With new car delivery times stretching out for months on most makes and models, the used car market is booming right now. And it’s particularly busy in the used luxury sector, as car buyers drop their unused holiday money from the last couple of years on a nice, near-new car.
Looking for a new car is an exciting time, even if you have decided that you’re going down the used route. There’s nothing wrong with that: there are thousands of excellent used examples of just about every make and model available – if you know where to look.
Luxury used cars, while priced towards the upper rather than lower end of the scale, have plenty of attractions. You can often find a relatively low mileage model with several options at a good price. Although it’s certainly not a guarantee, premium and luxury cars also tend to have better service histories and more fastidious owners than more mainstream models.
And we haven’t even mentioned the best bit – buying a used luxury car means that someone else has taken the big hit on depreciation when they bought it brand new, so you can pocket the savings.
There are a lot of sites listing cars today – the number is growing – so The Car Expert has gathered the best websites that can help with buying a luxury motor. Each has its own strengths and drawbacks, but all offer the opportunity to find and secure your next car from the comfort of your own home. We’ve also only concentrated on sites that sell cars from a variety of car manufacturers, rather than brand-specific specialists or franchised dealers.
Here at The Car Expert, we building and updating guides to the top sites to buy used vehicles of all categories. So here are our pick for the best websites for buying a used luxury car (in alphabetical order, rather than any ranking).
- Looking for a bespoke finance package for your next specialist luxury vehicle? Our commercial partner Specialist Car Finance an help*
They say: “Peace of mind, every step of the way”
We like: Dealer admin fees now clearly displayed
We don’t like: Results don’t come in price order – fee-paying dealers head the lists.
Once the go-to for any used car when it was a printed magazine, Auto Trader is still a major force in this area of automotive business and remains a well-known name.
The website is excellent and well-laid out. Instantly, it tells you that there are 404,000 pre-owned cars ‘ready and waiting’, although of course, not all of these are going to be luxury models. But no matter – the search process is easy and there are several ways you can do it too.
One of the key features of Auto Trader, compared to other big-name used car sites, is that it includes both private and trade sellers. With a large number of private sellers in the used luxury car scene, it means that you’ll find some cars here that you simply won’t see anywhere else.
Another recent addition to the Auto Trader site (and app, if you prefer) is that it clearly shows whether a dealer is whacking any additional admin charges onto the selling price. It’s something The Car Expert raised with the site a few years ago, so it’s great to see it finally appearing.
Auto Trader also publishes its own car reviews, and is one of the sites included in our new Expert Rating Index, which aggregates new car reviews from UK websites to create a definitive rating for every new car.
Bramley Motor Cars
They say: “The best experience”
We like: Regularly changing stock
We don’t like: Limited choice compared to some sellers
Bramley Motor Group is a highly regarded used luxury car dealership near Guildford in Surrey, with a stock of more than 50 vehicles at any one time. The company specialises in Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche, Land Rover and Bentley models from the 1960s to the present day.
It’s clear from every vehicle listing that Bramley is a business that knows its apples – the vehicle descriptions are informative and tailored to the very vehicle for sale, rather than a generic description of the model. The company can also help you to source a specific vehicle if they don’t have what you’re looking for in stock.
Like most luxury car specialists, Bramley Motor Group can also offer you finance and waranty services. As a nice complement to its car sales, Bramley is also a specialist in classic watch sales.
They say: “Find a great deal… and so much more”
We like: They can email you if a car’s price drops
We don’t like: Car descriptions quite brief
Launched in the UK in 2016 by the co-founder of TripAdvisor, CarGurus has become the biggest online marketplace for used cars in the US. CarGurus is in a position to use online technology and tools that have been road tested in the US and Canada to give UK car buyers a new online shopping experience.
It’s an easy-to use search engine and, after you have selected ‘make’ such as Bentley, you are given the ‘popular choice’ – in this case Continental – followed by other models. All cars are sourced from franchised and independent dealers and descriptions are accompanied by decent dealer pictures, although with no uniformity. There’s a helpful view on whether the price asked for is a good, fair or great deal, compared with the average market prices.
One section breaks down models by specific variants and tells you how many deals there are available of each.
What’s clever about the search facility is that cars are listed according to the accuracy of their market pricing as well as the reputation of the dealer, as car retailers cannot pay extra to be listed first.
USP: “The UK’s biggest car search engine”
We like: Direct link to car dealers
We don’t like: Site design not as sharp as others
Carsnip is changing the way used cars are presented and sold online. A huge search engine for used cars, it has ‘on its book’ hundreds of thousands of cars, including some very good luxury models from brands like Ferrari, Bentley, Porsche and Lamborghini. It works differently from other used car listings.
Carsnip is a used car version of Google. You search for a car according to brand or vehicle type and are presented with results, much like other classified sites. However, by clicking on the model you’re interested in, you are sent directly to the dealer’s website rather than a listing on Carsnip itself.
This can make life easier if you find your dream luxury car straight away, but it can get a bit tiresome going back and forth to look at multiple cars from different dealerships. The site is no-frills – there is a section on popular car brands but it’s mainly a big list of car makers to start with.
Dealers don’t pay to advertise their cars on the site; instead, the finance company earns commission on car finance sold by the dealers. You’re not obliged to take out any finance agreement, so you can simply use it as a search engine and still pay cash for your next car.
