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...

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon (09 - 16)

Most reliable Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009-2016)

Reliability rating 94.0%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 6%, suspension 3%, air-con 1%, battery 1%, brakes 1%, engine electrics 1%, exhaust 1%

Although 15% of E-Classes suffered a fault, they were mostly minor electrical niggles, followed by the suspension. Four out of five cars could still be driven and most were fixed in less than a week, with 42% of the work done for free. Some owners had to pay £751 to £1000, though.

Owner’s view “I bought my E-Class two years ago, when it was three years old. It’s been very reliable and has never given me a single problem.”

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BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)

Reliability rating 82.6%

BMW 5 Series

The 5 Series isn’t one of the most dependable older buys, but it is in the top three here. Thirty percent of the cars we were told about had gone wrong, with suspension the biggest cause for concern. Most cars could still be driven, though, and 41% were fixed in a day or less. Nearly 20% of work was done for free and more than half of the bills were less than £300.

Used car of the week: Jaguar XJ

The main bugbear for XJ owners is the air-con, accounting for 18% of faults. Other areas concerned the battery, brakes and non-engine electrical systems. Owners told us 27% of their cars had gone wrong, but all remained driveable and 80% were fixed the same day. Bills ranged from £51 to £750.


Least reliable Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2002-2009)

Reliability rating 74.9%

What went wrong? Suspension 36%, engine 13% 

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon (06 - 09)

The older E-Class isn’t ageing well, with 50% of the cars we heard about suffering a fault. Although three-quarters of the afflicted cars could still be driven and half were fixed in a day or less, none of the work was done for free and owners paid out between £200 and £750 per fault.

Owner comment: “My car hasn’t been reliable and I’ve found servicing very expensive.”

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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.

Save money on a new Jaguar XF with new car deals  >>


Audi A6 (2011-2018)

Reliability rating 76.7%

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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