London - If you own a luxury car, you may be used to receiving admiring looks on the road. 

But one Mercedes owner in Spain got more than he bargained for after a gang attacked him and forced him to sell his vehicle at a fraction of its value.

Rather than stealing the S350 – which, when new, has a list price at the equivalent of R1.18 million – the armed men intimidated the owner into filling in vehicle ownership documents, transferring the car to them. The victim was beaten up by the carjackers, who were carrying a knife and a sword, at the side of the road in Alicante, on the Costa Blanca.

The papers entitled the man to just 1000 euros (R14 400) which the gang paid him before driving off in his pride and joy.

The thieves also took his mobile phone. 

Four suspects were arrested after the legitimate owner went to police. They are thought to have been detained after appearing before a judge in Alicante in a private court hearing. A spokesman for Spain’s National Police confirmed: "Four people who used violence and intimidation to take a high-end vehicle off its owner have been arrested.

"The suspects forced the victim to sign a car sale document in which he agreed to transfer ownership of the car to them in exchange for 1000 euros."

The spokesman added: "The victim was driving his vehicle normally and was mugged when he stopped. The men leapt into his car and beat the driver repeatedly until they got hold of his keys and car documents.

"They then took out a piece of paper where they drafted the car sale agreement. When the victim was given the document to sign and initially refused to do so, he was threatened with a knife and a sword cane."

The Mercedes-Benz was later recovered and returned to its rightful owner about a week after the crime. It was unclear last night whether the owner would be allowed to keep the money he made on the deal.