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BMW 5-Series vs. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Reliability Comparisons

You won't find BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class reliability information like this anywhere else. Actual repair frequencies, not just vague dots, to make it clear how much the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class truly differ in reliability.

These stats are promptly updated four times a year, to much more closely track BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class reliability as the cars age. Others tell you how reliable the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class were a year ago, when the cars were a year younger and had 12,000 fewer miles on them. Only TrueDelta tells you how reliable the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class have been recently.

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Year Make/Model Repair Frequencysuccessful repair trips per 100 cars per year Compared to all models for the same year  
2014 BMW 5-Series   14 5-Series, 5.9 months of data per 5-Series, average 4500 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 26 E-Classes, 5.4 months of data per E-Class, average 5300 miles26
30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2013 BMW 5-Series 25 5-Series, 9.6 months of data per 5-Series, average 13100 miles30
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2012 BMW 5-Series 26 5-Series, 9.4 months of data per 5-Series, average 21500 miles44
50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2011 BMW 5-Series 48 5-Series, 8.0 months of data per 5-Series, average 34700 miles

First year for F10 5-Series.
53
60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 28 E-Classes, 8.8 months of data per E-Class, average 29500 miles39
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2010 BMW 5-Series 31 5-Series, 9.2 months of data per 5-Series, average 51300 miles

End of CPO warranty.
46
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 30 E-Classes, 9.0 months of data per E-Class, average 35300 miles

Redesigned for this model year.
71
80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2009 BMW 5-Series   23 5-Series, 8.3 months of data per 5-Series, average 56900 miles

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2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   15 E-Classes, 10.4 months of data per E-Class, average 54800 miles

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2008 BMW 528 / 550 / M5 49 528 / 550 / M5s, 8.1 months of data per 528 / 550 / M5, average 71900 miles

Refreshed.
78
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2008 BMW 535 27 535s, 9.3 months of data per 535, average 75000 miles

Refreshed.
91
80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 26 E-Classes, 9.2 months of data per E-Class, average 53800 miles65
50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2007 BMW 5-Series 28 5-Series, 9.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 90500 miles54
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 28 E-Classes, 9.1 months of data per E-Class, average 69500 miles

Refreshed for this model year.
80
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2006 BMW 5-Series 38 5-Series, 9.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 88400 miles90
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2006 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 29 E-Classes, 9.0 months of data per E-Class, average 94500 miles92
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2005 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   20 E-Classes, 8.7 months of data per E-Class, average 89600 miles

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2004 BMW 5-Series   21 5-Series, 8.8 months of data per 5-Series, average 92000 miles

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2004 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   16 E-Classes, 7.0 months of data per E-Class, average 99600 miles

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2003 BMW 5-Series   24 5-Series, 9.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 103700 miles

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2003 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   13 E-Classes, 8.8 months of data per E-Class, average 96600 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2002 BMW 5-Series 38 5-Series, 9.2 months of data per 5-Series, average 111800 miles93
50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2002 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   10 E-Classes, 10.1 months of data per E-Class, average 135900 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2001 BMW 5-Series   17 5-Series, 10.0 months of data per 5-Series, average 128400 miles

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2001 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   17 E-Classes, 8.5 months of data per E-Class, average 142400 miles

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2000 BMW 5-Series   12 5-Series, 10.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 131100 miles

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2000 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   11 E-Classes, 7.6 months of data per E-Class, average 117700 miles

* Very small sample size.
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1999 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   17 E-Classes, 7.2 months of data per E-Class, average 123300 miles

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What People Are Saying about Reliability and the BMW 5-Series

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What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the BMW 5-Series

BMW 5-Series Reliability and Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2008 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Full service for first 4 years.
2008 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Tremendous warranty which includes annual oil change and inspection paid for by dealer. ANY problems are fixed at no charge to customer.
2007 4dr Sedan 215-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
Very good reputation.
2007 4dr Sedan 360-horsepower 4.8L V8
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
No problems in 15,000 miles
2005 4dr Sedan 225-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Tried and true inline 6 cylinder engine.
2002 4dr Sedan 184-horsepower 2.5L I6
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Very little rust after 8+ years coupled with top notch materials lasting quite a long time. Replacement parts were very costly but performed for long periods. Current owners offer great advice on what and when to perform preventative maintenance.
BMW 5-Series Reliability and Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2011 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
8-speed shiftable automatic RWD
- accelerator response (hesitation) - engine issues (check engine light requiring three service visits in two months) - engine malfunction light (part of turbo came disconnected) - faulty fuel sensor (recall first three months of new model year)
2010 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Unbelievable maintenance after 50K miles, cost and effort.
2010 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Terrible reputation for poor reliability and absurdly high repair costs as early as 50,000 miles.
2005 4dr Sedan 325-horsepower 4.4L V8
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Over 80K many systems were beginning to break down
2004 4dr Sedan 225-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
Had several repairs the first month of ownership that were covered by CPO warranty...love that BMW CPO
2002 4dr Sedan 290-horsepower 4.4L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
I picked the above "reason" because it's the worst feature of an otherwise perfect vehicle. The durability of the interior is quite frankly an embarassment. I've lost the buttons for max for the heater, up for the driver side temerature, and the top button for the airflow direction .... don't ask me where they went, they just disappeared! I've broken the drivers side cup holder (and come on ... how pathetic are those cup holders!), and once it breaks, it no longer clicks back into the closed position so now I have a half a cup holder sticking out. One other grievance relating to interior durability ... the plastic footrest (left foot) down below the hood lever also fell apart. The plastic just broke away in
2002 4dr Sedan 225-horsepower 3.0L I6
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
This car is known to have a plethora of problems. I have yet to see if it will hold up well for me.
2001 4dr Sedan 225-horsepower 3.0L I6
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
dealer ship as a mess
 

