BMW and Mercedes are both premium luxury brands with a long-standing history of producing top-of-the-line luxury vehicles. Cars produced by these brands usually offer an abundance of innovations and are incredibly complex.
Attributes such as these do come at a cost, and that’s reliability. Neither brand offers reliability results corresponding to their price tags. But if these two brands go head-to-head in the reliability match-up, Mercedes comes out slightly on top because it costs less to fix.
Which brand causes more problems?
As far as dependability is concerned, Mercedes ranks a bit higher than BMW does. Some independent car reliability sources such as J.D. Power and Associates. On their dependability chart, Mercedes managed to beat BMW by two spots, as Mercedes cars tend to break less.
However, in the reliability chart released by WhatCar, BMW managed to prove to be the more dependable manufacturer. Yet in other charts, like the UK Reliability index, both brands are on-par when it comes to reliability. It is rather easy to conclude that both brands offer comparable reliability in most cases.
A couple of decades ago both BMW and Mercedes were the car industry standard for reliability, but the ever-growing consumer demand for technology and luxury made it increasingly more demanding to offer reliable products. As such, BMW and Mercedes are somewhat comparable to each other, but in general, neither brand ranks favorably compared to other car manufacturers.
Sedan reliability: BMW wins
Comparing two specific models is certainly a more accurate way of determining which brand offers a more reliable product than it is to compare the brands as a whole. Both BMW and Mercedes offer a lot of cars for many different segments, and they do show slight differences in the reliability department.
In the mid-size sedan department, BMW offers the 5 series, and Mercedes offers the E-Class. Both of these cars are considered safe and luxurious, but as far as reliability is concerned the BMW comes out on top as a more reliable car.
The BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-class are the flagship sedans of each manufacturer. Both of these offer exceptional luxury, comfort, and style, at a comparable price point. Mercedes has just released the brand-new S-class, and a brand-new model usually scores worse than an already established competitor in the reliability segment, and so is the case with the new S-class.
Probably the most popular sedans by these brands are the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. And in this category, BMW has shown constant superiority in the reliability sector even though the 3-Series was released not too long ago.
SUV reliability: Mercedes wins
In the SUV department, Mercedes manages to offer more reliable SUVs compared to BMW. In the mid-size SUV segment Mercedes offers the GLE, and BMW offers the X5. The GLE managed to beat the X5 by a small margin in the safety and reliability department, while the X5 trumps the Merc in the handling department.
As far as big 7-seater SUVs are concerned, BMW offers the X7, and Mercedes-Benz offers the GLS. Mercedes also manages to beat the X7 as a more reliable vehicle. This is mostly because the GLS is a well-established model, and BMW only started making the X7 not too long ago.
In the small SUV segment, both of these brands offer admirably reliable SUVs. But in this segment, it seems like Mercedes takes the victory with the GLC, even though it’s fairly unclear which of these two models is truly more reliable as they are so closely matched.
This only goes to show that as far as reliability is concerned, both of these brands are pretty much equal, and as such, reliability is mostly dependent on the way how an owner treats the car from one situation to the next, and not necessarily on these charts and competitions.
Mercedes-Benz versus other brands
How do these brands stack up to Toyota and other Japanese automakers?
Japanese automakers such as Toyota or Lexus have constantly been offering exceptional reliability, and they have consistently placed higher than any German brands. That’s mostly because Toyota’s approach to building cars is more reliability oriented than it is technology oriented.
The same can be said about Lexus, even though Lexus is a luxury car brand. The advantages that Mercedes or BMW enjoy in the technology and luxury department are somewhat comparable to the advantage that Lexus enjoys is the reliability department.
How does Audi or Porsche compare to BMW and Mercedes in reliability?
It’s more or less the same story with Audi. There are many in-segment disparities and differences, but all things considered, all three of these offer comparable reliability results. But Porsche is a different story, in some respects at least.
Cars such as the Cayenne are fairly comparable to the X5 or the GLE. That’s because the platform upon which the Cayenne is built is shared among many car manufacturers inside the VAG group. But some models like the 911 offer much more in pretty much every segment, including reliability.
Which brand costs more to fix, BMW or Mercedes?
All cars break, and that’s unquestionable. But what is questionable is the price you pay to keep your car running, and in that situation, it’s even messier. However, on average, BMW costs $5k more to fix than Mercedes after all the warranties have expired.
And in this segment, it’s also more important how a specific model is treated. How a specific model is treated is pretty much the moral of the story. All these numbers are so close that they are more or less irrelevant.
The most important thing will always be how the car has been treated. Especially if you plan to buy used. Then all of this information is truly irrelevant because it tells you nothing about the condition of car you are looking into. If you are buying used, you should always do a pre-purchase inspection and consult a professional.