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TwiceHorn

BMW Audi and Benz Reliability and Cost

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As I have posted before, in the market for a new whip as you whippersnappers might say.

Wife and I have driven American for the last 10 years (one chevy, one caddy), and they have been really good reliability-wise and the cost of what few repairs we have done have been negligible or reasonable.  As in, $40 all-in for intermittent electric door locks and just under $600 for a water pump.  That's. It.

But, American cars are at the bottom of the heap of the reliability studies, except I don't "buy" them.  

You still see anecdotes of pretty fucking defective krautwagens on the car threads.  More BMW and Audi than Benz.  And someone fairly recently posted "don't own an Audi past the warranty."

Right or wrong, Benzes don't frighten me, except possibly repair costs.  BMWs still scare me a bit, and Audis make me pee down my leg.

What are your experiences and anecdotes with chronically in the shop krautwagens, as well as the costs of repair out of warranty?  Within the last few years, please, and note whether you have a euro-mechanic that isn't a dealership.

TIA.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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I've mentioned this on other threads, but I've bought and driven 4 used E-Class MBs (all at about 2 y/o or 50K miles, i.e. -- at about half of original sticker price) over the past 20 or so years.  I've gotten all of them up to 200K+ on the odometer without anything too ridiculous happening maintenance-wise (OK, the MB before the one I have now did blow a transmission seal and totally FUBAR the transmission, but it was at 235K miles, so I was happy to sell that one to the salvage yard and start over!).  I do use an independent shop to do all of my maintenance.  Solid cars.  Good luck.

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I had an old BMW...a "E34" model.  It was, without a doubt, the finest car that I've ever owned, and a better car than any of my friends and family ever owned.  Fucking bulletproof. 

I now own one of the less-expensive MB's, and, although I like it very much, the CPO warranty came in very handy (new transmission, plus a few nuisance items).

My experience with American cars has been very good...with Jap cars not so good. 

Also, I have a tenant with a fairly-new Audi, and I really don't talk to him about it much, but I notice he's often got a loaner in his parking space. 

Edited by Gil Bang

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54 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

You have an E400 coupe right?  Eesh on the tranny.  

I'm not that fancy.  It's been 4-door E320's and E350's.  Love the 6 cylinder engines.  Great power and around 30 mpg up and down I-35 and I-45.

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2 minutes ago, DalTxHornFan said:

I'm not that fancy.  It's been 4-door E320's and E350's.  Love the 6 cylinder engines.  Great power and around 30 mpg up and down I-35 and I-45.

Sorry, I should have quoted.  That was for Gil.

Shit E400 is just the E with a six cylinder, nothing fancy.  Fancy as an E-Class.

Yeah I do like the idea of something more than a 4T.  I did have a normally aspirated 4 in an Acura that was pretty satisfactory, even with it's 166! fpt.  It was a manual though.

If I got an E, it would be the 6.  I don't think I would own a BMW without a six (the eights would seem to be too high strung for my taste).

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13 minutes ago, NoRagrets said:

I had a barely out of warranty bmw once for 11 months. Total money pit.

What year, what model?

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I had a 1984 300TD Benz diesel that lasted to 327k miles before it shit the bed. Bought it around 300k miles and only replaced a starter and alternator.

I then had 2001 e55, 2004 e55 and 2010 e63, each bought around 7 years old with around 70-90k miles on them.

The 2001 was great. Didn't have many issues but totaled it after hitting a puddle going 60 and hydroplaning into a cement barrier. Insurance totaled it but I drove it for a few weeks before turning it in.

The 2004 was pretty good but had two big problems. The main problem was the air shocks kept failing. Went through several at $1000 a pop. Mercedes changed the way they did them in the e63 and never had issues with them in the 63. The thing that caused me to sell it was the electrical issues. The dash started fucking up. I took it to my normal place and they told me to take it to the dealer. The dealer said it would be $100 to diagnose, they spend 80 man hours trying to figure it out and never really did. They got it semi working and I sold it. Total bill from the dealer was $100. Drove it from 80-180k miles.

