Luxury cars are a different kind of vehicles; they cost more and are also more expensive to maintain and repair. In addition, their warranties are not as generous as other mass-market brands. Still, people buy them for what they are offering in terms of comfort, performance, and, most importantly, image. After all, it’s not the same thing if you show up at a business meeting driving a mundane vehicle or one of these luxury brands, isn’t it? If that should happen, you’d better come in a Lyft or an Uber.
Likely two of the most well-known and most often cross-shopped car brands are BMW and Mercedes-Benz. When these vehicles were new, they were both covered by warranties. But, after a few years, they started to face technical problems. But which of these German megabrands’ vehicles are more gentle with your pockets and nerves? Let’s find out.
German Luxury Brand Comparison
Both brands have competitors in several size classes. They also have SUVs and crossovers in their lineups, but at the end of the day, all cars need repairs. Still, there are some conceptual differences between these brands. For instance, Mercedes-Benz is known for being more luxurious. Even the base models, such as the A-Class or the CLA, have a touch of luxury on them, even if they have some French engines under their hoods and are front-wheel-driven. Moving up to the scale, you’ll get the C, the E, or the mighty S-Class. As you’re closing to the top of the food chain in the carmaker’s lineup, you’ll get better vehicles in terms of fit and finish as well as refinement.
On the other side of the fence, there is BMW. It, too, has a few front-wheel-drive vehicles in the 2 Series range, but apart from those, all the others are either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Just like in the Mercedes-Benz situation, the lower models, such as the 2, 3, and 4 Series, don’t match the refinement and feeling of the 5 or 7 Series. Still, there is one particular characteristic that most BMWs share: sportiness. Even if they don’t impress on paper, they tell a different story behind the wheel. While Mercedes-Benz tends to lean more towards high-end luxury and comfort than its Bavarian counterpart, BMW’s design language and interiors are slightly more aggressive and interiors more race-car-looking. And we’re not even talking about the M-badged versions of it.
Who Makes The Most Reliable Cars?
When it comes to reliability, Japanese automakers have consistently excelled over the years. Even though they are not very concerned about high-powered vehicles, they are true stars in the dependability segment. Moreover, you’ll find four Japanese brands in the top ten reliability index issued by Consumer Reports. As a result, as a rule of thumb, you might say that the vehicles coming from that country are the best in terms of dependability.
European automakers, on the other hand, are not doing well in that category, with only two brands in the top 10 – both German. Surprisingly, there’s only one American brand there. At the same time, Korean brands are struggling, too, with just one brand in the top ten and all the others placed below.
Is BMW or Mercedes Cheaper To Maintain?
When we’re looking at repair bills, it’s a different story. According to CarEdge, it is much more expensive to maintain and repair a BMW than a Mercedes-Benz. During a ten-year lifespan, the repair costs for a Bimmer will get close to $20,000. Over the same period of time, Mercedes-Benz will require about $16,000 less.
According to the site, maintaining and repairing a nine-year-old BMW is more expensive than a 12-year-old Mercedes. Moreover, there is a 45,89% chance to have a major repair on a Bimmer before reaching its tenth anniversary and only 35,87% for an overhaul on a three-pointed star vehicle. We should add that the industry average repair cost for 10 years is $12,044, so both brands are not that friendly with your hard-earned cash.
Which Is More Reliable: Mercedes or BMW?
If you’re looking at J.D. Power, you’ll find these two brands very close in terms of reliability. Still, while some problems might keep your vehicle going and reaching a repair center, others will leave you stranded on the side of the road. Strangely, sometimes a former situation might have a costly repair while the latter can be an easy fix, such as a connector or an error in one of the car’s computers. Still, the same resource ranks BMW in 11th place with 108 problems out of one hundred vehicles.
Mercedes is not far, on the 15th spot, with 122 problems per 100 vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks vehicles based on predictability and more difficult calculations where the brand’s history is taken into account seriously. According to them, BMW ranks third, while Mercedes-Benz is in 24th place.
Unlike the N52, which was BMW’s most reliable six-cylinder engine, the N20 engine from the same family, and especially the twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder vehicles before 2017, such as the 328i and 528i was not even close. Those had many problems with the timing chains, oil leaks, water leak, water pumps failures, and the list might go on. After the introduction of the newer version, the B48, in 2017 on models such as the 330i (G20) and 530i (G30), most of those problems were solved. Still, there might be oil leaks onto the valve cover gasket that may be fixed only by replacing not just the seal but the entire cover. They are not perfect, though, and can still develop some issues with some sensors. Another member of the B-engine family is the inline-six version, also known as the B58. That is also turbocharged and better than its predecessor, the N58.
On the other hand, Mercedes-Benz had some issues with some of its engines, but fewer and costlier than BMW. Still, its problems were mainly related to the electrical system and, surprisingly, to rust. In addition, it also encountered problems with vehicles fitted with air suspension. Either the airbags or the compressors went out, and the repairs for those were not cheap. In addition, rust led the automaker to recall nearly 300,000 SUVs.
Newer models of its lower-end nameplates, such as the A-Class, CLA, and C-Class, are powered by engines supplied by Renault. Those are not at the same quality level as units developed and produced by Mercedes-Benz. Another difficult problem for Mercedes is the 4Matic system on several vehicles. The front shafts and both the front and center differentials are starting to emit some noises. Those are the kinds of issues that will tell you to go directly to service. Failing to do so will result in much higher service bills. Last but not least, beware of the two-liter turbocharged units from vehicles such as the C300 or the E300 since there’s a class action lawsuit against Mercedes-Benz due to those M274 engines.
As for the transmissions, BMW doesn’t make its own gearboxes. The German automaker gets them from ZF and then installs dedicated software on them to work best with its engines. Unfortunately, many owners forget to maintain that transmission, and after 120,000 miles, they start to fall, leaving drivers on the road with only one gear (the third) engaged to go into limp mode until the first repair shop. Mercedes, on the other hand, makes its own 9G-Tronic gearboxes. The three-pointed star brand introduced it in 2013, and until 2016, it had some issues with them. After 2016, those problems were solved, and they are now reliable.
Source : HotCars