could beat the V12-powered XJS-R. Powered by a 6.0-liter V12 with 329 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque on tap, the XJS-R was a powerful and supremely comfortable ride.
1991 BMW 850i — $24,500
When BMW introduced the 850i in the early ’90s, it was one of the most technologically advanced cars of the day. For starters, the 850i was among the first CAD-designed cars and had an elegant, aerodynamic body featuring pop-up headlights. It also had pillar-less doors and plenty of gadgets for drivers to play with.
The 850i was powered by BMW’s first-ever production V12 — a 5.0-liter unit producing up to 296 hp. The 850i currently costs around $24,500, but you better get one ASAP since prices are rising.
2004 Bentley Continental GT — $25,300
Introduced in 2003, the Continental GT is lauded as the car that changed Bentley’s fortunes. It was the first car Bentley developed under Volkswagen’s ownership, which means it had to sell well to keep the British marque alive.
The Continental GT was a heavy car with a luxurious wood and leather interior and a four-wheel-drive system. To give it the power it needed, Bentley equipped it with Volkswagen’s s 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine producing 552 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to reach a top speed of 198 mph.
Mercedes-Benz SL600(R129) — $25,500
Introduced in 1990, the SL600 R129 is a sporty two-door grand tourer adored for its over-engineered nature. The R129 was based on the Mercedes-Benz W124 and had many innovative details, including seat-integrated seat belts, electronically controlled damping, and an automatically extending roll-over bar.
Mercedes-Benz offered the R129 with various engines, with the most powerful being a 6.0-liter M120 V12 producing 389 hp. The SL600 R129 costs around $25,500 today. Interestingly, its successor — the SL600 R230 — costs less, but any gearhead will advise you to get the R129.
Toyota Century – $13,000
The Toyota Century is probably the only car on this list that won’t force you to spend a fortune on repairs and maintenance. Introduced in 1967, the Century is a premium, full-size luxury sedan developed to appeal to Japan’s wealthiest individuals.
The second-generation Century was introduced in 1997, and it wowed everyone with its elegant design and luxurious finishes. However, the most interesting feature of the 1997 Century was that it was the first Japanese car to use a V12 engine. To this day, the Century is still the only V12-powered Japanese car ever built.
2004 Volkswagen Phaeton — $14,000
If you’re looking for a toned-down car with the same 6.0-liter W12 as the Bentley Continental GT, the Phaeton is a great choice. Unlike the Continental GT, though, the Phaeton is naturally aspirated and produces up to 444 hp.
Volkswagen introduced the Phaeton in 2002, aiming to take on the Mercedes-Benz and BMW-dominated luxury car market. It is based on the Continental GT’s D1 platform and comes with luxury elements lifted from Volkswagen’s best cars, including massaging leather seats, double-glazed windows, and top-of-the-range gadgets.
Mercedes-Benz S600 (W140) — $16,600
The Mercedes-Benz W140 is a flagship vehicle manufactured from 1991 to 1998 in sedan and coupe body styles. In typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, the W140 was very refined and luxurious, and despite being a large sedan, it had excellent handling that made it feel like a sports car.
There were several engine options for the W140, with the most powerful being a 6.0-liter M120 V12 that Mercedes-Benz had developed in response to BMW’s first V12 engine. The W140 is still considered as one of the best classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles one can buy, and with prices on the rise, it seems like a solid investment as well.
Audi A8 W12 (D3) — $11,000
The Audi A8 — now in its fourth generation — is a full-size luxury sedan introduced in the early ’90s. The second-generation A8, dubbed the D3, was based on the Volkswagen Group D platform. It had many innovative features, including Audi’s then-new Multi-Media Interface, Bi-Xenon HID headlights, four-wheel adaptive air suspension, a GPS navigation system, and a driver identification system.
The top-of-the-range A8 D3 came with a 6.0-liter W12 engine producing 414 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 0-60 of just under 6 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph.
BMW 760i (E65) — $11,000
The fourth generation of the BMW 7-Series was quite controversial when it launched in 2001. It had a new design and came with an overly complicated iDrive infotainment system that many people hated at the time.
Under the hood, though, the fourth-generation 7-Series was just as impressive as its predecessors. It was powered by the world’s first production V12 engine with direct fuel injection — a 6.0-liter unit producing 439 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. The E65 was also the first BMW with a six-speed automatic transmission, active anti-roll bars, and an electronic smart key.
Practical vehicles that can be used daily are a must for every driver, and here are ten sedans that look sporty but serve an everyday function.
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