The 2010 ran like a champ the entire time I had it.  Only issue was the car wouldn't go into park occasionally. The guy I bought it from bought it used from a benz dealer and had a CPO warranty on it that covered that. Got in a fender bender and the insurance totaled it. Took it from 90-140k miles. 

The thing about mercedes that is important is to avoid the year they do big changes to the car. Lots of lemons in the year change over, MB then fixes the issues and the next few years are solid. 

As soon as I get a regular job I'm going to get another e63. 

 

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5 minutes ago, NoRagrets said:

2005 bmw 330i sport package. The tires alone lasted on year and were $900.

Did only one model/brand fit?  I've had that issue, but thankfully it was less than 900.  

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Just now, TwiceHorn said:

Did only one model/brand fit?  I've had that issue, but thankfully it was less than 900.  

I shopped it around. Because it had the M sports package it had these rare staggered tires. My choice was Michelin or Dunlop. It was painful. 

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I know I'm going on statistically insignificant anecdotes here, but stories like Bob's and DalTx give me warm fuzzies about M-B.

Whereas the anecdotes about BMW and Audi do not.  Ready for some good ones about them (probably not getting any on Audi).  Gil and a few others have good stories about 5-series, usually older.  Seems the others may be more problematic.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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1 minute ago, Sbbruin said:

My 5 series completely shit the bed at about 110,000.  That’s my experience.

I tend to buy gently used and launch em around 90k.  How was it before that?

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43 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

I tend to buy gently used and launch em around 90k.  How was it before that?

Great.  I loved that car.

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I had more problems with the BMW dealership than the actual vehicle.  And for all the troubles, the 6 cyl turbo was such a supreme motor.  Though you should just buy a Genesis G70

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I've had two X5s with almost no issues over 400k miles combined. I fix everything in house so no idea on dealer service

Edited by G650
typo

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My 2012 a4 has been great. Granted, I only have 83,000 miles on it, but no issues at all. In contrast, my experience with Buick and Pontiac has been decidedly worse. I also have a 2013 Ford Flex that I bought well used that has had constant issues (although it has been a great people mover). I've also found the audi dealerships here in Houston very easy to deal with and have been very happy with their service. 

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5 hours ago, 52-80 said:

I had more problems with the BMW dealership than the actual vehicle.  And for all the troubles, the 6 cyl turbo was such a supreme motor.  Though you should just buy a Genesis G70

I have been looking at them.  Strangest damn thing.  All the used ones around here have like fewer than 5k miles and some like in the hundreds, or couple thousand..  I know it's a new model and probably not selling like crazy, but you'd think thered be a couple 10-20k milers out there.  Thus, they are not more than the initial bargain.  Maybe into 2020.

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1 hour ago, G650 said:

I've had two X5s with almost no issues over 400k miles combined. I fix everything in house so no idea on dealer service

Got them metric tools, do ya?

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14 minutes ago, Dahobbs said:

My 2012 a4 has been great. Granted, I only have 83,000 miles on it, but no issues at all. In contrast, my experience with Buick and Pontiac has been decidedly worse. I also have a 2013 Ford Flex that I bought well used that has had constant issues (although it has been a great people mover). I've also found the audi dealerships here in Houston very easy to deal with and have been very happy with their service. 

That's the type of mileage I seem to compile.

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Owned a MB E320 for over a decade. Near the end the repairs were costing about as much a payment. you also have the decisions that it needs $1500 in repairs (which is easy to hit) when the whole vehicle operating correctly is worth $4K.

I also found that the Houston streets beat the shit out of the suspension. The frame/body bottomed out with a few surprise pot holes.

 

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10 hours ago, NoRagrets said:

I shopped it around. Because it had the M sports package it had these rare staggered tires. My choice was Michelin or Dunlop. It was painful. 

