Maintaining a premium sports coupe, cabriolet or roadster is made more straight-forward thanks to the transparent pricing offered by Capped Price Service programs.
Raising the cash or making the payments for a new luxury sports car is a large enough expense without getting bill shock after collecting your car after a service.
With Capped Price Servicing, at least the routine maintenance component is a known element in the car’s ongoing operating costs as you go into the purchase.
Of all the brands competing in this $80,000 to $200,000 category (as defined by industry statistician VFACTS), only Morgan and Porsche do not offer Capped Price Service programs.
The different types of CPS
The rest of the manufacturers in this segment either offer upfront payment servicing plans, capped-price pay-as-you-go servicing (or a choice of either) or free servicing.
While not strictly capped pricing, Jaguar and Lotus provide the best servicing deal -- it’s complementary. All Jaguar F-TYPEs receive free scheduled servicing for the first five years or 130,000km, while the Lotus Elise, Evora and Exige services are free for the first three years/45,000km.
Lexus is a bit of a hybrid case because while it does not have a CPS program (service charges are up to the individual Lexus dealer), the first scheduled service at one year/15,000km is free of charge.
The prices given in the table below for the second-year and third-year services for Lexus RC and LC are estimates only, provided by Lexus Australia.
Alfa Romeo and Alpine offer pay-as-you-go CPS for their models in this segment, while Audi and BMW provide pre-paid servicing menus.
Mercedes-Benz offers either pre-paid or pay-as-you-go options.
In fact, Mercedes-Benz provides a cornucopia of CPS service plans under its Service Solutions program, with pay-as-you go for up to and including the third-year/75,000km service, or pre-paid for three, four or five years.
If you elect to pre-pay for three years of servicing, you get a discount and a free wheel rotation and alignment at each service that isn’t offered if you pay as you go.
Savings for electing to pay up front on C-Class Coupe and Convertible is $450, while for E-Class Coupe and Convertible it’s $550 and for SLC-Class you save $600 by paying the lot prior to the first scheduled service.
Audi gives you the choice of paying upfront for three years/45,000km or five years/75,000km of servicing, while BMW is five years/80,000km only.
BMW is the only manufacturer here to not only offer a pre-paid scheduled service plan but also a more comprehensive plan called BMW Service Inclusive - Plus. The Plus plan on top of the Basic plan offers wiper blade, brake disc and rotor replacement for its five-year/80,000km duration.
As you’d expect, these pre-paid service deals are only available for purchase up to when the first service is due.
If you prefer to pay as each service is needed (or that’s all that the manufacturer offers), you might find in a year or two that prices have gone up -- they are of course subject to change.
The exception is Alfa Romeo with the 4C; while there’s up to five years/75,000km of CPS on offer, Alfa Romeo says that the capped prices will not change for three years from the date of the vehicle’s first registration or until that vehicle has reached 150,000km (whichever occurs first).
While at $3225 the 4C is only slightly more than the Mercedes-Benz SLC ($3200) over three years, it’s an eye-watering $6625 over the five years that CPS is offered.
The four-year/60,000km service (which includes the labour-intensive timing belt replacement) takes the biggest chunk of that total, at $2495 for that service.
At the other end of the scale is the Infiniti Q60 3.0T Red Sport, which costs $1312 over the first three years/45,000km.
What do you get under CPS programs?
The CPS deals all cover the routine standard servicing required for the model in question as per the vehicle’s service schedule. As a baseline, that would include the cost of labour and materials for procedures such as changing engine oil and oil filter, engine air filter and fuel filter, and brake fluid as set out in the service schedule.
Some cars have other routine maintenance requirements included in their standard schedule, such as replacing automatic transmission fluid and replacing the cabin filter.
What constitutes scheduled maintenance can be found in the either the vehicle owner’s manual or service manual. Most manufacturers also give this information online.
The CPS offers stay with the car, meaning if it is sold (within the period of the CPS program) the new owner can also take advantage of CPS. This of course makes your car easier to sell, and potentially will yield you a better price.
But you can’t get a refund for a pre-paid CPS deal if you decide to sell your car or if it is written-off.
