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

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Results are for year ending December 31, 2015. Only successfully completed repairs are currently included in the analysis. Routine maintenance, most wear items, recalls, and problems fixed with just a reflash or warning light reset are not included.
Year Make/Model Repair Trips Per 100 Cars Compared to all models for the same year    
2014 BMW 5-Series 11
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  31 5-Series, 10.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 13000 miles
2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 21
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  42 E-Classes, 9.5 months of data per E-Class, average 16000 miles

Refreshed for this model year. Reliable so far.

 

2013 BMW 5-Series 51
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  34 5-Series, 9.8 months of data per 5-Series, average 28200 miles
2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  17 E-Classes, 4.9 months of data per E-Class, average 30300 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2012 BMW 5-Series 37
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 5-Series, 8.4 months of data per 5-Series, average 39400 miles
2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 57
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  28 E-Classes, 8.3 months of data per E-Class, average 32300 miles

 

2011 BMW 5-Series 36
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  45 5-Series, 9.0 months of data per 5-Series, average 53700 miles

First year for F10 5-Series.
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 46
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  28 E-Classes, 9.3 months of data per E-Class, average 41100 miles

 

2010 BMW 5-Series 65
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 5-Series, 9.6 months of data per 5-Series, average 71400 miles
2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 28
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  33 E-Classes, 7.9 months of data per E-Class, average 52500 miles

Redesigned for this model year.

 

2009 BMW 5-Series   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  14 5-Series, 9.3 months of data per 5-Series, average 76100 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  16 E-Classes, 10.0 months of data per E-Class, average 67300 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2008 BMW 528 / 550 / M5 90
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 528 / 550 / M5s, 9.0 months of data per 528 / 550 / M5, average 90700 miles

Refreshed. First year for the turbocharged six in the 535i. Common turbo failures.
2008 BMW 535   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  24 535s, 8.9 months of data per 535, average 90800 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  20 E-Classes, 10.0 months of data per E-Class, average 67500 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2007 BMW 5-Series 82
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  28 5-Series, 9.4 months of data per 5-Series, average 101300 miles
2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 56
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 E-Classes, 9.6 months of data per E-Class, average 84200 miles

Refreshed for this model year.

 

2006 BMW 5-Series 68
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  34 5-Series, 9.8 months of data per 5-Series, average 98200 miles
2006 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 82
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  26 E-Classes, 10.2 months of data per E-Class, average 101000 miles

 

2005 BMW 5-Series   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  11 5-Series, 7.3 months of data per 5-Series, average 119700 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2005 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  17 E-Classes, 8.0 months of data per E-Class, average 123700 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2004 BMW 5-Series   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  21 5-Series, 8.9 months of data per 5-Series, average 99600 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2004 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  16 E-Classes, 7.3 months of data per E-Class, average 142300 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2003 BMW 5-Series 98
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  26 5-Series, 7.1 months of data per 5-Series, average 112500 miles
2003 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  13 E-Classes, 8.1 months of data per E-Class, average 104200 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

 

2002 BMW 5-Series 79
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  30 5-Series, 7.6 months of data per 5-Series, average 122700 miles
2002 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  12 E-Classes, 7.2 months of data per E-Class, average 142000 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

 

2001 BMW 5-Series   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  23 5-Series, 8.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 131400 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2001 Mercedes-Benz E-Class   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  12 E-Classes, 9.7 months of data per E-Class, average 128900 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

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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.

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 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.
2008 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Full service for first 4 years.
2007 4dr Sedan 360-horsepower 4.8L V8
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
No problems in 15,000 miles
2007 4dr Sedan 215-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
Very good reputation.
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
Terrible reputation for poor reliability and absurdly high repair costs as early as 50,000 miles.
2010 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Unbelievable maintenance after 50K miles, cost and effort.
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 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.
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
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 302-horsepower 5.0L V8
5-speed shiftable automatic RWD
TOO many !@#$# trips to the dealer for ball joints, ignition key failure, Total brake failure of EBS, and $1000/visit oil change
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 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 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.
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.