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I stumbled upon this article

German Reliability: The Greatest Myth Ever Sold to American Car Buyers

and while people may have some choice words to say about Doug, I think this article hits home for me especially.

My older M3 was great, but my E60 M5 cost so much money to keep alive I had to get rid of it.

Same thing with my S4 (twin turbo). The tech in these cars are awesome but when they break (which they will) I just want to cry.


I follow a new formula now... Asian car for my DD, and German sports sedan for my "toy" car
 

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My first car was a 1990 BMW 735i. I sold it with 225k miles and it still ran great. They car still felt tight and sturdy. The only major repair was a blown head gasket. I wouldn't be surprised if that engine made it to 300k+

I know someone with a 2006 750li with less than 100k miles and it drives like crap the interior doe
 

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From what i've heard when it comes to mercedes its early 2000s. My dad a '92 E-class had issues but nothing compared to what i'm having with my '09 ML BT at this point its in the shop almost every week. I've heard from previous ML owners who had them in early 2000 and they couldn't wait to get rid of them. From what i've read the 2008 and up are much better but i'm not buying.

Maybe German cars are better and reliable in Europe but in N.America they are just a money pit, i'm really disappointed and so should mercedes.
 

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My merc dealer says that any other merc than the ml is reliable, my family ml is there most of the time also. But, my 09 plate c classe has only the regular maintenance, no problems so far. But if they break, it's expensive to fix. I currently have a BMW, but at some point, im going to get an sti instead -- other than the absymal fuel economy, they are solid cars. Im still young so i will rather have the awesome driving experience than the leather seats. If you want to own a german car w/o warranty, i wish you good luck and not to be surprised of the ridiculous price tag, when fixing broken parts.. Todays cars are built to last about five years, the electronics side at least.
 

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I'm an Audi owner and enthusiast myself, but I will get rid of my car before or around the time the warranty runs out. This is a general rule for most German cars to be honest. Everyone's situation is different, but I don't plan on driving any daily driver (German or not) for more than 4-5 years anyways. So with that being said, if a 15 year old Audi or Mercedes is unreliable, that's irrelevant to me.
 

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This thread is already going to crap and it's not even 10 CST same day post. Gotta be a new low of some sort.

Everyone knows the german cars need more maintenance. If you buy in expecting to pay Toyota costs down the line you're mistaken; BMW run run-flats so if you blow a tire you're immediately out $200, and Mercedes in my limited experience chose higher performing but shorter wearing tires. Cost of replacement parts, intensity of maintenance, and cost of servicing overall is simply higher. For example and I know I've posted this elsewhere, my mom bought a 335 a few years back and sold it to a friend who promptly incurred about $9k of required work. While most would complain about having to incur such cost of maintenance, the car drives beautifully, far beyond that of most other cars. And isn't that the tradeoff? You pay more up front and down the line for a more refined driving experience. What it is.
 

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I got my wife a Benz C280 back in the day. I think it was a 1998. Bought it used, not certified. Had just over 50K miles on it.
Discovered it had an oil leak. Big repair job right off.
It ran okay for a year after that. Then it became a nightmare. In the shop every month for one thing or another. My wife loved it but I snatched it out of her fingers and got her a Lexus. I visited service so often I was becoming friends with other Benz owners who were regulars. All different models.
To the present, I love Lexus reliability so much I wanted to be a salesman. Been doing it for a year now. We get so many German car trade-ins it ain't funny anymore. German cars are nice but never own one without a warranty.
 

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This thread is already going to crap and it's not even 10 CST same day post. Gotta be a new low of some sort.

Everyone knows the german cars need more maintenance. If you buy in expecting to pay Toyota costs down the line you're mistaken; BMW run run-flats so if you blow a tire you're immediately out $200, and Mercedes in my limited experience chose higher performing but shorter wearing tires. Cost of replacement parts, intensity of maintenance, and cost of servicing overall is simply higher. For example and I know I've posted this elsewhere, my mom bought a 335 a few years back and sold it to a friend who promptly incurred about $9k of required work. While most would complain about having to incur such cost of maintenance, the car drives beautifully, far beyond that of most other cars. And isn't that the tradeoff? You pay more up front and down the line for a more refined driving experience. What it is.
thats not the point of this thread. The point is at what point did they become so unreliable... And I agree with most, don't own German without a warranty...
 

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Already saving a small little fortune for my new baby to be set aside.

That being said, we've had 2 European cars in our family's car history. A 1988 VW Jetta and a 2006 Volvo S60 T5.

I can't remember too much about the Jetta, but it did have electrical engine issues; while the S60 was surprising quite solid all around. Maintenance was not cheap though. And the turning circle on that was worse than a truck, thanks to the transverse inline 5.

Nope, not expecting this car to behave like my trusty Subaru - which I borderline abused for a NA engine, but oh the fun I will have in the Bimmer.
 

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I love my SL600 and SL65. Probably the best bang for the buck car I ever had (well except for my Maserati Biturbo, which is a love hate relationship depending if it is running or not). But yes, even minor expences can add up. When I first got my SL600, decided to do the plugs and my mechanic said $20/plug, and there are 24 of them, then there is the labor. But it is what it is, and still worth the overwhelming experience driving that car with RENNtech. Had to spend a good deal on ABC sensor work too, but what car needs nothing. Overall love the cars and issues have been normal, nothing real unusual (not yet anyway)
 

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This thread is already going to crap and it's not even 10 CST same day post. Gotta be a new low of some sort.

