By Suzanne Kane

Luxury cars and today’s economy – sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Not so if you’re looking to buy a used luxury vehicle – and you have either cash or a pre-approved personal loan for a used car you may have obtained through your local credit union. What to buy? What are some of the very best used luxury car buys out there? Consumer Reports recently released their top choices in used luxury cars in two categories: $24,000 to $30,000 and $30,000 and up. This article covers the top 5 best used luxury cars $30,000 and up, listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer, model and year. Note there are two entries for BMW and Infiniti, listed together, while Lexus and Porsche each have numerous recommended years and models.  We combine all the Consumer Reports top used luxury manufacturers’ makes into these the top 5 best used luxury cars:

* Acura MDX (2007) – A crossover SUV in the luxury category, the 2007 MDX – all new for this model year — is powered by a 3.7-liter 300-hp V-6 engine. Base, Sport and Technology packages all have the same powerplant.

* BMW 328i sedan (2007) and BMW M3 (2004) – The 328i sedan, in its 2007 version, is Euro-style luxury that’s finely tuned. Powered by a 3.0-liter 230-hp inline 6-cylinder engine, the 328i is mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2004 BMW M3 is the high-performance version of the 3-Series coupe, also available in convertible, providing 333 horsepower. The M3 is often compared to the Porsche 911 for acceleration, braking and handling at higher speeds.

* Infiniti FX35 (2007) and Infiniti M (2006-2007) – A luxury crossover, the FX35 for 2007 is a two-wheel drive, 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 mated with a 5-speed automatic transmission. There are two Infiniti M models on the top 5 best used luxury car list, the Infiniti M-35 with its 275-hp V-6 engine and Infiniti M-45 powered by the 325-hp V-8.

* Lexus (numerous years and models) – You can’t go wrong with Lexus, according to Consumer Reports’ list of top used luxury cars. Lexus also has the singular distinction of ranking number one in the J.D. Power and Associates Dependability Study for 12 consecutive years until having to share the top spot with Buick in 2007. Check out the 2006-2007 6-cylinder rear-wheel drive (RWD) GS, 2007 GS450h Hybrid, 2005-2007 GX, 2007 IS, 2004-2007 LS, 2003-2006 LX, and 2006-2007 RX.

* Porsche 911 (2001-2002, 2004, 2007) — An acclaimed supercar in all these years listed, the more recent 2007 has various models, sizes and engines recommended by Consumer Reports top used luxury car listing. Noteworthy are the Carrera (3.6-liter 325-hp flat-6 powerplant), Carrera S and S Cabriolet (3.8-liter 355-hp V-6 engine), 911 Turbo (twin turbo 480-hp 6-cylinder) and the GT3 Track (415-hp 6-cylinder).

What’s next? Do your research, narrow down your list, find the vehicles in dealer inventory or scan the classifieds, bring your cash (or pre-approved credit), negotiate your best deal, test-drive and take home your new best used luxury vehicle. It’s a wheel deal.

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