If you're okay with the age, the 2014/15 Retina is actually still quite good. It doesn't have M1's all-around performance credentials, but the 15" HQ variants (all 16GB for 2014/15) still holds up against the M1 in many situations with a modular SSD, but soldered RAM.
I still run Catalina on mine (High Sierra on SATA based), rather than Big Sur - I don't like the AirPrint requirement which is my primary objection. For 32-bit SW, that died with Mojave so that reason is throughly expired.
I realize for many the 15” rMBP is the equivalent of buying a Maserati or AMG vs a Honda but if you can afford to take the Maserati or AMG home with you and both are within your price range, which one would you take if both are fair game?