BMW vs Mercedes reliability

Mercedes and BMW have dominated the fast car luxury market for decades. The cars are known for their expert craftsmanship, reliability, state of the art technologies and luxurious interiors. There very parts of the world that you will not spot a BMW or Mercedes cruising past you. Juggling between a Mercedes and BMW can be quite challenging especially when they unravel similar car models with almost the same features and pricing. In this review, we check out how they compare to each other in terms of reliability.

What are the key differences between the BMW and Mercedes?

Safety mechanism
Active Protection System (APS) and Battery safety terminal
Engine size
Power (Mercedes C-class vs. BMW 3-series
180HP @200 lb-ft of torque
241HP @271 lb-ft of torque
Towing capacity (Mercedes GLE vs. BMWx5
5,920 pounds
Fuel economy
Better than Mercedes
Consumes more
Most reliable models
3 series E90, x1
A-class, E-class

BMW vs. Mercedes – How do they compare?


Part of the reason these brands have made it to the top of automobile lists is that they are considered relatively safe to drive in. These car brands are constantly researching and innovative ways to make your car safer. BMW has introduced in their cars the Active Protection System (APS) which is a technology that kicks into place whenever it notices there is a potential safety concern like a collision ahead. When this technology kicks into place you will notice that the windows starts close automatically, seatbelts are tightened for resistance and braking system is engaged.

Mercedes has something similar called the PRE-SAFE. BMW goes further with these technology and also comes with the Battery safety terminal. These feature disconnects the fuel pump, alternator and battery in the case of a crash. In this category the Mercedes Pre-SAFE feature is more popular and advanced than the BMWs.

Lineup of cars

The Bavarian Motor Works owns BMW while Daimler AG owns Mercedes. Both are German machines who and they produce a different range of cars. For the BMW you have luxury saloons, coupes, electrical cars, sports, Hatchback, SUV, hybrids, prestige and high-end performance cars. Mercedes has a large car lineup than BMW consisting of coupes, sedans, wagons, convertibles, SUVs, hatchbacks, trucks, sports cars, vans, buses, smart cars, and saloons.


It is not in dispute that this are high performance cars and which is faster will largely depend on the model you are driving. Drivers are conflicted on this one but many agree that BMWs are lighter than Mercedes Benz cars and as such they tend to offer more aggressive driving and can easily maneuver around corners really well. Mercedes Benz cars however, tend to have larger engines that may not be as good as the BMW. Overall, it is estimated that BMW cars are more fuel efficient than the Mercedes Benz ones.

A closer comparison of similar models clearly shows these differences. When comparing the C-class against the BMW 3-series you note that the C-class has an output of 241HP with 273 lb-ft of torque while the BMW 3-series gives you 180HP with 200 lb-ft of torque.

Interior design

When it comes to interior design the Mercedes is the clear winner. The comfort, full leather design with chrome and wood is something that many car models are unable to replicate. This does not mean the BMW is not comfortable or luxurious it is a close competitor to the Mercedes but with a focus on being ergonomical. This means you will find most of your controls within reach. In the both cars you will find features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Navigation system, USB ports, HD radio, Bluetooth streaming, SiriusXM Satellite radio and wireless charging pad in some models. Most models also have dual zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and front power and heated seats as standard.

BMW vs. Mercedes reliability – A Comprehensive Overview

BMW – Overview

The BMW car brand is synonymous with speed and luxury. It derives its name from the Bayerische Motoren Werke company or Bavarian Engine works. The company traces its origins to the Bavarian region. One of the key questions that you will need to get answered before purchasing a BMW is how reliable it is. According to various reviews, it is estimated that the average cost for BMW repairs is $968 which is quite decent for an automobile.

One BMW car that is rated as the most reliable is the BMW E90 3series. The car has being hailed as a result of excellent craftsmanship and it’s spacious interior. The car is also fuel efficient. The 3 series has being praised for being stable and using some of the latest satellite navigation systems. However, it does suffer from various age related problems like the oil filter housing gasket and valve cover gasket, which develop leaks as the car ages.