They say: “We aim to simplify the process of finding the right used car”
We like: Easy to use website
We don’t like: Some photography is low quality
Here is another huge business with a lot of used car deals on its books. Motors.co.uk doesn’t own them all of course, it acts as an agent for franchised and independent dealers across the UK, with a few private sellers in there too.
It’s an easy site to navigate around and allows you to search by make and model, by area so you are only looking for cars closer to home, or cut down to popular body styles. There’s a section highlighting all the cars that have been reduced in price – you’ll find thousands here but some have only been cut by a few hundred pounds.
You can read news and features articles plus car reviews and there is a section showing video reviews. Some of these were duplicated when we looked, but the information contained in them is quite useful, as is the section on ‘tips on selecting the right used car’.
There’s also a car price guide showing what individual model types are selling for, enabling you to make a decision on whether you are getting value for money on the car you’re considering, which is useful when you’re buying an expensive luxury model. Car details are full enough but some of the pictures are a bit unpolished.
They say: Used cars and finance, all in one easy-to-use website
We like: Lots to read online
We don’t like: Car description in one big block
PistonHeads is one of the oldest and most popular motoring forums, which has a staggering 20 million-plus posts from car enthusiasts. It’s full of news, features and reviews written by well-known experts. You can spend hours in the forum reading up on your dream car from the enthusiast owners posting everything from common faults, favourite drives and rebuild photos.
In recent years, PistonHeads has expanded to become a performance and luxury car marketplace, bringing together car enthisiasts with a wide variety of exciting cars for sale.
If you are looking for a luxury, special edition or rare vehicle, this is definitely a good place to be. From supercars to prestige editions to classics, there is a great choice and the vehicles often have more extensive descriptions than found elsewhere.
Once you have put in your search parameters you’re taken to a list of relevant vehicles, linking you direct to the dealer who’s selling it – you can phone them or send a message easily. There are plenty of photographs but the car descriptions are a block of text which is not especially easy or comfortable to read.
They say: “The UK’s largest independent supercar, prestige & performance car specialist”
We like: Well presented site, consistent photography
We don’t like: Intrusive pop-up chatbox
Although the business has been around for nearly 25 years, Redline Specialist Cars in North Yorkshire has really embraced the digital sales revolution to carve out a solid niche in luxury and performance car sales.
With a marketing and customer service team that operates across social media and online review platforms, Redline is proud of its reputation and customer testimonials, which feature prominently across the site.
The company also offers a VIP collection experience in association with nearby Grantley Hall, so customers can enjoy a five-star afternoon tea or overnight stay when they collect their vehicle.
They say: “UK’s number one used 4×4 dealership”
We like: Extensive range of luxury 4x4s
We don’t like: £199 admin fee on every car
If your luxury car preference is more high-riding than low-slung, Saxton 4×4 in Essex should be one of the first sites you look at when hunting for your next set of wheels.
Despite the name, Saxton doesn’t only deal with SUVs – a quick check as we were writing this turned up coupés and sports cars from a number of luxury brands – but they do make up the vast majority of cars on offer.
One thing to watch out for is the £199 admin fee on every vehicle, which effectively makes every car £200 more expensive than than advertised price. This is becoming an ever-more common practice in the used car industry, and The Car Expert does not approve in this sort of deceptive behaviour.
They say: “The world’s most successful supercar dealer”
We like: Specialist treatment
We don’t like: Lake photography is gimmicky
If you are serious about finding a proper luxury car and have a good budget to play with, this is the place to visit. Tom Hartley in South Derbyshire is a specialist in luxury and high performance cars, and has a collection of newer and classic models that will make your mouth water.
Accompanied by beautiful photography and even video, the cars are simply but well described and there’s more detail about exact specification. If you already have a luxury car, Tom Hartley will entertain the idea of a part exchange to help you perhaps ‘trade up’ to the next car of your dreams.
It’s a small list of cars compared with some websites, but what there is, is beautiful. They can arrange transportation of your car, a new cherished number plate for it – and they can even offer helicopter collection and return to their estate for you to see the car you’re considering.
It’s high end stuff, but done very well.
Tom Hartley Jnr
They say: “Dealing in the most significant performance and classic cars”
We like: Truly drool-worthy cars for sale…
We don’t like: … which are out of reach for most car buyers
If you thought Tom Hartley (Snr) had an impressive collection of cars for sale, the vehicles on offer at Tom Hartley Jnr are simply stunning. It’s hard to imagine any used car dealer offering a more fantastic selection of classic and modern cars, both for road and track (and inevitably, with many destined to only ever be displayed rather than driven).
For a start, the site’s homepage opens with a picture of Hartley Jr standing alongside a Ferrari 250 GTO (think of a number somewhere around £30 million), so that gives you an idea of where the company is positioned.
To have such an extensive collection of rare and valuable cars of all era requires a prestigious reputation and plenty of contacts within the car collecting community, and the company claims that Hartley Jnr “has conducted more transactions on super/hypercars than anyone else in the world”.
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This article was originally published in October 2021. Last updated July 2022. Additional reporting by Stuart Masson
*The Car Expert has commercial partnerships with Carsnip, Motors.co.uk and Specialist Car Finance. If you click through to their websites and view any of their vehicles, we may receive a small commission. We do not receive any payment or commission if you proceed to buy a car or sign an agreement via any of these sites.