Are Mercedes Cars Reliable?

Mercedes-Benz Reliability

Reliable Mercedes-Benz Cars

Least Reliable Mercedes-Benz Cars

Reliability: Mercedes-Benz vs. BMW

Bottom Line

Mercedes-Benz isn’t exactly considered one of the leading paragons of reliability, but they are not part of the worst ones either. According to leading auto maintenance information provider RepairPal, Mercedes’ reliability score is 3.0 out of 5.0. It also ranked 27th out of 32 car brands.

When it comes to buying luxury cars, it’s not easy to overlook Mercedes-Benz models. They have the name and history that many car enthusiasts will swear by. However, there’s more to a car than the name and branding it carries.

In this article, we’ll talk about Mercedes-Benz and just how reliable it is as a luxury vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz Reliability

black mercedes-benz

Mercedes-Benz cars may have scored average in terms of overall reliability but they are still known for their quality, engineering, and technological innovations. Still, that doesn’t mean they are free from breakdowns.

  • Mercedes-Benz owners visit service centers for unscheduled repairs approximately 0.7 times per year. That’s a little higher compared to the general average of 0.4 across all car models.
  • Thirteen percent of all Mercedes-Benz repairs are considered major – slightly above the average of 12% probability for major issues across all other models.
  • When it comes to ownership costs, Mercedes-Benz vehicles have an average annual repair cost of $900. This price tag includes both scheduled and unscheduled repairs.

While these statistics from RepairPal paint a picture of unreliability and expensive ownership costs, Mercedes-Benz cars are actually on par with other luxury vehicles like BMW and Audi.

It’s important to note that unreliability is pretty common under the luxury vehicle category. Several luxe car brands like Alfa Romeo have consistently been on the list of unreliable vehicles. The same goes for brands like Maserati and Bentley.

Some of the main reasons luxury brands like Mercedes struggle with reliability is because most of them rely on cutting-edge engineering and leading technology. While these are two amazing things to have in a car, it also means a lot of things can go wrong.

A great example of this is the recently introduced Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX). Despite being considered as one of the most advanced voice-powered infotainment systems available, it was plagued by countless software problems. At one point, Mercedes even had to recall around 375,000 cars due to backup camera problems.

Not all cars are created equal.

Reliable Mercedes-Benz Cars

yellow mercedes-benz

Not all cars are created equal. The same thing applies to all Mercedes-Benz cars. Some of their models are simply more reliable than others. Here are two of the most reliable Mercedes-Benz models worth checking out.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Since its first iteration was released back in 1986, the E-Class has always been known as one of the most reliable models made available by the German automaker. The new 2021 model lives up to this tradition.

Consumer Reports has provided the 2021 Mercedes–Benz E-Class model a rating of 74 out of 100. It was also given the “Recommended” designation for its performance, build, and overall reliability.

When it comes to issues, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineups do have a variety of them. Their air suspension is known to be very prone to failure and having it fixed can be expensive. Some customers also report the E-class for body integrity problems like cracked seals, wind noises, rattling doors, and more.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Similar to the E-Class, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is considered one of the most reliable models available. According to Consumer Report’s review, it provided the 2021 C-Class model with a rating of 83 out of 100 and a predicted reliability score of 4 out 5. 

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class lineup has always received high marks from Consumer Reports and similar publications. Its standout feature has been its robust and extremely reliable engines.

As for common problems, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class models are prone to electronics-related issues. Some customers reported their infotainment systems freezing and issues pairing Bluetooth devices.

Another common issue with Class-C is their climate control systems. Several customers have complained about how long it took to warm up the interior, which can be problematic during the winter months and for those living in colder climates.

Least Reliable Mercedes-Benz Cars

car dashboard

Just like any car brand, Mercedes-Benz does have its fair share of models typically considered problematic and unreliable. If you are in the market for a reliable vehicle, you might need to think twice before purchasing these models.

Mercedes-Benz GLS

This SUV from Mercedes-Benz has garnered some negative reviews from the automotive industry due to having critical issues with its electronics.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS is one of the models that had the defective backup camera, forcing the company to announce recalls. Its infotainment system was also known to be confusing and required a steep learning curve to utilize.

