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12 12-Cylinder Used Cars Under $70,000

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/3/2015 Zach Gale

We live in an era of engine downsizing despite colorful exceptions, including the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG. Although plenty of automakers explore doing more with less, some enthusiasts are still attached to the sound, refinement, and exclusivity that comes with a 12-cylinder car, no matter how expensive maintenance can be. And when buying a $140,000-plus new 12-cylinder car is out of the question, there remain a few options for those brave enough to buy used. So if used-12-cylinder-car repair costs don't faze you, take a look at a few 12-cylinder vehicles that could fill your fantasy garage -- perhaps for less than you think.

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12-Cylinder Used Cars Under $70,000
BMW 7 Series V-12Mercedes-Benz SL600Aston Martin DB7
Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMGVolkswagen Phaeton W-12Bentley Continental GT
Jaguar XJS CoupeMercedes-Benz S600Ferrari 456 GTA
BMW 850ci, 850csiJaguar XJ12Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph

BMW 7 Series V-12 - 1990s, Early 2000s

bmw-750il-v12-e66-front-three-quarter-view-right-side© Provided by MotorTrend bmw-750il-v12-e66-front-three-quarter-view-right-side The incredibly controversial 2002 BMW 7 Series still looks imposing today, and through the fourth-generation executive-sedan's run, a 6.0-liter 12-cylinder option was offered in the U.S. In a 2003 review about the car (you can now find one for around $20,000) we said: "Its new namesake powerplant makes a 113-horsepower gain over the 5.0-liter V-12 fitted in the previous top-shelf 7 Series. Leading-edge technologies, such as direct fuel injection, Valvetronic variable valve lift, and even a liquid-cooled alternator, help the all-aluminum 12 generate formidable power with an uncanny smoothness."

We tested a 2003 760Li accelerating from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and to a quarter mile in 13.5 seconds at 105.6 mph.

Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG - Mid-2000s

The B-pillarless CL coupe is a beautiful car made more aggressive thanks to the team at AMG. In CL65 AMG form, the S-Class-based two-door produces 604 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque from its 6.0-liter V-12. We tested a 2005 CL65 AMG with a five-speed automatic, and it hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and a quarter mile in 11.8 seconds at 120.9 mph. Even if a 10-year-old coupe doesn't quite hit those numbers today without some mechanical freshening, this is a seriously special car for around $30,000, depending on condition and mileage.

Jaguar XJS Coupe - Late 1980s, Early 1990s

1989-jaguar-xjs-frank-sinatra© Provided by MotorTrend 1989-jaguar-xjs-frank-sinatra Although styling of the Jaguar XJS wasn't well-received when it debuted in the 1970s, the coupe version is unmistakable, and now it's available for $10,000. Stock cars were powered by a 5.3-liter V-12 mated to a three-speed automatic. Jaguar later offered a 6.0-liter V-12 with a four-speed automatic.

BMW 850ci, 850csi - 1990s

1995 BMW 850Csi David Hockney Art Car© Provided by MotorTrend 1995 BMW 850Csi David Hockney Art Car The rare and stylish BMW 8 Series was offered with a V-8 and V-12 during its one-generation production run. Unlike most other 12-cylinder cars, this one could be had with an available manual transmission.

The 1995 BMW 850CSi David Hockney art car is shown here.

Mercedes-Benz SL600 - 1990s

Mercedes Benz SL R129 Generation© Provided by MotorTrend Mercedes Benz SL R129 Generation Although SL600s from the mid- to late-1990s can be picked up for not much more than a new compact car, the Mercedes-Benz retains timeless drop-top styling. Powered by a 6.0-liter V-12 making nearly 400 hp, the SL600 served as the basis of an insane Renntech-tuned model Motor Trend once tested. With the V-12 engine now displacing 7.4 liters, the Renntech model produced 575 hp at 6,000 rpm and 594 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, good for a 4.4-second 0-60 mph sprint and a 12.7-second quarter mile at 114.2 mph. And that was with a four-speed automatic from the 600SL — later SL600s used a five-speed auto.

A non-V-12 Mercedes-Benz SL from the same generation is shown here.