Everyone knows the german cars need more maintenance. If you buy in expecting to pay Toyota costs down the line you're mistaken; BMW run run-flats so if you blow a tire you're immediately out $200, and Mercedes in my limited experience chose higher performing but shorter wearing tires. Cost of replacement parts, intensity of maintenance, and cost of servicing overall is simply higher. For example and I know I've posted this elsewhere, my mom bought a 335 a few years back and sold it to a friend who promptly incurred about $9k of required work. While most would complain about having to incur such cost of maintenance, the car drives beautifully, far beyond that of most other cars. And isn't that the tradeoff? You pay more up front and down the line for a more refined driving experience. What it is.
It's not about the money we all know they are expensive, when I had mine maintenance I expected to be pricy I didn't expect to have it in the shop every 3-6 mons cause of something that craps out. Last year...

- Adblue sensor went out..
- 2 months later the heater.
- 3 months later the injector.

This year...

- Oil gasket
- Adblue pump
- Temp sensor
- And the truck wont open.

The point of German cars especially mercedes, audi, bmw is that in 15-20 years they are still reliable, that someone who couldn't afford it brand new could afford a used on and it was still reliable. I have a '07 Charger SE 170,000 on the odometer and runs like a tank, my '09 ML with 112,000 has an issue every week, I know all cars are gonna have issues but almost every month is a sick joke.
 

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MLs are notoriously problematic for some reason.

But I wouldn't say German cars are unreliable. The problems generally occur when people don't maintain them properly. Yes they are more complex than most domestics and thus will likely cost more to repair if/when there is an issue.
 

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I also think a major factor is the car's maintenance - I have a friend who owns a '02 530D with almost 600k miles on it and the engine and turbo is still going great without any investments.

Another factor could be that most of today's German cars are not exactly made in Germany. The engine comes from one country, the assembly line is in another part of the world and so on. For example a lot of VWs from the States are probably made at the company's plant in Mexico so you get a German car, yeah, but made in Mexico. In the past it used to be German quality, made in Germany.
 

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VW and Audi have been unreliable since at least the mid 80s VW 020 transmissions with riveted ring gears allowing rivets to back out and machine holes through the cases. Electrical issues in both VW and Audi as long as I can remember. Sun roofs that do whatever they want. Suspension components that are considered a 50,000 mile service item. Audi V6t water pump failures right off the lot. Air to water intercoolers that perforate with the slightest stone hit. VW and Audi coil packs that died regularly VR6 timing chains and guide issues. The biturbo 2.7t in the B5 S4, A6 and Allroad were always needing something.

Before I got rid of the S4 I was driving it home on a cold winter day and the PCV system froze. This overpressured the crank case and pushed the oil seals out of the back side of the cylinder head dumping 2 quarts of oil down the engine, trans, and exhaust over the course of 10 miles to get home. It was -17 and I wasn't going to wait in the cold. It is not confidence inspiring when the service tech states that it happens some times on that engine and the car across the shop did the same thing.

I'm not saying BMW and Mercedes are better though I hope they are I was just brand loyal to VW and Audi for the last 11 years before switching to BMW so I know all about their bad side. It's a bad sign for reliability when driving by the orange glow of a CEL is a running joke and it's not odd to have a laptop with diagnostic software in the garage.

It's a trade off though when they are working right they are great but the minute you neglect them they will break.
 

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The key with German cars is to sell them as soon as the warranty runs out there is no way around that, I remember when I bought a brand new s4 I think was 07 and the right light stopped working (it was the adjustable one) light alone was $2.700 plus labor......my friends brand new 08 SL 63 merc left driver seat stopped working $5000 just material plus labor.......everything was covered under the warranty but still
 

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I'm not afraid to own a German car without warranty...

They are some of the best deals when purchasing pre-owned. When you combine the fact that most luxury car owners always want the newest thing, combined with the German maintenance stigma; you are able to get an incredible value IMO. I was looking at a 2009 A8 last week, 60,000 miles for $23,500. Original MSRP of $82,000. Massaging, heated, and ventilated seats, nappa leather on everything, etc... Good luck finding a better value than that.
 

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It's not about the money we all know they are expensive, when I had mine maintenance I expected to be pricy I didn't expect to have it in the shop every 3-6 mons cause of something that craps out. Last year...

- Adblue sensor went out..
- 2 months later the heater.
- 3 months later the injector.

This year...

- Oil gasket
- Adblue pump
- Temp sensor
- And the truck wont open.

The point of German cars especially mercedes, audi, bmw is that in 15-20 years they are still reliable, that someone who couldn't afford it brand new could afford a used on and it was still reliable. I have a '07 Charger SE 170,000 on the odometer and runs like a tank, my '09 ML with 112,000 has an issue every week, I know all cars are gonna have issues but almost every month is a sick joke.
I think your ML is the problem, not the reliability of German cars. ML's are known to have problems, and yours has over 112k miles, sorry to say it but I'm pretty sure it's done for man....
 

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My wife drives a 2nd Gen Porsche Cayenne, and I'll put it this way. I've owned alot of vehicles, from every country, and many manufacturers. No car has cost me as much to keep together as the Cayenne. I've thought many times about dumping it, but then I second guess it with a "well I've put this much $$ into it already, how much is there left to go wrong?" Then it finds a way to surprise me.
 
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