Buckle Up: Why You Can Trust a BMW for a Reliable Road Trip Experience

Are BMWs reliable for Road trips: An In-depth reliability review of the luxury brand

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BMWs are  Not the best when it comes to relaibility , but also not the worst, they’re in the middle of the pack. 

Ahead of most   American brands , BMW was a strong midfield contender, ahead of the likes of Tesla and other well-known names. 

Both in Europe and in America, they are less reliable. Only the most expensive versions are available in the United States. 

These boast a slew of features that even entry-level BMWs lack. So much more is at stake. Europe is home to the great majority of BMWs, and in dependability statistics, BMW is always ranked in the top ten.

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How Dependable Are BMW Vehicles, Exactly

A lack of dependability is consistently cited as one of the few criticisms levelled against BMW. 

Nobody wants to be trapped with a premium car that has dependability issues and whose upkeep is going to cost them several thousand dollars each year. 

But does the reputation that BMWs have for being unreliable have any basis in reality, or is it simply a lot of hot air?

If they are properly cared for and maintained, BMWs, in general, have a good reputation for dependability. 

Although BMW components are more expensive and labour costs are greater, the company’s drivetrains are nearly indestructible, and if they are properly maintained, the vehicles can travel far beyond 200,000 miles without needing repairs.

However, there is a catch to this. You should be aware of the fact that the reliability of different types and generations of BMW varies, and despite the fact that BMWs are typically reliable as long as they are properly maintained, the required level of maintenance for BMWs is higher than that required for the vast majority of other brands.

In addition, if you go all the way to the bottom of this post, you’ll see a video of me outlining the problems with BMW’s reliability.

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Sometimes, the journey matters more than the destination. So, wherever you go, make your journey extraordinary, and treat yourself to an unforgettable ride! Be it a BMW SUV or a sporty convertible Mercedes, or Jaguar Coupe?

My suggestion, in the event that you are interested in purchasing a BMW

While it comes to BMW, there are a few distinct strategies one may take when playing the reliability game.

If you are interested in buying a new BMW, you might want to look into leasing one first. 

You won’t be stuck there for more than a few years, and during that time you won’t have to deal with the hassles that come with with long-term BMW ownership. 

The fact that you’ll be able to appreciate the performance of your BMW when it’s at the peak of its life is an additional bonus.

Another alternative, albeit a less desirable one, would be to buy a brand-new BMW and then sell it not too long after the end of the initial period of ownership (four years). 

The standard warranty for a brand-new BMW covers the vehicle from bumper to bumper for four years and 50,000 miles. 

Because of this, the cost of ownership is quite low for the first four years, but after the warranty term expires, the maintenance expenses typically skyrocket to levels that are higher than those of most other German brands. 

The issue with selecting this alternative is that throughout the life of ownership, you will wind up being responsible for a significant amount of depreciation.

Be a customer who is educated if you are interested in purchasing an older BMW. 

Old BMWs are often really good automobiles; yet, in the hands of a P.O.S. owner, even a wonderful car may be reduced to a garbage heap. Before you make a choice to buy the car, make sure you do your research and have it inspected by a professional technician first. 

When inspecting an older BMW, there are certain items to look for and questions to ask; thus, it is important to conduct some research before making a purchase.

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Most Reliable BMW Models You can Purchase

Now, let’s review the information that I included in the guide that I produced some time ago about the dependability of BMW, taking into account the brand as a whole. 

In a nutshell, it is far more difficult to report on this topic than it may appear, due to the fact that the real nature of BMW’s reliability differs greatly from vehicle to vehicle. 

According to the findings of surveys and the information compiled by Consumer Reports, BMW has been shown a downward trend in terms of reliability. [Citation needed]

Since 2007, BMW has received scores that are regularly lower than the average in the dependability polls and ratings conducted by Consumer Reports. 

Even two BMW vehicles, the 3-Series Convertible and the 5-Series, were ranked at the absolute bottom of the scorecard back in 2012. 

You might be wondering how far it is. The enormous network of Consumer Reports’ readers for that year ranked these two vehicles as having the lowest and highest levels of reliability in their automobiles, respectively.


But what if you want to buy a brand new BMW straight from the dealership, complete with a guarantee and everything else that goes along with it? 