I seem to remember @immamac buying an M3 a few years ago, dunno if it had the sport package and staggered tires.

I bought a CPO 3 series ('16) back in late 2016. It's been all good so far, but I don't put a lot of miles on it, maybe 8K a year? I did have to replace the tires, but found some rebates and sales to make it not too bad (though still expensive since they were runflats). I did finally get a crack on the windshield and it was too big for the repair kit I used to work so that will eventually have to be replaced ($700 I think if I get one with the rain sensor), but it's not in the way of anything so I'm holding off on it. My maintenance plan runs out next year I believe.

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haha,. After getting <$500 brake jobs on my tahoe I just about threw up when they told me what it was going to be on the e55.

I think between the three I had the brakes done one time, and it was about $2000. I think it would be much cheaper on the non amg's. 

In my experience any non C class, non new model year benz should be good to go till around 100-120k miles and then you'll start running into things. If you're worried about it buy a Certified Pre-owned from the dealer. My e63 had a bumper to bumper coverage from the previous owner and they treated me like a king.  During that time of the electrical issue I got a loaner from them and drove it for a month. 

If all you're worried about is reliability get a honda or toyota. If you want to enjoy you're commute as much as you can, be able to cruse down the highway thinking you're doing 70 and look down and realize you're doing 100,  and be going 90 on I35 and have some asshole in a mustang pull up next to you, rev his engine, floor it and be able to accelerate away from him like he's standing still get a 2-3 year old e63 amg. 

 

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Loved my 5 Series till my high beam switch died.  It was going to be just about $1,200 to replace, because zee German engineers bundled it to the odometer, and only an authorized BMW dealer could replace the part.  A $20 switch that was gonna cost $1,200 sealed BMW's fate with me. Never again, but damn I liked driving it. It made you feel like you were connected to the asphalt by a cold steel rail.

Edited by Onboard 2.0

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Agree that nothing beats opening up a german sports car on the highway. For a short time I was able to take advantage of that with a long daily commute out of Houston but then I transitioned to local only, and rarely got the chance. I barely even got on freeways so it was time to wave goodbye to it.

The strategy of buying an older car is interesting as german cars lose value quickly once out of warranty. So it won't cost too much to start out, but you need to budget for the inevitable repairs.

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4 minutes ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

Agree that nothing beats opening up a german sports car on the highway. For a short time I was able to take advantage of that with a long daily commute out of Houston but then I transitioned to local only, and rarely got the chance. I barely even got on freeways so it was time to wave goodbye to it.

The strategy of buying an older car is interesting as german cars lose value quickly once out of warranty. So it won't cost too much to start out, but you need to budget for the inevitable repairs.

Toyota, and Hyundai for the win on reliability I believe.  Had a guy offer me a straight up trade for a 2014 or 15  6 series convertible for my 65 Mustang convertible.  No thank you

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I intend to purchase something at least a little fun to drive.  But I don't want to be bleeding from the neck for the privilege. 

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31 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

I intend to purchase something at least a little fun to drive.  But I don't want to be bleeding from the neck for the privilege. 

Look at Tesla, fastest car I've driven in years.   Look at a new Mustang.

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38 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

I intend to purchase something at least a little fun to drive.  But I don't want to be bleeding from the neck for the privilege. 

Hyundai i30 Fastback N-edition or whatever

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3 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

Got them metric tools, do ya?

Indeed. Got a fleet of German excavators too.

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2 hours ago, blacklab said:

...

In my experience any non C class, non new model year benz should be good to go till around 100-120k miles and then you'll start running into things. If you're worried about it buy a Certified Pre-owned from the dealer. My e63 had a bumper to bumper coverage from the previous owner and they treated me like a king.  During that time of the electrical issue I got a loaner from them and drove it for a month. 

