Best and worst older cars for reliability: luxury cars

How dependable are cars as they get older? Here’s what the owners of luxury cars between five and 20 years of age have told us...

BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)

The most reliable luxury cars

 1. BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)

Reliability rating 89.8%

What went wrong? Steering 9%, suspension 6%, bodywork 4%, air-con 2%, engine 2%,
engine electrics 2%, exhaust 2%

Luxury cars have a lot of kit, so there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong, but the previous- generation 5 Series bucks this trend with a low fault rate of 16%. More than 80% of problematic cars could still be driven and 83% were put right in less than a week. Even better, most repair bills were below £750.

Owner’s view “I’ve had my car for eight years and it has proved entirely reliable, only needing scheduled servicing and some free recall work in that time.”

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2. Jaguar XJ (2010-2019)

Reliability rating 85.6%

Jaguar XJ

The XJ stands out as a beacon of dependability compared with the brand’s other models. Non-engine electrics and steering were the only issues among the 18% of cars that had a fault. All cars remained driveable and were fixed in less than a week. And, adding to the feel-good factor, 33% of work was done for free.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Although 30% of E-Classes went wrong, most issues were minor niggles that left cars driveable and were sorted out in a day or less. Air-con was the most common complaint, followed by steering and exhaust problems. Twelve percent of faults were fixed for free and no bills topped £1000.

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The least reliable luxury cars

1. Jaguar XF (2015-present)

Reliability rating 53.0%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 27%, suspension 20%, brakes 13%, engine 13%, exhaust 13%, air-con 7% engine electrics 7%, interior trim 7%


The current XF has one of the highest fault rates of all used models in this survey: 53% of cars had troubles and 44% of those cars sat in a workshop for more than a week. The only saving grace is that 44% of remedial work was done for free, but that still left 36% of owners with bills exceeding £751.

Owner comment: The least reliable car I have ever owned. It needed a new engine after three yearsand 70,000 miles of ownership.”

Jaguar XF (2007-2015)

Reliability rating 76.5%

Jaguar XF Mk1 front cornering

According to owners, 35% of previous-generation XFs went wrong with non-engine electrical issues, the biggest trouble spot being the air-con. Other problem areas included the battery, bodywork and engine. Virtually all cars could still be driven, though, and more than half were repaired in a day or less, with 14% of the work done for free and the majority of owners paying no more than £500.

Audi A6

Suspension was the main problem area for A6 owners, accounting for 15% of reported faults. Overall, 30% of A6s went wrong, with other problematic areas including the air-con, brakes, engine, engine and non-electrical systems and interior trim. Although 60% of cars were back on the road in a day or less, only one in five was fixed for free; owners paid out £101 to more than £1500. 

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