According to various BMW owners they claim that you should expect extended mileage with a BMW of 200,000 to 250,000 miles with good maintenance. Actually, it is not unusual to find BMW models that have done over 500k miles. for most BMWs as they age one of the first things to start malfunctioning is the electric windows. While this one will not affect your safety it does interfere with comfort. The next thing that also breaks down is the coolant systems, then you will have failing and leaking oil filter gasket. As the car continues to age you will start experiencing torn and worn out door handles then the electrical systems also wear out.

When it comes to the SUV BMW market the x1 is rated as the most reliable. The BMW x1 repair costs are estimated to be less than $600 per year which is quite good for a mid-sized SUV. When it comes to the x1 repairs you are not going to be spending hours at the garage. Most of the x1 repairs are mostly engine related. When it comes to choosing between the x1 petrol and diesel engine, the petrol ones required less maintenance than the diesel ones.

The X5 is the luxurious SUV from BMW that does very well in terms of latest technological features and stability on the road. However, repair costs do not come cheap. It is estimated that the x5 costs almost $100 more to repair than the x1.

What we liked:

  • Stable with great maneuverability
  • Driver assist features
  • Extended car mileage with average repair costs
  • Loaded with safety features

What we did not like:

Repair costs for the high-end models like x5 can be substantive

Mercedes reliability – Overview

If you are thinking of purchasing a Mercedes instead of leasing one then it can be a bit confusing choosing the right model with so many versions available in the market. For Mercedes cars due to the large amount of technologies used it can be quite challenging when it comes to repairs. You have complex electrical systems and sensors that can push your repair bills up.

One of their more reliable cars happens to be the A-class. For many of their owners they have reported few issues with the braking system with most of the problems relegated to the electrical system. According to various reliability surveys done the A-class scores 3 out of 5 which is better than the more popular E-class that scored 2 stars. When data was collected it was revealed that most  A class owners experienced issues with their airbags and it was mainly for the petrol version.

The E-class is one of Mercedes most popular car models and it scores high on reliability. The car is fairly stable and handles well. It is also loaded with some awesome luxury features. However, after repeated use you may start experiencing challenges with its electrical systems. You will also experience problems with  its airbags and fuel injection system.

Mercedes cars are designed for performance and luxury. It is most often the case that you will find high performance engines generating lots of horsepower. The cars are also loaded with the latest gadgets like navigation systems, SiriusXM satellite radio, wireless charging ports, power front heated seats, and dual-zone climatic control. The cars are also relatively safe to drive due to Mercedes Pre-Safe feature.

Mercedes has produced car models in almost all categories. You have trucks, saloon cars, SUVs, buses and even vans. However, some of the cars have being accused of being not fuel efficient. Also, when you start experiencing problems with the car as it ages the repair costs can be substantial.

What we liked:

  • Pre-Safe features makes the car safe to drive in
  • Luxurious interior cabins
  • Have models in various car classes
  • Modern technology features

What we did not like:

May not that fuel efficient

Verdict: So, which offers better reliability – Mercedes or BMW?

This is a hard one as car models vary across categories, but overall we can conclude that BMW are more reliable. They may not have the luxury features in a Mercedes car but they are quite stable and handle well. BMWs are also more fuel efficient than Mercedes cars.


Which is the most reliable BMW car?

Based on owners reports it is the BMW 3-series E90

Can I customize my Mercedes car during purchase?

Depending on the model the car market offers many customizable options

Jurgen Shmidt works as an automotive engineer, his duties revolve around vehicle design, development manufacture, and testing. Shmidt is also involved in marketing, sales, and the after-sale care of cars, apart from his 8 hours job, he interacts with enthusiasts who have concerns or wish to learn about the various models of the BMW luxury cars. Shmidt believes that the demand for detailed information surpasses its availability and that is why he dedicates most of his free time, researching and compiling reliable information. The information compiled on bmwexpert has been derived from hands-on experience and not some snazzy press release, thus we believe you will find answers to your troubling questions about the BMW.

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