According to Glass's Information Services, the typical premium of £500 a UK new car buyer pays for a good metallic colour on a new car, can one year later be worth £1000 over a less popular metallic shade, or £2000 over the corresponding flat colour.

The gulf is even wider where sports and convertible models are concerned, where the differential can be as much as £4000 - a staggering 800% return on investment.

Silver is the most popular colour choice of all, followed by metallic blue, black and grey. The least popular metallic hues are red, green, gold/brown and any garish shades, such as yellow. For a decade, metallic paint of one sort or another has been the most popular new car option of all.

Glass's specialist car editor, Richard Crosthwaite said: "Of course, trim and specification choices have an equally important role to play. A light trim will generally be more saleable on a car with dark metallic body colour, while climate control has become an essential feature on prestige used cars.

"Full leather trim is an increasing requirement across the board, while satellite navigation is now seen as a necessity on upmarket BMW, Audi and Mercedes models."