If all you're worried about is reliability get a honda or toyota. If you want to enjoy you're commute as much as you can, be able to cruse down the highway thinking you're doing 70 and look down and realize you're doing 100,  and be going 90 on I35 and have some asshole in a mustang pull up next to you, rev his engine, floor it and be able to accelerate away from him like he's standing still get a 2-3 year old e63 amg. 

 

I would echo this.  E class or higher on MBZ and it's a quality vehicle.  Below that, the cost/quality ratio just seems to fall below its Japanese competitors.

Same for BMW.  5-series or higher otherwise don't do it.  Although...my old car is a 2013 535i and I swear, the Infiniti G35 I used to have was quicker, faster, and handled better.  Even though the G35 is more comparable to a 3-series or C-class.

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I've driven the BMW 5 series for almost 18 years.  10 years with the E39 (530i) and eight years with the F10 (528i).  The F10 has been a great car maintenance wise.  The E39 was a tremendous driving experience.  As someone else said above it was like you were connected to the asphalt on a rail.  Both cars have the same fabulous inline 6 cylinder engine.  The F10 drives more like a Lexus than the old E39, but it has been far less expensive to maintain.  The old E39 had a couple of oil leaks which ran about $1,000 each at an indy mechanic.  I'm at around 90k miles on my F10 and I plan to keep it a few more years assuming all goes well.  If you are handy and can turn a wrench you can save a bundle on some of the routine maintenance on some of the euro cars.  Spark plugs and brake pads/rotors are fairly easy to replace.  

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Grandad worked for Fisher Body/GM his entire career. So...was a big supporter of Chevy/GM for most of my cars. 2003 Tahoe is about to hit 250k miles and still drives like a champ but an oil link is making me nervous recently.

But, after paying a good chunk for a ‘17 Tahoe for Mrs. Tailgate I started looking around at Mercedes and BMW also. The Audi was tossed aside as I have friends who’ve had issues with theirs both mechanically and aesthetically.

After driving many cars and SUVs from both we went with Mercedes because of friends recommendations and we were more impressed with the service level. And it didn’t hurt with USAA we got the fleet discount.

We started with a GLC for the little Tailgate but it looks like Mrs. Tailgate is going to move on a GLS soon. Couldn’t be happier with sales and service at Austin location.

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11 minutes ago, Tailgate said:

Grandad worked for Fisher Body/GM his entire career. So...was a big supporter of Chevy/GM for most of my cars. 2003 Tahoe is about to hit 250k miles and still drives like a champ but an oil link is making me nervous recently.

But, after paying a good chunk for a ‘17 Tahoe for Mrs. Tailgate I started looking around at Mercedes and BMW also. The Audi was tossed aside as I have friends who’ve had issues with theirs both mechanically and aesthetically.

After driving many cars and SUVs from both we went with Mercedes because of friends recommendations and we were more impressed with the service level. And it didn’t hurt with USAA we got the fleet discount.

We started with a GLC for the little Tailgate but it looks like Mrs. Tailgate is going to move on a GLS soon. Couldn’t be happier with sales and service at Austin location.

Did you comment on the GLC thread I had?  I remain intrigued by them despite possibly needing testosterone injections.  Seem like a really tidy package and so un-wagon-like, to me.

Certain X5s, I assume ones with M-Sport, look really good to me (wide in the rear track) and supposedly the Xs have picked up where the 3, 4, and 5 cars left off, driving wise.  But they're pretty spendy, probably a bit bigger than I want, and  . . . . BMW, despite G650s endorsement.

The X3 just looks vaginal to me.  I'd say they have tits, but they aren't that voluptuous.

When you say "aesthetically" regarding the Audis, does that mean interior wear/breakage, paint and whatnot? The Audi SUVs are well reviewed almost everywhere as are most of the cars.  Thankfully, to avoid temptation, they hardly make any A5 coupes anymore, because I've always liked that one.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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50 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Did you comment on the GLC thread I had?  I remain intrigued by them despite possibly needing testosterone injections.  Seem like a really tidy package and so un-wagon-like, to me.