Another major issue with the Mercedes-Benz GLS is the lack of illumination for vital buttons and switches, which can make driving in the dark difficult and dangerous.

Mercedes-Benz GLE

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is yet another SUV offering that below-average ratings from many automobile publications. The GLE lineup has often been considered to be Mercedes’ least reliable model.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE offers an amazing and spacious interior but most of the issues that plagued the 2020 GLE models seemed to have remained in the latest model. Most of these issues involve the car’s power equipment, in-car electronics, and engine.

Its infotainment system has also been called out for being too complicated to use, even when using voice commands.

Reliability: Mercedes-Benz vs. BMW

steering wheel

Mercedes-Benz and BMW are two amazing luxury car brands that are often found close to each other in most reliability lists. However, there are certain aspects of their designs that make one better than the other.

1. Dependability

The J.D. Power’s U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) is considered the industry standard when comparing car brands for their dependability. According to their 2019 report, Mercedes-Benz owners are likely to spend more time having their cars fixed.

Here are the results of the reports for both luxury car brands:

  • Mercedes-Benz had an average of 136 problems per 100 vehicles. This is considered a less-than-stellar number and placed Mercedes under the “Below Average” bracket.
  • BMW had an average of 122 problems per 100 vehicles. This places BMW a few notches higher than Mercedes-Benz and found itself within the “Above Average” bracket.

2. Safety

Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz have a state-of-the-art safety system that is quite similar to each other. That’s Active Protection System (APS) for BMW and PRE-SAFE® for Mercedes-Benz.

Both the APS and PRE-SAFE® activate after detecting a possible collision, even before the driver realizes it. Once activated, seatbelts tighten up, all windows automatically close, and the braking system is engaged. 

In terms of safety systems, both BMW and Mercedes-Benz are competent and typically receive high marks from car review publications.

BMW also offers a feature called Battery Safety Terminal, which Mercedes-Benz models don’t generally have. It activates right after the crash. The system automatically disconnects the fuel pump, alternator, and battery to avoid further damage to the vehicle. It also unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard lights. 

This makes Mercedes a tougher car to drive and the bigger engines usually require more fuel.

3. Performance

In terms of performance, BMW has consistently offered vehicles with high-performance specifications like the BMW 2, 3, and 4 Series. They also put out the high-performing X4 and X5 models. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t put out similar models until recently with the S-Class, CLS, and SL models.

BMWs typically have lighter cars which makes them easier to maneuver. Mercedes-Benz has larger and more powerful engines. This makes Mercedes a tougher car to drive and the bigger engines usually require more fuel.

It’s also important to have a model for model comparisons so you can easily compare the differences each brand has. Here are some comparisons of some of their top-selling models:

  • BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE: In terms of performance, the two are pretty similar. Their major differences rely on the price tag and their ability to tow. If you are looking for a car that can two a camper with little to no issues, pick the GLE. The Mercedes GLE is usually the most affordable of the two coming in at $50,000 compared to X5’s $55,000 price tag.
  • BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA: When it comes to SUVs, fuel efficiency is often the most important. In terms of fuel efficiency, the GLA does better with 24 mpg city and 33 mpg compared to the X1’s 23 mpg city/32 mpg.
  • BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class: In terms of design, these two models are pretty much the same. It’s in the horsepower they put out that truly differentiate them. The BMW 3-Series begins with 180 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque in its 8-speed automatic. Meanwhile, the C-Class is capable of putting out 241 hp with 273 lb-ft of torque with a 9-speed automatic.

Bottom Line

While the Mercedes-Benz brand of luxury cars certainly have their issues and limitations, they can still provide you with the high-quality, luxury vehicle experience that you are looking for. What’s important is that you take the time to do your research to single out which Mercedes model would fit your needs.

Auto Works of Brandon offers maintenance and repair services for European import vehicles like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. If you are planning to have your Mercedes car checked, contact us today. Our team will be happy to look into your car and ensure that it’s in top shape.


Mercedes Benz
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