Both Porsche and BMW have long been a part of the best luxury car brand club. Luxury and comfort-wise they are fairly comparable in the segment. They tick similar boxes when it comes to performance and desirability as well.
But where they do differ is reliability because Porsche is indeed unmatched by its German luxury rivals, if maintained correctly. Some specific Porsche models like the 911 or the Cayman/Boxster models are also usually purchased by car enthusiasts who take better care of their cars.
Porsche’s reliability and durability have gone down slightly in the last few years due to the increase in available models, and some more popular Cayenne and Macan models are not as sturdy as a 911. But if maintained correctly, Porsches usually do offer better reliability.
That’s not to say that BMWs don’t offer decent reliability, it’s just not on the same level as Porsche. These cars are made efficiently, but they are hard to work on. They are not usually made with the idea of a regular person working on their cars, but require specialized mechanics.
If you take an unbiased look, at a larger scale, Porsche’s reliability is certainly one of the brand’s strong suits. Its reliability ratings have always been above average.
A luxury car is usually a lot more complex than a regular consumer-branded car. This means that a Porsche or a BMW will always offer more features than a Honda or Toyota. The increased complexity leads to luxury cars being more prone to being unreliable.
A few years back, Porsche’s reliability was a bit questionable, but the latest reports suggest that Porsche is indeed back for the reliability title. Porsche has earned a top spot in the J.D. Power Dependability Study with a stellar 5-star dependability rating.
Some models like the Cayenne or the Panamera don’t fare all that well, but the 911, Cayman/Boxster models do. So much so that they still managed to push the brand to a top position. This feat is rather impressive because a few years ago Porsche was nowhere near the top.
Common Porsche problems
Some of the more common problems Porsche owners usually face are oil leaks. Sometimes Porsche oil spills can be a pain to fix if they come from rear main seals, which means that you have to take the transmission out to reach it.
Other problems like a low or non-functioning battery that can sometimes plague some Porsche models, but this is mostly because Porsche models are not driven that often.
If you strain the clutch on a manual Porsche, you might also end up with the need for an early clutch replacement.
BMWs on the other hand, can’t match Porsche for reliability. BMW has developed many feature-packed luxury cars. Like other similar cars, you will hardly ever come across a luxury brand that is also reliable, besides Lexus of course.
BMW usually ranks lower compared to Porsche on almost all recent reliability charts. But there are lots of fluctuations between the different charts. BMW ranks on number 8 of JD Power rankings, whereas Porsche took first place.
BMW has somewhat of a reputation for unreliability and some people also believe that BMW earns most of its money on spare parts and maintenance, and not on new car costs. They think that BMW cars are unreliable on purpose as a way of earning more money, but this is rather unfounded because BMWs have average ownership/maintenance costs.
While a BMWs may be more unreliable than a Porche, it does cost less to maintain a BMW. If you consider maintenance, the price of owning a BMW or a Porsche is somewhat comparable. No matter the brand or the model, proper maintenance is likely to increase the reliability of any car out there.
Common BMW problems
Common BMW problems are engine cooling system issues, oil leaks, steering wheel vibrations, interior wear, and some electrical issues. Most BMW owners face these issues if they own their cars for a considerable amount of time, but that is to be expected with almost every car brand.
Some of these problems can be fixed fairly cheaply, and some of them will require you to take your car to a service shop. It’s also worth mentioning that some model-specific problems are not listed here.
Don’t let these issues discourage you from buying a BMW, if it’s your dream car. If you maintain your car as recommended, you are likely to enjoy a BMW for years.
How long do BMW and Porsche models last?
Even though some might sometimes consider these vehicles to be unreliable, if you take proper of your Porsche or BMW, they can last you hundreds of thousands of miles. And that’s the case with a lot of German cars, including Audi, VW, and Mercedes.
Sometimes they might seem too expensive to maintain, and that they break way too often, but it’s also not uncommon to hear stories about a 200k-mile Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, or Audi. These cars are worth the money.
If depreciation lures you into buying one of these cars after a few years, just make sure it’s in good condition and keep it well-maintained, and who knows how long it could last.
What is the maintenance like on BMW and Porsche?
Porsches don’t break as often as BMWs do, but when they do, they are more expensive to fix. Some even believe that the increased maintenance costs associated with a Porsche somewhat take away from its above-average reliability.
Porsche yearly service bills sometimes stretch over $1-2k, and BMW yearly service bills are somewhat cheaper. It all depends on what needs to be repaired, but in general, a BMW should cost less to maintain yearly.
Should I buy a Porsche or a BMW?
Some might argue in the logic behind opting for a Porsche or a BMW, instead of a more reliable model like Lexus, for example. Lexus models consistently top the charts for reliability and durability in the luxury segment. But there are no Japanese brands that can seriously offer what BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche do.
You should not be discouraged by this article if you are interested in buying a BMW or a Porsche. If you do your due diligence and maintain the cars correctly, they are both amazing brands. You might want to go for a Porsche if you value a stronger brand name or more sporty options, or go for BMW if you prefer fast sedans or SUVs.