Certain X5s, I assume ones with M-Sport, look really good to me (wide in the rear track) and supposedly the Xs have picked up where the 3, 4, and 5 cars left off, driving wise.  But they're pretty spendy, probably a bit bigger than I want, and  . . . . BMW, despite G650s endorsement.

The X3 just looks vaginal to me.  I'd say they have tits, but they aren't that voluptuous.

When you say "aesthetically" regarding the Audis, does that mean interior wear/breakage, paint and whatnot? The Audi SUVs are well reviewed almost everywhere as are most of the cars.  Thankfully, to avoid temptation, they hardly make any A5 coupes anymore, because I've always liked that one.

Mmmm...not sure about GLC thread commenting...but I feel safe with the little one driving it and when I drive it I’m always impressed. Seriously a great car and ride with some cool features...and the price was right. 

And yeah...all the X BMWs I drove felt like I was in a compact SUV. I need more room for myself.

The aesthetics issue was peeling of paint/finish around the center dashboard area in a car that was <5 yrs old.

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My F150’s have been in the shop more than the 3 Audi’s my wife has had. 2 Q5’s and an A5 and outside of her getting reamed for a brake job there were zero issues with any of them. All of our vehicles are usually traded by 60k miles, so I can’t speak to reliability past that.

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I have a 2012 A6 loaded up. I bought it in 2014 and it had 14K miles on it and some warranty left. It has about 75K on it now. I love it, favorite car ever.

The only thing I had fixed under warranty was the side view mirror (motor failed). The only big repairs out of warranty were motor and transmission mounts, and some broken cooling system fittings.

The problem with German cars is the parts. I have a great mechanic who charges reasonable rates but the parts are crazy expensive.

That said I intend to drive my A6 until the wheels fall off or it gets too expensive to maintain. I paid cash for it so my annual cost of ownership since then hasn’t been bad. It’s fun to drive and has the B&O sound system which is fabulous. For $1K I could add almost another hundred horsepower with a tune, but I haven’t felt the need.

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7 hours ago, Brew said:

My F150’s have been in the shop more than the 3 Audi’s my wife has had. 2 Q5’s and an A5 and outside of her getting reamed for a brake job there were zero issues with any of them. All of our vehicles are usually traded by 60k miles, so I can’t speak to reliability past that.

Sounds like a fair trade.

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2 hours ago, Buzzrock said:

I have a 2012 A6 loaded up. I bought it in 2014 and it had 14K miles on it and some warranty left. It has about 75K on it now. I love it, favorite car ever.

The only thing I had fixed under warranty was the side view mirror (motor failed). The only big repairs out of warranty were motor and transmission mounts, and some broken cooling system fittings.

The problem with German cars is the parts. I have a great mechanic who charges reasonable rates but the parts are crazy expensive.

That said I intend to drive my A6 until the wheels fall off or it gets too expensive to maintain. I paid cash for it so my annual cost of ownership since then hasn’t been bad. It’s fun to drive and has the B&O sound system which is fabulous. For $1K I could add almost another hundred horsepower with a tune, but I haven’t felt the need.

Motor and tranny mounts?  What'd that cost?

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23 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Motor and tranny mounts?  What'd that cost?

i dunno about the first, but the second is probably a matter of negotiation.  PM iconoclasttexan

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12 hours ago, Tailgate said:

And yeah...all the X BMWs I drove felt like I was in a compact SUV. I need more room for myself.

I just rode in a 2020 X7. That thing was huge.

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it was very nice. Seemed about the size of a Tahoe, with 3 rows of seats. the music player has gesture controls. Still have the center console wheel to spin, but now you can also just make gestures with your hand in front of the screen and it will stop/start/prev/next your song and some other commands I probably am not aware of. The sun/moon roof or whatever was huge, took up most of the roof.

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