What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Reliability and Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2008 4dr Sedan 268-horsepower 3.5L V6
7-speed shiftable automatic RWD
The 2008 E-Class is far more reliable than previous E-Class models, many of which are plagued by quirky electronic issues. No such issues with this model. Perhaps the most reliable model thus far.
2007 4dr Sedan 268-horsepower 3.5L V6
7-speed shiftable automatic RWD
They are not known for being inexpensive to maintain. While the scheduled maintenance trips are not cheap, so far I have had virtually no problems with the car. trips that are not but they are known for having
2005 4dr Sedan turbocharged 201hp 3.2L I6 Diesel
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Mercedes has long been known for reliability
2003 4dr Sedan 302-horsepower 5.0L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
The car still drives like a solid new car at 94000 miles
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Reliability and Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2008 4dr Sedan 268-horsepower 3.5L V6
5-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Poor reliability in the past 5-10 years
2008 4dr Sedan 268-horsepower 3.5L V6
5-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Driver side mirror cracked in the cold in the first 2 months. Piece of driver door trim came loose after a couple of months.
2007 4dr Sedan 507-horsepower 6.2L V8
7-speed shiftable automatic RWD
It never works right. There is always some sort of other problem. Problem after problem after problem, it never ends.
2005 4dr Sedan supercharged 469hp 5.4L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Materials look & feel great, and seem well put together, but durability is questionable. E.g., glovebox door soft close craps out, as do the tweeter "triangle" housings in the forward door corners). Airmatic suspension is known problem area.
2004 4dr Sedan 221-horsepower 3.2L V6
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
My repairs are mostly for simple things that should last longer. Engine and Trans are stellar.
2003 4dr Sedan supercharged 469hp 5.4L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
The W211 E class is just a mess of problems waiting to happen. Probably the biggest is the tendency of the fuel tank and two fuel senders (underneath the back seat, by the way) to leak with no fix other than to replace them at a high cost (over $3,500). The fuel sender leak happens to be right around some electrical connections as well, so it is a wonder there haven't been any notable fire incidents. This is a known issue and there is an NTSB ongoing investigation (PE12001, which has been upgraded to the next level of action) because of the high number of vehicles affected. The fact that Mercedes doesn't own up to this issue after several iterations of re-engineered parts and continued failures is the main reason I will never buy another Mercedes. I have had to have this repair done, so I speak from experience.
2003 4dr Sedan supercharged 469hp 5.4L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
The W211's, and many other models of Mercedes, have two batteries. One main batter for starting, and an accessory battery for running convenience features, your brakes, etc. This is a definite source of trouble. When you have certain functions fail, the obvious place to look at a secondary battery isn't the first thing that comes to mind. A secondary battery that is slightly low on voltage can start to create havoc in your electronics. I have faced this a number of times, and actually, it is now one of the first things I check when something odd is occurring.
2003 4dr Sedan supercharged 469hp 5.4L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
The third major issue the W211's have is the airmatic system. A common fault is for the airmatic struts to leak, which requires replacement. One replacement cost is $1600. If you aren't under warranty, the bill could add up quickly if more than one goes out. The airmatic system is nice in principle, but in practice this is a common ailment. I had my left front go bad, so I speak from experience.
2003 4dr Sedan 302-horsepower 5.0L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Not reliable at all. Close to 100K miles and have had to replace the pump that raises the car up and won, wheel bearings and engine mounts. Very expensive. Steering wheel fluid is $30 for a quart
2003 4dr Sedan supercharged 469hp 5.4L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
The second major issue that owners of the W211 can expect to have is the SBC brake system. This was implemented on the '03 - '06 W211 and it was changed on subsequent years in 2007. The SBC unit, pressure reservoir, and the other parts of the brake system can alert you to a fault and minutes later leave you without brakes. This is unacceptable. Mercedes did put out a 10 year unlimited mileage warranty on the SBC unit itself, but I'll give you one guess as to when the fault will happen! If the pressure reservoir goes out, you won't even be able to get the car out of park, even just to get it in to neutral to get a tow. The brake sensors seem to be finicky and the brake switch as well. Knowing what I know now about the failed application of SBC, I'd never purchase an E class Mercedes between the years of 2003-2006. If I were to ever look in to purchasing a Mercedes again, I would do my homework on the types of systems in place. I have had to do this repair and others on the brakes, so I speak from experience.