This thread makes very interesting reading and is I'm sure an issue many of us have and do agonise over. So here's my $0.02 worth:
For business purposes I need a reliable and presentable car and I'm fortunate enough that I can have something rather nice. Luckily I don't feel the need to have the latest, shiniest of fastest. Image has been mentioned above and particularly for those of us in a client-facing business it is a thing - my RX says dependable, quietly successful an probably a bit dull. Job done! (Hence previous ownership of various Volvos, Saabs etc). I paid cash (c£18k) for the Lex 2.5 years ago and extended the warranty to 3 years. So by my reckoning I got essentially a new car for rather less then a third of what Lexus wanted for an actual new one. Result. It replaced a BMW 435d on a PCP. I calculated that in terms of just owning the car, if I run the Lex for 3 years and then push it off a cliff (I wont!) it'll have cost no more than the BMW over the preceding 3 year period.
My best value car ever was probably the 2004 Saab 9-5 Aero bought in August 2009 for under £4k, sold with an additional 70k miles in Jan 2013 for £1k, and maybe had £400 spent on repairs over and above routine servicing in that period. Or the Volvo 945 bought for £250 and sold 18 months (and about £150 later) for the same £350. Those were the days.
My only recent shiter was a Saab 9-3 floppytop. Run on and off for for a year, broken in various ways and then laid up awaiting fettling which never happened due to lack of time/talent/inclination. Trailered away last week. My financial hit on the purchase/sale values was equal to about 12 days of BMW ownership.
I'm not sure that gets us any closer to a conclusion - and I don't think there is one! Just as many views are there are of us here 😀