None of the service deals (except BMW’s Service Inclusive - Plus) include consumables such as wiper insert replacement, brake pads/disc replacement or clutch replacement. And of course no manufacturer includes tyre replacement.
The additional cost of wiper insert replacement every year or two is not going to be a deal-breaker but depending on how you drive other consumables can rack up big bills.
Factor in additional costs
If you’re clocking up high kilometres, using the car for track days or drive hard (these are mostly performance cars, after all) you’ll have to factor in the potential for these additional maintenance costs.
There are other more general exclusions to all service program here: the car has to be sold new in Australia though the official importer (so not, for example, a private import) and no CPS program will cover damage repair, service to aftermarket modifications or extra maintenance for use in severe conditions.
What a manufacturer defines as ‘severe conditions’ varies, but examples might be regular short-distance urban commuting, driving in dusty conditions or using the car on the track. Filters and fluids will typically need more regular replacement in such conditions, and so you’ll pay extra for that.
Cars purchased under the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Programme or used for commercial hire or rental are not eligible for the service plans.
Just like CPS price, terms and conditions of a CPS offer can also change. Whichever CPS program you’re considering, read the fine print of the program so you’re aware of exactly what it does and does not cover at the time you wish to make use of it.
|CPS period||Interval||$ per service||$ CPS period||$/3 yrs|
|Alfa Romeo 4C||5yr/75K||1yr/15K||From $895||$6625||$3235|
|Alpine A110||3yr/60K||1yr/20K||From $530||$2429||$2429|
|BMW 4 Series Cpe/Conv||5yr/80K||CBS*||$313*||$1565||n/a|
|Infiniti Q60*||4yr/60K||1yr/15K||From $340||$1956||$1318|
|M-Benz C-Class Cpe/Conv||3yr/75K||1yr/25K||Fr $550||$4300||$2400|
|M-Benz E-Class Cpe/Conv||3yr/75K||1yr/25K||Fr $700||$4800||$3000|
|Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class||3yr/75K||1yr/25K||Fr $800||$4600||$3200|
Morgan Classics n/a
Porsche Boxster n/a
Porsche Cayman n/a
Alpine 110 three-year CPS prices above includes $89 pollen filter change but not the $319 accessory belt replacement due at four years/60,000km
Audi A5 and Audi TT prices-per-service noted above is based on the ($1800) three-year pre-paid Audi Genuine Service Plan and is for comparison purposes only; individual services cannot be purchased under CPS. Audi TTS pre-paid CPS is $2020 over three years and $3040 over five years. Audi TTRS is $2320 over three years and $3380 over five years.
BMW 4 Series Coupe/Convertible and BMW Z4 have Condition Based Servicing, meaning that services are not set by kilometres travelled or time; the vehicle monitors oil condition and so on and warns the driver via the instrument panel when the next service is due. Price per service in the table is for comparison purposes only, based on the BMW Service Inclusive - Basic five-year pre-paid deal. BMW Service Inclusive - Plus is also available for $4110 for BMW 4 Series Coupe/Convertible and $3840 for BMW Z4, and includes everything in the Basic package plus wiper blades, brake rotors and pads and clutch replacement.
Infiniti Q60 3.0T Red Sport prices above. Infiniti Q60 2.0T Pure has one-year/20,000km service intervals and is $2256 over three years/60,000km or $2932 for four years/80,000km.
Lexus does not have a CPS program as such but offers a free one-year/15,000km service. ‘$/3yrs’ prices shown are totals for RC 300 and LC 500 two-year/30,000km and three-year/45,000km services. RC350 costs $1186, RC F costs $1445 and LC 500h costs $1510 for the same period. Prices shown are are indicative only.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and Convertible can also have four year pre-paid servicing for $2800; pre-paid for five years (as noted in the $/CPS period column) is $4300.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Convertible can also have four year pre-paid servicing for $3200; pre-paid for five years (as noted in the $/CPS period column) is $4800.
Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster can also have four-year pre-paid servicing for $3300; pre-paid for five years (as noted in the $/CPS period column) is $4600.