MOT test fail rates: executive, luxury and sports cars

We’ve used new government data to find the best and worst MOT test fail rates in each car class and reveal the top 10 items that let motorists down...

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Claire Evans
23 June 2019

2016 BMW 4 Series 440i review

Best executive cars for passing the MOT test

BMW’s 3 Series and 4 Series models perform well in their MOT tests, beating their rivals from Audi and Mercedes-Benz. To be expected is the strength of the much cheaper Toyota Avensis, while the surprise entry is the eccentric Citroën DS5, which manages an MOT pass rate of close to 90%.

Make and model                                   % MOT fails

BMW 4 Series 2013-present                8.2%

BMW 3 Series 2012-2019                     11.0%

Citroën DS5  2012-2015                        11.2%

Toyota Avensis 2009-2018                  11.2%

Mercedes CLA 2013-2019                    11.4%

Mercedes C-Class 2007-2014            11.4%

Lexus IS 2005-2013                               11.7%

Volkswagen Passat 2010-2015         12.1%

Audi A5 2007-2016                                12.4%

Peugeot 508 2011-2018                       13.1%


Worst executive cars for passing the MOT test

Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon

The latest Afa Romeos are proving brilliantly reliable, but the old 156 is giving credence to the brand’s historic reputation with a fail rate of 35%. Nissan and Renault models also appear prominently, while the products of the dead MG Rover company are fast disappearing from British roads.  

Make and model                                   % MOT fails

Rover 75 1999-2005                               29.2%

Peugeot 406 1996-2004                       29.5%

Rover 600 Series 1993-1999              31.4%

Vauxhall Vectra 2002-2008               31.8%

Volvo S40 1996-2004                            31.8%

Nissan Primera 1996-2002                32.5%

Renault Laguna 2001-2007               33.6%

MG ZT 2001-2005                                  33.8%

Volvo V40 1996-2004                          34.0%

Alfa Romeo 156 1997-2006               35.0%


Best luxury cars for passing the MOT test

Aston Martin DB9 Volante (04 -12)

The Aston Martin DB9 appears to be almost trouble-free, with fewer than 5% failing first time. Audi is showing strongly, with the A6, A7 and A8 making the top 10, while Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz each have two cars close to the top. Notably, the former’s XJ is the only current-generation entrant.

Make and model                                   % MOT fails

Aston Martin DB9 2004-2016           4.9%

Audi A8 2010-2017                                  7.6%

Audi A6 2011-2018                                  8.4%

Jaguar XJ 2010-present                        9.3%

Mercedes E-Class 2009-2016            10.4%

Audi A7 2010-2017                                 10.8%

BMW 7 Series 2008-2015                   11.0%

Mercedes CLS 2011-2018                   11.0%

Jaguar XK 2006-2015                         12.1%

Jaguar XF 2007-2015                          12.6%


Worst luxury cars for passing the MOT test

BMW 5 Series

Although there are four Mercedes-Benz models in the bottom 10, the MOT fail rates for both the CLS and S-Class are lower than 20%, so not a major cause for concern. It’s only the very oldest luxury cars that rack up a higher percentage of fails, with the ‘E39’ BMW 5 Series faring the worst.

Make and model                                   % MOT fails

BMW 7 Series 2001-2008                    18.4%

Mercedes CLS 2004-2010                    19.1%

Mercedes S-Class 1998-2005              19.2%

BMW 6 Series 2003-2011                     19.5%

Mercedes E-Class 2003-2009            20.6%

BMW 5 Series 2003-2010                    21.9%

Jaguar XJ 2003-2009                           23.5%

Mercedes CL 1998-2006                      23.9%

Mercedes E-Class 1995-2003            24.2%

BMW 5 Series 1996-2003                   28.7%


Best sports and performance cars for passing the MOT test

Porsche 911

The Porsche 911 has taken both gold and silver in this race, with the ‘996’ version only marginally behind the more recent ‘997’. Plus, the German brand’s cheaper Boxster and Cayman aren’t far behind. Three BMWs make it into the top 10, including the M135i hot hatch and M3 super-saloon.

Make and model                                   % MOT fails

Porsche 911 2005-2012                         6.4%

Porsche 911 1994-1998                          6.7%

Mercedes SLK/SLC 2011-2019          7.4%

BMW M3 2007-2013                              8.5%

Porsche Boxster 2005-2012               9.0%

Porsche Cayman 2005-2012              10.3%

Audi TT 2006-2014                                10.7%

BMW M135i 2012-2015                        11.2%

Mercedes SL 2001-2012                      13.1%

BMW Z4 2009-2016                             13.1%


Worst sports and performance cars for passing the MOT test

Vauxhall Tigra Coupe (04 - 09)

The Vauxhall Tigra has the worst MOT pass rate of any car tested in 2017; more than half failed first time. Alfa Romeo’s Brera and GT struggle too, with 25% and 38% fail rates. Mazda’s complex, rotary-engined RX-8 and Mk2 MX-5 aren’t enviable, either, with around a quarter of cars failing first time. 

Make and model                                   % MOT fails

BMW Z4 2003-2009                              23.4%

Mazda MX-5 1998-2005                       24.5%

Alfa Romeo Brera 2006-2011            25.0%

Toyota Celica 1999-2006                     25.1%

Audi TT 1999-2006                                 25.4%

Mazda RX-8 2003-2010                       25.4%

BMW Z3 1997-2003                               25.9%

Hyundai Coupé 2002-2009               32.4%

Alfa Romeo GT 2004-2011                 38.0%

Vauxhall Tigra 2004-2009                 58.1%


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