Depreciation either really hurts, or really helps. Depends on your standpoint. Take this Mercedes-Benz S500 coupe AMG Line, for example, which has lost roughly a supermini's worth in value every year since 2017. For the original purchaser, that's likely to have caused headache, but for a second-hand buyer after a lot of car for their money, it's a godsend. Here we have one of the most luxurious high-powered coupes, which retailed for about £100k in 2017 and has just 15,000 miles on the clock, up for a £55k discount.
Obviously such a reduction does not equate to any saving when it comes to running costs; that old 4.7 V8 still likes a drink. And don't get us started on servicing, not to mention any unforeseen issues that might crop up when the manufacturer warranty runs out next year. But there's no beating around the bush - this is top-end S-Class plushness and brawn for an outlay that barely surpasses the optioned-up price of a posh hatchback these days. With its own options factored in, it's probably half price.
The old S500 arguably lacks the butchness of its successor's V8 variants, but in some ways that adds to the aura. It's 454hp and 516lb ft remains muscular, but more about elegance shove than strong-arming. And it's still equipped with high-tech chassis hardware, such as camera-informed air suspension that cuts lateral body roll while allowing for vertical absorption of bumps. It's not quite C63 responsive - that's a given - but as a machine to cover vast distances at consistently high pace with little effort from the driver, it's a terrific bit of engineering.
The stats emphasise that. 62mph in this two-tonne two-door comes in 4.6 seconds, while the turbocharged engine is allowed to plough the S500 forwards at increasing knots until the 155mph limiter. The claimed fuel economy of 28.5mpg comes from the old days of optimistic lab test results, true, but with cylinder deactivation tech on board and a seven-speed automatic keen to lean on the motor's torque, it can just about sip on fuel if you allow the S500 to settle on a motorway run. The temptation to awaken the beast up front, however, will always remain strong.
You'll likely be aware of Mercedes's decision to swap V8 power for hybrid four-pot propulsion in the next C63, so expect all of the eight-cylinder models in its line-up to be gradually phased out the years. This means that while an S500 like this might not feel particularly unique today, that scenario will likely change only a handful of years from now. Today's Spotted almost certainly isn't done depreciating just yet, but it may well remain a peak example of V8 luxury motoring. And for that alone, it's worth going along for the ride.
SPECIFICATION - MERCEDES-BENZ S500 AMG LINE
Engine: 4,663cc, V8, twin-turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 454@5,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@1,800rpm
Recorded mileage: 15,000
First registered: 2017
Price new: c. £100,000
Yours for: £45,990