German cars have a name for performance, but sometimes lack a good reputation in terms of reliability and maintenance costs. Audi, BMW, VW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz are only a few of the German names. Which are the most reliable ones? Well, it depends on the segment you choose. For a small economy car, VW leads the charts, whereas, for mid-size luxury sedans, BMW 3 Series is the clear winner.
German cars ranked in reliability according to car segments
All German vehicles manufactured past 2010 are using degradable plastic parts in their engines, which means they give up on long-term reliability in order to fight climate change. Although this mind is a big step-down, it’s a large step toward making the world a better place.
Some car manufacturers focus on Luxury sedans, others on hatchbacks, and SUVs, so comparing them all-round would be a general mistake and would give us no new insights. We’ve divided the cars into several segments so you can get a good understanding of what to look for, depending on the type of vehicle you are looking for.
Which is the most reliable all-round Luxury Sedan?
#1 BMW 3-Series
The BMW 3-Series is the closest thing you can get to the ultimate driving machine. It is very sporty, while still rivalling all other luxury sedans in terms of features, safety and reliability. Moreover, it is affordable and has a dynamical and capable chassis. The engine range is the widest and most potent of all other German manufacturers in the same segment.
#2 Mercedes-Benz C class W204-gen
The Mercedes-Benz C Class is a classic vehicle that had an impeccable reliability rating for the W204 generation until the next one was released. With the W205 coming alive there were failing sensors, squeaky interiors and many other little issues that might drive you crazy in just a few trips.
Notable mention: Audi A4
The Audi A4 shares most of its engines with another German car, namely the Volkswagen Golf, which makes its drivetrain near bulletproof. And although the A4 is a somewhat reliable car with few engine issues, it requires quite a bit of oil and commonly experiences lesser gasket issues. We wouldn’t put it with the Mercedes C-class and the 3-Series.
The most reliable small economy car for the city
If you’re thinking of a small car for the city, BMW 1 Series, Audi A1, Mercedes A-class should come to mind. But the winner here is not anything else but the Volkswagen Up! or Polo. Both of these vehicles provide you with more for less.
Although the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a small city car is a Mini or a BMW 1-Series, these are far from the best, when you include a Volkswagen in the list. The BMWs in the segment often experience timing chain issues, whereas the Up! is close to indestructible.
Talking about mid-size compact hatchbacks
Audi A3, Mercedes A-class redesign are worthy mentions here but they pale in comparison with the Volkswagen Golf which is the clear winner. Although VW Golf and Audi A3 are the same cars underneath the hood, the choice here is the VW, since it’s much cheaper than the Audi and gives you the same performance.
These two cars would give you the same faults in terms of engine and features, but the Golf would cost much less to be serviced, repaired and maintained.
Mid-Size Luxury sedan
The BMW 5-Series
Not only is the BMW 5-Series the most beautiful choice here, but it is also the most reliable. This vehicle gives you everything you need in a styling fashion. With a wide engine range and full of comfortable features, the 5-Series is as reliable as a BMW 3-Series, which is BMW’s bestseller vehicle for a reason.
Mid-Size Luxury SUV
Porsche Macan is a great 4×4 vehicle that has dynamic sport capabilities and does not break as easily as it looks. Compared to the X7 and G class of respectively BMW and Mercedes, it is slightly more reliable but also comes at a higher price.
On the other hand, Mercedes GLE is one of the most reliable vehicles brought out by German manufacturers, but we can safely label it a Large SUV, where it is clearly the winner.
Full-size Luxury SUV
The Mercedes-Benz GLE has been labelled as one of the most reliable Full-size Luxury SUVs, with only 17 percent of the tested cars having any faults in the drivetrain or the innovative features, whereas other German cars in the segment experienced slightly over 20 per cent.
Moreover, the majority of these cars that are tested and experience any lesser faults are immediately repaired and sent back to the market.
You tend to encounter more Audi Q7 on the road than any other Full-size Luxury SUV in most countries. The reason for that is not only their stylish looks and slightly cheaper price but the fact that they are much more reliable than most.
The Q7 is easily the most reliable car in the Full-size Luxury SUV segment on this list.
Which is the fastest German car on the consumer market that you can purchase?
A Porsche 911 GT2 RS 991 can reach from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 2,5 seconds but doesn’t provide you with any comfort whatsoever. BMW M3, BMW M8 and M5 Competition can all give you under 4 seconds for a time to reach from 0 to 62 miles per hour. The BMW Competition even reaches 62 mph in just 3.0 seconds, making it one of the fastest vehicles on the planet.
Which are the most expensive to maintain German cars?
All German cars are expensive to maintain, compared to most other vehicles with the exceptions of Volkswagen and Opel. Audis, Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW all top the charts in terms of expenses when you talk about repairs, servicing and general maintenance. BMW is the most expensive to maintain out of the three with the most common repairs.