The most expensive cars in America – USA TODAY
The ultra-luxury automobile is one of the most conspicuous status symbols. There is no better way for America’s wealthy to flaunt their riches or to feel exclusive than to buy a $300,000 Ferrari or a nearly half-a-million dollar Rolls-Royce.
Many manufacturers offer high-end luxury and performance vehicles, but only a few have the brand name that commands price tags in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. The most expensive vehicle selling in the U.S. market is the McLaren P1, which has a price tag of $1,155,000. Based on Kelley Blue Book’s listing of estimated prices for current model vehicles, these are the most expensive cars sold on the U.S. market.
THE FLIPSIDE: The cheapest cars in America
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer explained that exclusivity is often what drives up the prices of the most expensive cars. “If it is an extremely limited vehicle and it has an extremely high price, that will draw the interest of people who are looking for limited-edition vehicles that hardly anyone can get. It sounds a little circular, but that’s really what happens.”
These vehicles are indeed among the rarest models in the world. Brauer noted that less than 5,000 units in global production could be considered a limited run. In the case of the 918 Spyder, which has a price tag of nearly $930,000, Porsche issued only 918 copies of the car. McLaren offered a total global production of just 375 P1s.
While dealers of more commonly sold cars will often sell vehicles at a discount to encourage buyers, the ultra-luxury models are in such demand that discounts are off the table. “People at this level of car buying, they’re not looking for a fair purchase price, they’re just looking to buy the car,” Brauer said. “Typically they just pay MSRP and don’t give it a second thought.”
While rarity is clearly an important factor, Brauer cautioned that performance, brand, and material construction also drive up the price of these vehicles. “Those [factors] certainly contribute to the feeling of uniqueness and helping to justify the MSRP that is being asked.” For example, personalization of the car, custom built features and hand-made manufacturing all drive up the costs and allow for astronomical price tags. “It may not be 100%, but all of them, for instance, have hand-made interiors,” Brauer said.
These ultra-luxury models can be separated into two categories — performance and luxury vehicles. Cars such as the McLaren P1, the Lamborghini Aventador, and the Ferrari F12berlinetta are built for speed and handling, meant to mimic the style of racing vehicles.
Others, including the three Rolls-Royce models to make this list — the Phantom, Ghost, and Wraith — are designed to invoke class and style. “The Phantom and the Ghost and Wraith and the Bentley Mulsanne are not slow cars with limited power by any means, they’re extremely powerful, and for their size and weight, they are shockingly quick,” Brauer said. “But they are not by nature performance vehicles like the other cars on the list. They are luxury vehicles.”
To identify the 10 most expensive American cars, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Kelley Blue Book’s current fair purchase price, which is the site’s estimate for how much an autobuyer should expect to pay for a vehicle based on existing purchase data. We considered only 2015 models that were sold in the United States. In addition, we considered model specifications, which were obtained from manufacturer websites.
These are the most expensive cars in America.
> Make: McLaren
> Fair purchase price: $1,155,000
> Trim: Coupe 2D
McLaren is first and foremost an engineering company, and it is a special event when a car such as the McLaren P1 appears on the market. When it was first introduced in 2013 as a followup to the McLaren F1 of the 1990s, all 375 P1s sold out in just eight months. It was the first time that McLaren Automotive — the manufacturing subsidiary of McLaren Group — posted profits. McLaren’s CEO Mike Flewitt was tempted to produce more cars but abstained to preserve the exclusivity that is so essential to the McLaren P1 brand. The P1 has a top speed of 217 mph, and accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds.
2. 918 Spyder
> Make: Porsche
> Fair purchase price: $929,995
> Trim: Weissach Package Roadster 2D
Unlike any other car in its class, the 918 Spyder can cover short distances on electric power alone. The Spyder gets power from both a combustion engine and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. But the car’s similarities to other hybrid and electric cars stop there. A 2015 Porsche Spyder is the second most expensive vehicle for sale in America, costing roughly $930,000. The vehicle’s name suggests its exclusivity because the German automaker will only produce 918 of the 918 Spyder for the 2015 model year — and only 250 of those will be sold in the U.S. market. The car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds, making it the quickest car in the world.
> Make: Lamborghini
> Fair purchase price: $556,795
> Trim: LP 720-4 50th Anniversario Roadster 2D
Costing more than half a million dollars to drive off the lot, a 2015 Lamborghini Aventador is the third most expensive vehicle on the U.S. market. The luxury Italian sports car seats two and houses a 12 cylinder engine that gets 11 mpg on city streets and 18 mpg on the highway. The Aventador is also equipped with doors that swing up rather than out, a feature closely associated with the Lamborghini brand. Despite the vehicle’s extraordinary cost, Lamborghini sold 1,001 Aventadors worldwide in 2013.
> Make: Rolls-Royce
> Fair purchase price: $485,275
> Trim: Extended Wheelbase Sedan 4D
High-end luxury automaker Rolls-Royce produces three of the 10 most expensive cars on the U.S. market, including the Wraith and the Ghost. It is the Phantom, however, that has a nearly half a million dollar price tag. While some of the very expensive cars are newer models, the Phantom has been the signature Rolls-Royce vehicle since the 1920s. As is the case with many of the cars on this list, Rolls-Royce emphasizes that each Phantom can be custom built for a client’s preference, with dozens of interior and exterior design choices, down to the colors of the knobs on the control panel.
> Make: Ferrari
> Fair purchase price: $327,445
> Trim: Coupe 2D
Selling for $327,445, the Ferrari F12berlinetta is one of the most expensive cars on the American market. While Ferrari does not release production numbers for specific models, according to Fortune, Ferrari produced around 1,000 F12berlinettas in 2014. Following a change in the company’s top management, new CEO Sergio Marchionne planned to increase production of the F12berlinetta last year. Now, more customers can buy the sports car, which has a top speed of 211 mph and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. The F12berlinetta also gets a reported 12 mpg in the city and 16 on the highway.
24/7 WALL ST.: The rest of the 10 most expensive cars in America
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With nearly every major manufacturer in the cheap car market, which ones are the absolute cheapest? Douglas McIntyre with this week’s 24/7 Wall Street.