Volkswagen Phaeton W-12 - 2000s

Volkswagen Phaeton Euro Spec© Provided by MotorTrend Volkswagen Phaeton Euro Spec The Phaeton proved to be a step too far for the Volkswagen brand in the mid-2000s. The flagship luxury sedan, already ambitious in V-8 form, was also offered with the A8 stablemate's 6.0-liter W-12 engine. With 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque routed through a five-speed automatic, the Phaeton hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (more than one second quicker than the V-8 model) and the quarter mile in 14.1 seconds at 100.7 mph. Today, if you can find one, 12-cylinder Phaetons are available for less than $20,000. For a bit more, the A8 L W-12 is available. The first-gen, European-spec Phaeton is shown here.

From our road test of a 2004 Phaeton W-12:

"We must admit to a case of sticker shock when our W12 tester hit the garage. Is the world ready for a Volkswagen with a base price of nearly $80 grand and an as-tested bottom line just over $90K? VW is confident there's a small population of "stealth wealth" types who want something different than the usual S-Class and ... the Phaeton W12 is as good a premium flagship as exists."

Mercedes-Benz S600 - 1990s

1994 Mercedes Benz S600 front view© Provided by MotorTrend 1994 Mercedes Benz S600 front view Sure, newer Mercedes-Benz S-Class V-12 sedans are available less than $40,000 in the used-car market, but none have the tanklike visual appeal of the W140 model. This generation S-Class was also offered in the U.S. with six-cylinder gas, six-cylinder diesel, and eight-cylinder gas options aside from the range-topping 6.0-liter V-12.

Jaguar XJ12 - 1970s-1990s

draguar-screen-cap-1© Provided by MotorTrend draguar-screen-cap-1 Jaguar's 12-cylinder flagship sedan can be picked up for less than $10,000 today. And just think, when you get tired of your Jag's V-12 powerplant, you can always follow the lead of the Roadkill video series: David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan transformed a 1974 XJ12 into the Draguar (pictured) with a 350-cubic-inch Chevy small-block V-8.

Aston Martin DB7 - Early 2000s

1998 Aston Martin DB7 Volante For Silverstone Auction© Provided by MotorTrend 1998 Aston Martin DB7 Volante For Silverstone Auction For around $40,000 give or take a few thousand dollars, you could find yourself behind the wheel of a new-to-you Aston Martin. We tested a 2002 DB7 Vantage Volante drop-top that, with 420 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, used a six-speed automatic to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds and through the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds at 105.1 mph. A late-1990s DB7 drop-top is shown here.

Bentley Continental GT - Mid-2000s

2010 Bentley Continental GT© Provided by MotorTrend 2010 Bentley Continental GT For less than $60,000, what'll it be: a 10-year-old Bentley or a new E-Class? Depending on how much you've got stored away for regular maintenance and repairs, the Bentley could be the right car for those who absolutely must make a big entrance. With standard all-wheel drive, the Continental GT makes 552 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque from a 6.0-liter W-12. We tested two 2005 models, the quicker of which reached 60 mph in 4.4 seconds with a quarter-mile time of 12.7 seconds at 111.2 mph.

Ferrari 456 GTA - Late 1990s-Early 2000s

Ferrari 456M GTA© Provided by MotorTrend Ferrari 456M GTA When the choice is between a new, loaded 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe and a used Ferrari at $70,000, we bet there are a select few out there who might actually go for the Ferrari despite the awesomeness of the new Corvette. Then again, the Ferrari 456 has room — in a pinch — for four, unlike the Corvette. We've tested a 1998 456 GTA with a 5.5-liter V-12 mated to a four-speed automatic accelerating from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and onto a 13.5-second quarter mile at 104.7 mph. Sure, the 456 GTA got 9 mpg in the city when it was new, but the car, which we called a "phenomenally terrific automobile" in a review, is also far more exclusive a body style than the Corvette.

Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph - Late 1990s-Early 2000s

Rolls Royce Silver Seraph© Provided by MotorTrend Rolls Royce Silver Seraph You can have a 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce for less than $70,000, but it won't be quite as new as the 12-cylinder Bentley also in this feature. The Silver Seraph is powered by a 5.4-liter V-12 that was also used in a 1999 BMW 750iL. About that car, we said it had the "soul of a cheetah and the high-tech air of a Silicon Valley R&D lab. Any of these brutes can spin its tires raw; only a precious few can muster equal amounts of elegance and accelerative power."

Would you ever consider a used 12-cylinder car?

1998 2006 Mercedes Benz CL65 AMG© Provided by MotorTrend 1998 2006 Mercedes Benz CL65 AMG
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