Luxury cars are among the most desirable and appealing cars to own. Getting chauffeured around town while enjoying a silky smooth ride can be euphoric for some, while some would love a more hands-on experience and cruise around in style and premium comfort. These cars offer lots of good stuff as they cost so much in return, after all.
Now, a person can get around the high price tag by choosing a used luxury car instead with a depreciated price. But maintaining the car is something we can not overlook or skip, and luxury cars tend to cost ridiculously high in a garage or an auto shop. In such cases, reliability takes paramount priority over everything else. Japanese brands like Lexus come to mind when we think of the most reliable luxury car brand. But the Europeans brought Luxury cars to people around the world in the first place.
We’ve got some pretty reliable and long-lasting cars from Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Volvo over the years. Here are some of the best ones if we go through the history books.
10 Current-Gen BMW 4 Series
You can never say that German cars will definitely be reliable or not be reliable at all. But BMW has done a good job with the modern 4 Series luxury sedans. The 2022 model suffered from a sunroof issue, but other than that, the BMW 4 Series has gathered lots of praise from people and reviewers alike.
BMW’s generous warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles suggests that the 4 Series has a solid build quality, something BMW hasn’t had the luxury to achieve in all its models. But the 4 Series got a fairly good response from owners in the reliability department. And it’s a great luxury sedan too, one that doesn’t compromise comfort for its sharp handling.
9 2003 Rolls-Royce Phantom
BMW owns Rolls-Royce, and their first car under the Rolls-Royce name is the revival of one of the oldest names in luxury car history, the Phantom. It was natural to think that BMW would end up giving us what would be basically an ultra-luxurious version of their 7 Series sedan.
But that wasn’t the case, and the Phantom retained its originality in the form of bespoke styling, master craftsmanship, and rugged build quality. The Phantom went on to elevate the Rolls-Royce name and reputation to greater heights, and this wouldn’t have been possible if the Phantom broke down a lot.
8 2013 Audi A4
The A4 might be an entry-level luxury sedan, but it doesn’t lack anything in terms of dependability whatsoever. The 2013 Audi A4 gets a respectable 87 out of 100 reliability score on JD Power. While it’s not the best and most reliable Audi, it’s right up there with the likes of the TT and RS6.
It came with a turbo-4 engine that made 211 hp. The history and track record of the 2013 A4 joins many others as an example that entry-level German sedans are your best bet when it comes to reliable used luxury cars.
7 2011-2017 Audi A8
The Audi A8 left the rivals BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S Class behind in terms of pricing and became the cheapest full-size luxury Sedan from the trio of German brands. But it did not reflect on its build quality at all. In fact, the A8 also helped Audi become a more trusted brand than BMW and Mercedes in terms of reliability.
The 2011 A8 costs about $2,843 to repair and maintain in the first 5 years according to CarEdge. That is a good sign of a strong car that doesn’t break down easily.
6 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
While the A8 reigned supreme in the full-size luxury sedan department in 2011, Mercedes struck back with the C-Class and its marvelous dependability. The 2011 C-Class offered plenty of luxury, comfort, and style. Plenty of power was present in all three engine options consisting two V6s and a V8 for the C63 AMG trim.
The 2011 C-Class sits comfortably with 85/100 rating for quality and reliability at JD Power and is ahead of fellow European competitors. And it’s a very practical sedan too with adequate trunk and cargo spaces and good visibility out of the windshield.
5 2017-Present Volvo S90
Volvo debuted the S90 in 2017, and it has subtly taken its position as a top dog in the safety and reliability spectrum in the luxury sedan market. Edmunds gave it an 8.1 out of 10, and we give it a double thumbs up for the charming yet polite look it wears.
Volvo prides itself in making some of the safest and most reliable cars in the world, and the S90 is a valiant attempt from them to keep that image alive. While the S90 does not dethrone the mighty 240, but it’s quite a great sedan with oodles of dependability and longevity.
4 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The S-Class is the pinnacle of the luxury sedan market. It was the success, popularity, and reputation of the S-Class that prompted Toyota to create Lexus and compete with Mercedes in the Luxury front. The world has seen the S-Class since 1954, and we’ve gotten some of the absolute best cars of all time bearing that name.
But the 2009 S-Class stays at the top part of the list when we sort it by reliability. The 2009 S-Class was not perfect, it had bad fuel economy and little quirks here and there. But when it comes to things that matter the most i.e. dependability, this S-Class is bullet-proof.
3 W124 Mercedes-Benz W124 500E
You can say that the W124 was the ultimate sleeper back when it came out in the ’90s, and it’s fast even by today’s standards. If you want an example of something good coming out of something bad, look no further than the post-WWII era Mercedes models of the mid to late 20th century.
The W124 500E boasted solid build quality, an awesome 5.0-liter V8, sharp handling, and a luxurious cabin. It also has rarity/exclusivity on its side, so as much as it makes it even cooler, it can be difficult to find one today. But do not make the same mistake as most people did back then and overlook it if you come across it someday.
2 W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
German cars tend to be over-engineered, and the W140 S-Class is a prime example of it. The W140 S-Class featured a bold design at that time, which, even the designer of the car, Bruno Sacco did not fully support. But something that everyone liked equally was its durability.
Another awesome thing about it is the crisp V12 under the hood. You can still find some of these popping up in the used market even today, which only goes to show how durable it is. And it’s got cutting-edge (at the time) features too like Xenon headlights, double-glazed insulated windows, and an electronic stability program.
1 Mercedes-Benz W123
If you want the epitome of a car that’s tough, rugged, and long-lasting, look no further than the W123. In a time when Germany suffered from political problems and instability, Mercedes had to build basically a tank of wheels that would give some semblance of stability and control to the people.
Even Mercedes acknowledges the W123 as an inspiration to make tough and reliable cars going forward, which is a huge testament to just how great the W123 lineup of cars is. In other words, the W123 is one of the longest-lasting cars on the planet.