5 Expensive Car Brands with the Least Reliable Engines


kali9 / iStock.com

kali9 / iStock.com

When it comes to buying a new car, it’s often true that you get what you pay for. However, not all high-end vehicles deliver on the promise of reliability, particularly when it comes to their engines.

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If you’re going to invest a large chunk of money on a new car, value is as important as price. While expensive car brands offer a host of desirable features, engine reliability should not be overlooked. What’s the point of paying more for a prestigious car that is continually leaving you stranded by the side of the road or burdening you with expensive repair bills?

When you buy an expensive brand, you should be aware that the vehicle will have higher-than-average maintenance costs. But when it’s the engine that’s unreliable, these repair costs can skyrocket. Advanced auto technology is all fine and good when your car is running smooth, but engine repairs on luxury vehicles are markedly more expensive due to the complexity of the design, the cost of parts and the specialized labor required.

Car enthusiasts can wax endlessly on the near-perfect reliability of certain carmakers — Japanese brands like Toyota and Honda are particularly well-regarded — but all brands have made engine mistakes. Let’s take a closer look at five some of the most respected car brands that have been reported to have less-than-reliable engines.

1. BMW

It won’t take you long to search for BMW engine complaints online. BMWs may be “Designed for the Driven,” but its drivers know all too well that models that house the N47 diesel and the N63 V8 turbocharged engines face serious reliability issues. These problems range from timing chain failures to excessive oil consumption, which can lead to costly repairs and maintenance.

BMWs are pricey to repair and there’s a 45.89% chance that a BMW will require a major repair (“anything that exceeds $500, including parts and labor”) during their first 10 years of service, per CarEdge. This is 10.80% worse when compared to the other auto manufacturers in this segment that the site covered.

2. Jeep

Jeep is rarely considered a “luxury brand,” but they command high prices both in the new and used car markets. Built to conquer challenging terrains, Jeep engines haven’t always been as robust as their off-road capabilities. No less than three Jeep models — the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee L — made it on to Consumer Reports’ Least Reliable Cars for 2024 list with reliability ranking of 27, 26 and 23 out of 100, respectively. Common engine complaints include frequent oil and water leaks, clogged fuel injectors and what HotCars calls “the death wobble.”

3. Mercedes-Benz

Once upon a time, Mercedes-Benz made vehicles that would last decades. In fact, you’ll still see older M-Bs clocking hundreds of thousands of miles, especially in countries where cars are immune to rough winter conditions. You’ll get Mercedes die-hards that defend newer models, saying they aren’t unreliable, they’re just expensive to maintain. However, there’s no denying the head bolt failures of M156 V8 engines used in AMG models and the balance shaft gear and idle gear issues associated with M272 and M273 engines.

4. Land Rover

“Why did the two Land Rover owners not greet each other at work? They already had breakfast together at the repair shop earlier that morning.” That joke comes courtesy of HotCars, who claims the Indian-owned company has changed gears by focusing on luxury rather than durability. Owners have reported issues with the 5.0-liter V8 engines, including premature wear of timing chains and tensioners, leading to expensive engine rebuilds or replacements.

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Then there’s the price of repairs to consider too. According to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost for all models is $1,174 per year (compared to $652 across all models) and the average Land Rover visits a repair shop approximately 0.7 times a year for unscheduled repairs (compared to 0.4 visits across all models).

5. Audi

It might seem like we’re picking on German manufacturers here. That’s not the intent — Audi’s (and BMW’s and Mercedes-Benz’s) engineering excellence is simply not exempt from engine reliability concerns. Volkswagen recently settled a class action lawsuit to resolve defective pistons in 2.0T TFSI engine found in certain Audi models that caused excessive oil consumption and significant engine damage.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 5 Expensive Car Brands with the Least Reliable Engines



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