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Which Luxury German car should I buy?


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Hey there from NYC. I drive 3300 low maintenance miles per year (2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature). I am looking to buy a new luxury vehicle like a Mercedes E 450 Coupe, Porsche 718 Cayman base or a BMW M440i xDrive Coupe. I don't race. Im not a speeder. This new car will NOT be a daily driver. If you HAD to choose, which luxury car would be your best reliability choice for a person that will average an easy going 1200-1500 miles per year?






Clarification: How long do you plan to keep it for?

I will not be selling or trading the Luxury car. It will take over 10 years for me to even hit 20,000 miles. Eventually however I will replace the CX-5, possibly with the CX-90.

That's a trick question. There are no reliable German luxury cars.

I had an Audi many decades ago and swore never to buy another Audi. It was unreliable, hard to work on and parts were expensive. I also had a Porsche 914 of the same vintage. It too used expensive parts and was extremely difficult to work on. It was slightly more reliable, though. Since you're basically buying a toy, but whatever floats your boat. I like the Cayman.

8 Answers

Those are all pretty low on the list for reliability & longevity, and have very high cost of maintenance. If you want a sporty luxury car, something like a Lexus LC 500 would be a way better option. Or even an ATS V coupe over the list you provided. (ATS V with a manual would be a blast imo). But of the list you provided, theyre all in the same ball park of cost & reliability. So I'd test drive them and see what you like best. 

Life's short, I understand paying for a better driving experience, but why pay so much for a car that wont be your daily?

Thanks for your response! I do like the Lexus options. The LC is awesome but I would more likely grab the RC-F. I want to stick between 60-75K.

As far as having a non daily, its complicated. My Mazda has been my daily for 3 years and I don't even have 11,000 miles on it because I don't drive was much as the average person.

What also makes my situation unique is that my family is growing, (specifically in height) and we eventually won't all be able to fit in the Mazda comfortably, so we need a second car in the next 2-3 years. The reason the new car won't be my daily is simply because I love driving the Mazda and I will be splitting the miles between the 2. I will be doing 15-1700 miles per year on each car

Im really trying to get an understanding based on the fact that I won't be doing the regular wear and tear, so although the cost of maintenance is higher than the average vehicle, the mileage will be pretty low. I wonder how that low mileage factor affects the money I will spend on maintenance.

Yes sorry I meant the RCF, I knew there was a lexus in that range but I forgot the name. Obviously it'll last longer the less used it is, and even better if garage kept so that its not out in the elements. Id stay away from the BMW. Everything is plastic on them, and I think its the ugliest.

Thanks. When not being driven it will be in a garage under a cover. Ill definitely test a RC-F
Thanks again!


I am pretty sure they have luxurious service department waiting rooms where you'll be spending a lot of your time if you buy one of these.

I would definitely agree with you, BUT.. If I am only driving 1500-1700 easy going miles per year, how often will I need to do something other than oil change tire rotation in these service departments? Thats my core question. My reliability concern is rooted in the fact that most people drive 10k or more miles per year and I would be driving less than 20 percent of that amount.


1200-1500 miles per year

Be careful, if you keep the miles super low then you won’t uncover issues while it is still under warranty.  Look up ‘bath tub’ reliability curve, although it’s not a perfect bath tub shape for many vehicles.

No matter what you pick, I would only own them under OEM warranty;  look into cost of extended warranty as well.  The only third party warranty I trust is CarMax’s warranty.

Awesome info.
thanks a lot!


Which Luxury German car should I buy?

Consider: "Neither".

If you HAD to choose, which luxury car

Pretty much any Lexus!

If Lexus reliability and quality is 'too boring' and it must have something European - I've had Volvos and loved them, and I've herd great stuff about the new S60 / V60 T5 - I've recently seen one with over 150k running perfectly, the only issues were related to fuel injectors at ~125k miles - so deffinetly not a Lexus when it comes to reliability but so much better than a Mercedes.

Mercedes E 450 Coupe, Porsche 718 Cayman base or a BMW M440i xDrive Coupe

out of the options you wrote there, it's the Mercedes. Only one without a DCT.

But if you're not looking to look like a cab driver, maybe the entry level Porsche is not too bad.

(Just consider that you're going to pay for all of the manufacturing defects out of pocket, you usually discover them at around 3,500+ miles)

will not be selling or trading the Luxury car. It will take over 10 years

Have you considered how much you're going to loose in depreciation.

Also, the beauty of Lexus is that you can drive them daily for 10 years, average 15k miles each year and they still run like a clock while German cars age like milk even by sitting in one spot - Germans make crap cars.


I don't get the appeal of driving in a European taxi cab with a worse engine - nothing chic about any German crapshoot.

And although the e class is junk, it's not like the rest are any better - they're so much worse that no one's even using them for cabs! 



Although personally I find the E class cabs less pleasant than the cheap Korean and French cars.

But a lot of them are 4 door coupes and that's also very passe...

like these




Thanks for the comment. I agree with you about the taxicab look. I was referring to the E450 coupe. (2dr)
Thanks again though. I appreciate the feedback.


In my opinion, for occasional driving, take what you like if money is not the object. Test drive them and see which one you like the most.

Thanks. Makes sense. I prefer the Porsche but I feel like that might be the worst option.

You are welcome. You can expect problems with electronics as they age regardless which one you get.


If I were strictly limited to the mentioned three options and guided by the reliability as the main criterion, I would take the Porsche. Had some insights from engineers doing car design and factory tuning for the leading car manufacturers, and they inofficially told me in informal conversations that in general modern Porsches are more reliable by design out of all the known car makes being part of the big German league (although Porsches are not necessarily the most repair-friendly cars, but with your annual mileage repair-friendliness shall not bother you too much).
/Huge IMHO disclaimer goes here/

Thank you! I just mentioned that I thought Porsche might be the worst option for me based on that lack of repair friendliness. This makes me feel a little better about it. I have always thought the 911 (and now recently) 718 silhouette was the best of any car I've ever seen.

Thanks again.


Between the three for “reliability” I would choose the BMW, only because I have more knowledge about the quirks of BMW than the other makes. The engine itself is reliable, just everything plastic around sucks.

I would choose the Porsche for looks, because I like how a Porsche looks like a Porsche, each iteration looks timeless. The drawback for a Porsche is that almost everything to maintain besides oil changes, is an engine out job. $$$$$$$. 

If I wanted more luxury, I would choose the Benz. BMW and Porsche are more performance oriented luxury in my book. Even their non-performance models are built for performance. Benz seems to care more about luxury itself. 

Thanks for the response. Thats my biggest problem. The Porsche is indeed timeless, and i want that one the most, but i saw a video once about a low level fix on one of the models and the service pro had to take out about 90 different screws!
My second choice goes to the Benz because that particular model has a very classic feel to it. The Beemer is great was well but the huge kidney grill is a little off putting. I think the grill design will start getting smaller again and I will regret being stuck with the giant nostrils on the front.

Thanks again!


Scotty answered at 8:58