Most luxury cars have a reputation for being unreliable. Manufacturers try to equip them with every piece of technology possible – both new and old which makes them extremely complicated. This means that when these vehicles hit the roads and things do begin to go wrong over time, fixing these problems can get very expensive.
The fact that such vehicles can be unreliable stops many people from buying them in the first place, and this is despite such models offering up more comfort and an appealing to drive, as opposed to mainstream models. However, not all of them are this way. There are thankfully some luxury cars out there that can be dependable and won’t bankrupt you. In this article, we’ll be looking at a few of them to show you that affordable luxury is not a myth, and if you look hard enough, you can manage to find some gems among the lemons.
BMW 230i (F22)
An action shot of a BMW 2 Series
The first model comes from BMW and this one will surprise you with its reliability. You may be aware that BMW had some reliability issues in the past – especially with the N20 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. They had horrendous problems that could in many cases be catastrophic and extremely expensive to repair. However, in recent years, the old 2.0 liter has been upgraded to a newer and much more reliable version dubbed the B48.
The B48 is also a 2.0-liter four-cylinder; however, this one is much more reliable. It is essentially a smaller version of the great B58 that can be found in cars like the Toyota Supra. Now, these engines are paired to a ZF eight-speed transmission or a six-speed manual, which is also dependable and widely used; therefore, the drivetrain in these newer two-series vehicles is actually good. As the BMW 2 Series sits near the bottom within the BMW range, things are far more simpler and there’s lees that can go wrong. Consumer Reports recommends the 2016 BMW 2 Series, which received a predicted reliability score of 5/5.
Porsche 911 (997)
An action shot of a 2008 Porsche 911 driving on a twisty road
Now, the 911 may not be the first car that pops to mind when you think about luxury as its main purpose is speed and handling. However, there is no denying the upmarket looks, cabin, and general brand image of this vehicle. For decades now, the 911 has been considered the most reliable and usable sportscar and that is for good reason. Inside, you will find high-quality materials that should stand the test of time well.
Also, for the most part, the engines do not have many problems and there are plenty of specialist mechanics out there that know how to fix them well. If we look at the 997 generation, the 2007 and 2008 models years had little to no problems according to CarComplaints. Like all vehicles, some design mistakes were made along the way but generally speaking, this is a stout car. Prices of course carry a premium, but the 911 holds its value incredibly well; therefore, if you do have to pour some money into it, you will be saved by low depreciation.
Audi S3 (8V)
A front 3/4 action shot of an Audi S3 driving
Audi is another brand that you wouldn’t expect to see on a list of reliable vehicles; however, the S3 isn’t bad when it comes to this subject. Under the hood, you will find the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that is employed by many Audi and VW group models. This is a strong engine that is easy to tune and doesn’t have many issues. According to CarComplaints, barring the 2015 model year, most their generation S3s have been dependable.
Behind it, we get the incredibly fast DSG transmission or a manual. The weakest link of this particular model is its automatic transmission. DSG for the most part is reliable but can fail on high-mileage models. When it does fail, it can expensive to fix. Inside, the S3 is full of leather and amenities that can put it into the luxurious market. Sure, it is no Audi A8, but it is certainly respectable for a compact car.
A front 3/4 action shot of a 2019 Mercedes Class Coupe
The W205 C Class is one of the nicest new-era Mercedes vehicles. The design is amazing both inside and out. Also, the incredible number of drivetrains available provide a choice for everyone in the price range for such vehicles. For the most part, this is a reliable car – even when bought in the complicated and extremely powerful turbo V8 AMG versions. Consumer Reports awarded a 5/5 predicted reliability score to the 2019 and 2020 model years.
During its lifespan, we haven’t seen any major faults or issues that would deem this vehicle a bad choice. Granted, some parts may involve a lot of labor to be replaced and therefore, a higher bill. That being said, this is a dependable vehicle that shouldn’t have you visiting the mechanic more often than you should.
BMW 640i (F12/F13)
Who would’ve guessed? Another BMW is on this list of reliable vehicles. Well, the 640 and in fact, all other BMWs with the 40 designations at the end of their model name use the incredible B58 engine that was mentioned at the beginning of the article. This 3.0-liter six-cylinder has a forged crankshaft and connecting rods which leads to respectable amounts of power, good tunability, and great reliability.
This is the engine that saved BMWs reputation as right before it, reliability reports were terrible. Of course, in the 6-Series body, this engine will provide reliability with an incredibly slick and luxurious cabin and exterior. If you are looking for a luxurious and classy daily driver, the 640i is tough to beat.
The Above Vehicles are Reliable But Can Still Be Costly
A front 3/4 studio shot of a 2017 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe
The fact that the vehicles we have mentioned above are reliable doesn’t mean you should expect costs of ownership to be similar to those of owning a car from one of the mainstream brands. These are cars with a lot of power, and expensive price tags; therefore, maintenance is expensive regardless. Replacement part prices usually reflect the price of the vehicle when it was new.
Also, due to their complexity, fixing things can be labor-intensive and therefore more costly. Sure, they are far better to own than other options out there, but this doesn’t mean they are cheap. If you are in the market for an incredibly reliable and cost-free ownership experience the luxury car segment isn’t right for you. Unless you buy a 20-year-old Lexus, those things are pretty much indestructible.