Those who showed off their wealth were rated more attractive than a humble fella by women seeking a short-term fling.
But they were dismissed as an unsuitable life-partner, who is more likely to have an affair and walk out on their kids.
Research by the University of Michigan, United States, found men also have the same impression of show-offs.
Boffins say men are more likely than women to display their wealth because of their traditional role as a “provider”.
It is thought to offer an evolutionary advantage by indicating their ability to look after a partner and “invest” in their children.
But an experiment on 233 volunteers, with an average age of 19, suggests brash types have given themselves a bad name.
They are now thought to be constantly chasing their next sexual conquest and unlikely to share their wealth with their off-spring.
Participants were asked to rate the dating, mating and parental potential of two men after hearing a scenario in which they had bought a new car.
One spent $20,000 on brand-new “reliable” vehicle and the other $15,000 on a second-hand motor, with the remaining $5,000 going on bigger wheels, louder sound system and paint.
The boy-racer style buyer was rated a more attractive short-term mate but scored poorly on long term potential.
Study leader Dr Daniel Kruger said: “Men with high mate value characteristics may be more likely to abandon relationships because they have greater opportunities, constraining their interest in and attractiveness for long-term partnerships.
“Women who have greater concerns of mate defection are more reluctant to form relationships with physically attractive, high-status men.”
Similar results have previously been shown with jewellery, clothing and homes. The findings are published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.
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