Market Watch: How to run an Aston Martin for M3 money

Can you buy an Aston Martin for the same as an M3, and not lose any money at all on it? 

It sounds unrealistic, like a scam. A bit like a get-rich-quick, self-help book. But it’s not like that. Running an Aston Martin for the same as a BMW M3 can be a sensible, objective and sound choice. It does, however, have some caveats.

First of all, we need to look at the current values of each. To buy now, a 2006 or 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage will cost around the £40,000 mark – the same price bracket as a 2013 BMW M3.

To get to that point, the Aston has depreciated by around 50 per cent over the past eight years, and the M3 around 35 per cent in the past couple of years. You’d be forgiven for thinking the Aston Martin will continue to drop – but that’s not the case. In fact, some Aston Martins are appreciating in value.

As investments, the key Astons to look out for are 2006 and 2007 models – the Vanquish S, in particular. These are the final cars to have rolled off Aston Martin’s Newport Pagnell production line, marking the end of the handbuilt in Britain era. Not only have those cars’ values plateaued, they’re on the up.

Three years ago, we sold an Aston Martin DB9 for £39,995. This year, we sold one for £42,995. It’s a fair comparison, because it was the same car.

That strong resale value depends on the car’s year, specification, condition and mileage. If you buy an Aston Martin today, it isn’t guaranteed to be worth more in three years’ time. It comes down to what you want a new car for.

Many of our customers who buy an M3, Audi RS 4, or a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG are looking for their main car. Something they’ll put tens of thousands of miles on, as they use it to get to work, tick off the chores, and to whisk them away on a family holiday.

For those customers, something of M3 ilk is perfect. But if that customer already has a daily driver, and they’re looking for something to use more occasionally, then that’s when the Aston Martin becomes a reasonable alternative.

Aston Martins are usually bought as a second or third car, used for driving pleasure, a beautiful addition to the collection. Keeping the mileage low and keeping the car in a pristine condition are key to retaining that value. Using an Aston Martin as a daily driver would be brilliant, but expect it to follow the usual depreciation trend.

The next step is choosing the right Aston – collectors should opt for one of the final Newport Pagnell cars. In general, cars need to be the right colour – greys, silvers and blacks are popular with a complementary interior are good choices, while blues and greens are less desirable, the latter can even make people superstitious. Then there’s the specification. We had a V8 Vantage recently that was perfect: Tungsten grey, black leather with white stitching, 19-inch wheels, sat nav, a 700-Watt premium audio system, and a bright-finish grille. Special or limited editions also tend to be a good buy.

As for running costs, there’s not much of a difference – insurance, tax, and servicing will be comparable.

All that’s left to decide is: do you want an Aston Martin or not?