If that is what you are looking for, then the version F40 of the BMW 1-Series is your best pick if reliability is a major factor in your decision-making process. 

To be fair, in contrast to the other BMWs on our list thus far, we do not yet have a significant amount of data to determine how reliable it will be throughout the course of its lifetime. However, things are looking up for the time being.

The E90 3-Series, which was produced from 2006 to 2012, was BMW’s most reliable model ever.

According to the opinions of a large number of BMW E90 owners, this model is in reality the most dependable automobile that the manufacturer has ever produced, despite the fact that it is not as exciting or aspirational as some of the other BMW models now available.

 In particular, the entry-level 325i, intermediate 328i, and higher-end 330i models. 

They don’t even have a M badge, yet they’re still the finest of the lot if you’re looking for a car that will last for a long time, has (relatively) minimal maintenance, is inexpensive, and is generally not as unreliable.

E46 3-SERIES (1999 TO 2005)

The previous generation of the 3-Series, the E36, received a lot of criticism from owners due to the number of difficulties it produced. 

There were a great number of difficult and pricey issues… However, none of these issues affect owners of the E46. 

To tell you the truth, you are still able to locate models with high mileage in today’s market, and there is a valid reason why owners are content to put additional miles on their vehicles. 

Simply said, they do not have mechanical issues nearly as frequently as other BMW models, on average.

I3 (2013–2022) Will Be BMW’s Most Reliable Electric Vehicle (EV)

Oh, but what about vehicles powered by electric batteries? In contrast to the vast majority of other luxury companies, BMW was one of the first to enter the electric vehicle market quite some time ago. 

The i3 came out first, and then the i8 sports vehicle followed in its footsteps. 

Even though a lot of my friends made fun of the i3 at first, it turned out to have some legitimate advantages. 

The BMW i3 was a simple electric vehicle hatchback back in those days. 

However, the exorbitant price tag that BMW placed on a brand new one at the time was not in the least bit justified by the value of the product.


The release of the BMW X5 in the late 1990s was a watershed moment in the history of the SUV market. It’s possible that this is the reason why SUVs and crossovers have become so popular in recent years. 

When we looked beyond the pattern, though, we discovered that the more compact (and more recent) X3 was the one that captured our attention for its reliability. 

BMW has perfected its recipe for making SUVs, and although it’s possible that saying this may anger purists… But if having fewer problems is more your thing, the E83 is a fantastic choice for you.

E89 Z4 (2009 TO 2016)

Although it may be shocking to learn this, some of the most exciting sports vehicles also tend to be quite dependable. 

In particular, we have the line-up of two-door drop-tops that BMW offers under the Z4 brand. 

Because of its goals, it’s only going to be relevant to a select handful of you who are looking to buy a sporty automobile. 

But the E89 version of the Z4 is the one you should go for if you want to have fun without having to pay an arm and a leg to keep it running and fix it when it breaks down. 

To summarise, it’s an excellent motor vehicle.

E36 M3 Model

Okay, I know that I just trashed the E36’s dependability a few lines ago, but hear me out on this one.

 When it was in its standard 3-Series configuration, there was a plethora of problematic behaviour to address. 

However, as a M vehicle (more particularly, one of the most famous M3s BMW has ever produced), there were several upgrades done. The S52 motor is trustworthy, and its components are (slightly) less susceptible to extreme wear, heat, and failure than those found in other motors.

Once again, evidence that BMW pays special attention to the process of improving their lower-tier vehicles so that they may become completely M-spec models is provided by the F82/F83 M4. 

The BMW M4 from the previous few years (before it was given the treatment for the large grille), is one of the most dependable automobiles that BMW produces. 

You get one of the greatest handling, best driving, most powerful, and good-looking BMWs while paying a relatively modest amount for its upkeep, and it’s also one of the most affordable BMWs.

5-Series F10/F11/F07 

More specifically, we’d like to draw your attention to the 528i, which was the mid-range model of the 5-Series throughout these model years. 

It’s not a particularly complicated automobile, and there aren’t a lot of moving parts or things that can go wrong with it. 

The upkeep is not scary, and you would not need to be particularly concerned about it either. In spite of this, the 528i is equipped with all the necessary components of a luxury vehicle, including cutting-edge technology, excellent comfort, and a rather robust 6-cylinder engine.

E65/E66 7-Series  

I’ve grown very fond of this design over time, and I think it’s held up pretty well. 

In addition to that, I should mention that the big boy 7-Series from this time period is also known for having a high degree of dependability, particularly the model years 2008 and beyond.

The Most Common Issues with BMWs

Leaks in the Oil BMW’s engines

This does not take into consideration the possibility that some of its components will malfunction anyway. 

Seals that are susceptible to failure include the timing cover gasket, the valve cover gasket, the oil pan gasket, the oil filter, and the oil drain plug. 

There is also a possibility that the crankshaft seals and the oil pan gasket may break.

Because of the use of plastic in their manufacture, they have a tendency to break easily. 

Even with relatively low mileage, the water pump has a high risk of failing, and that’s without even mentioning the radiator hoses, radiator fans, or the radiator itself.

Electrical Issues: 

The majority of the time, they may be traced back to malfunctioning restraint systems. 

We are discussing the belt tensioners, belt force limiters, and other concerns that pertain to the airbags in their vehicles. In addition, issues have been reported with the power door locks, power windows, and tyre pressure monitoring system.

Ignition Coil: Particularly on BMWs, the ignition coils are known to wear out earlier than expected, which means that they need to be replaced on a frequent basis.

Battery Safety Terminal, or more often referred to as the BST, is a feature that BMW included into its vehicles to mitigate the risk of fire in the case of an accident. However, even with very slight crashes, the BST may still trigger, rendering your vehicle fully inoperable.

This ingenious variable valve timing technology developed by BMW is known as VANOS. 

You will first discover that the BMW’s VANOS is failing when it begins to rumbling more and more loudly. 

Despite the fact that it offers considerable advantages in terms of performance, pollution, and fuel efficiency, it fails rather regularly.

Least Reliable BMW Models

In no way is the E92 generation of the BMW 3 Series dependable.

Consumer Reports is the institution that has provided us with the resources necessary to compile this information. 

Let’s begin with, well, a full generation’s worth of BMW 3 Series cars that have been previously owned. 

The version of the BMW 3 Series produced from 2006 to 2011 is known among enthusiasts as the E9X generation. 

In this case, the letter “X” serves as a stand-in for the numerals “0,” “2,” and “3.” 

These names refer to the coupe, sedan, and convertible body designs, respectively, all of which were available for purchase in this generation of the 3 Series.

Never Buy BMW 3 Series

Unfortunately, the search for a used BMW 3 Series that is just a little bit more recent won’t be enough to assist. 

There are a lot of problematic areas throughout the model lineup. 

Keep in mind that these were high-end luxury vehicles, owned and maintained by wealthy individuals who were armed to the teeth with warrants for their arrest.

  • The 2012 model year of the BMW 3 Series is quite unreliable.
  • Avoid purchasing a BMW 3 Series from the years 2007-2011.
  • If at all feasible, you should invest in a BMW that has a certified pre-owned status.
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Is It A Good Idea To Purchase A Used BMW?

It is a sensible decision to go with a pre-owned Mercedes-Benz on many different fronts. 

The manufacturer is skilled in the art of producing luxurious and technologically advanced automobiles that are also capable of delivering excellent performance. 

In the vast majority of pre-owned Mercedes vehicles, the journey will be enjoyable and pleasant for you.

In addition, you may obtain the bulk of them for a price that is far lower than what it would cost to purchase the model brand new.

On the other side, you need to be ready to pay the pricey expenses for the upkeep and repairs, so make sure you budget accordingly. 

In the event that something fails, you are going to have to shell out a significant amount of money, particularly if you want the services of an authorised Mercedes expert. 

In addition, you run the risk of having corrosion or rust develop on your luxury vehicle, which is something that no one likes to see. 

If you are looking to buy a used Mercedes, you should first conduct some research and then thoroughly check the body for any symptoms of rust. 

Always remember to check the area behind the licence plate.

Which luxury automobile brand is superior, a Mercedes or a BMW?

“Better”. The word “Better” may mean so many different things. However, I will make an attempt to explain it from a variety of perspectives.

When we talk about real driving, most people agree that BMW is the superior driving machine. 

Their vehicles are often lighter than the Mercedes-Benz equivalents, and as a result, they are able to handle turns more effectively. In addition, their manual shifters are widely regarded as among the very finest in the industry. 

Typically, Mercedes-Benz would try to get around this limitation by installing large engines in their vehicles, which, depending on your preferences, can make the vehicles rather aggressive and unpredictable. 

However, this highlights a further advantage that BMW possesses. In general, Mercedes-Benz automobiles consume more gasoline than their Bavarian equivalents since they are heavier and have more powerful engines. It’s possible that the difference shifts depending on the model, but as far as I’m concerned, BMWs are often touted as having better fuel efficiency.

When viewed from within, the two automobiles nevertheless offer two distinct driving experiences. MB strives to make the interior of its vehicles appear as opulent as possible. 

The driver is encased in leather, and there is a significant amount of chrome and wood. All of this is done while giving everything a contemporary feel. 

The BMW brand is moving more towards ergonomic design. If you look inside a BMW 3-series, for example, you will notice that the majority of the components on the centre console, such as the radio and the various small buttons, are angled ever-so-slightly towards the driver. 

These components are referred to as being driver-oriented because they make it simpler for the driver to operate them while they are behind the wheel. 

Therefore, the choice between luxury and ergonomics comes first.
There are some few exceptions, but in general, Mercedes-Benz automobiles are regarded as being slightly more costly than comparable models.

Model range

Now we’ve arrived at a point where MB has a great opportunity to gain ground. 

Despite the fact that a large number of automobiles produced by both manufacturers share similar models with one another – for instance, the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class – Mercedes-Benz does provide a few models that BMW simply does not produce an equal for. 

The name “Swabian” has been synonymous in modern times with the production of savage supercars such as the MB SLR Maclaren, the gullwing SLS, and the AMG GT, which has an absolutely outstanding appearance. 

And I’m guessing you’re familiar with the Mercedes-Benz G-Class as well? The large and cumbersome one? That is not a sport utility vehicle; rather, it is an authentic off-roader.

In terms of design, well, let’s just say that both automobiles have their own distinctive contouring, as well as a few traits that set them apart from one another. With the passenger compartment placed more towards the back of the vehicle and a lengthy hood, BMW aims to give the impression that its automobiles are moving forwards. 

The automobiles that MB produces have a burgeois look about them thanks to their lengthy wheelbases and bionic forms.

In terms of its customer base, BMW is often more popular among younger drivers, whereas Mercedes-Benz is better suited for drivers of a more senior age. In recent years, however, both businesses have been focusing on broadening the demographics of their ideal customers. 

For example, Mercedes-Benz released a new version of the A-Class in 2013, which, in contrast to the previous model, is actually a vehicle that consumers, particularly younger consumers, would want.

In general, both brands have their strong points and weak aspects, and although having certain similarities, they are distinct from one another in a number of significant ways.

Wrapping Up

The BMW brand is not known for producing the most dependable automobiles. 

However, contrary to what many individuals would have you think, it is not a trash fire sitting in wait to steal your money. 

Despite the fact that BMWs are only “relatively” dependable, I feel that the vehicle’s performance, comfort, and beauty more than make up for the additional cost of purchasing one.

That brings to a close our examination of the BMW models that have proven to be the most dependable to yet. 

To clarify, just because you’re thinking about purchasing one of these doesn’t indicate that using it won’t give you any problems in the future. 

For instance, even if you buy a used BMW E90 3-Series, the vehicle would continue to be unreliable and problematic if the one before it was not maintained with adequate care and attention by its former owners. It is different from one automobile to the next.

In the end, this guide could help you zero in on the BMW models and iterations of the lineup that are the most dependable. 

Having said all of that, you will still need to do a great deal of in-depth research on the product or service that you are really considering purchasing. 

A pre-purchase examination is something that we would advise obtaining for that BMW. Or another checking service to confirm that it is error-free and functioning properly. Or at the very least, raise your awareness of them.

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About the Author:

Toby Salvanos

Toby Salvanos is a true travel enthusiast, traveller, and Road Trip Guide contributor. Toby is a luxury car salesman and a passionate blogger r at @PEP Travel & Road Trip

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