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Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI vs. BMW 5-Series Reliability Comparisons

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

These stats are promptly updated four times a year, to much more closely track Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI and BMW 5-Series reliability as the cars age. Others tell you how reliable the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI and the BMW 5-Series 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 Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI and the BMW 5-Series have been recently.

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See reliability results for all Sedans, Hatchbacks, Wagons, and Convertibles.

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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   19 5-Series, 6.8 months of data per 5-Series, average 5600 miles

* Small sample size.
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2014 Volkswagen Golf diesel   20 Golf diesels, 5.8 months of data per Golf diesel, average 7600 miles

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2013 BMW 5-Series 26 5-Series, 9.8 months of data per 5-Series, average 15100 miles19
20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2013 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   14 Golf 2.5s, 8.1 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 11900 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2013 Volkswagen GTI 51 GTIs, 9.7 months of data per GTI, average 13600 miles29
30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2013 Volkswagen Golf diesel 41 Golf diesels, 10.7 months of data per Golf diesel, average 17200 miles30
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2012 BMW 5-Series 27 5-Series, 9.0 months of data per 5-Series, average 23800 miles44
50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2012 Volkswagen Golf 2.5 26 Golf 2.5s, 10.5 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 23100 miles22
20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2012 Volkswagen Golf diesel 52 Golf diesels, 10.2 months of data per Golf diesel, average 29300 miles36
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2012 Volkswagen GTI 86 GTIs, 8.9 months of data per GTI, average 24600 miles56
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2011 BMW 5-Series 49 5-Series, 7.3 months of data per 5-Series, average 36600 miles

First year for F10 5-Series.
53
60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2011 Volkswagen Golf diesel 68 Golf diesels, 9.8 months of data per Golf diesel, average 48000 miles43
50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2011 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   17 Golf 2.5s, 10.3 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 38600 miles

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2011 Volkswagen GTI 51 GTIs, 9.3 months of data per GTI, average 38300 miles58
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2010 BMW 5-Series 31 5-Series, 8.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 54400 miles41
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2010 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   24 Golf 2.5s, 9.1 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 39300 miles

* Small sample size.
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2010 Volkswagen Golf diesel 73 Golf diesels, 9.6 months of data per Golf diesel, average 64500 miles

Redesigned.
53
50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2010 Volkswagen GTI 61 GTIs, 9.6 months of data per GTI, average 45000 miles

Redesigned.
54
60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2009 BMW 5-Series 25 5-Series, 8.8 months of data per 5-Series, average 60800 miles82
80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2009 Volkswagen Rabbit 30 Rabbits, 8.9 months of data per Rabbit, average 59800 miles22
10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2009 Volkswagen GTI 29 GTIs, 9.1 months of data per GTI, average 63300 miles82
80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2008 BMW 528 / 550 / M5 45 528 / 550 / M5s, 8.8 months of data per 528 / 550 / M5, average 76200 miles

Refreshed. First year for the turbocharged six in the 535i. Common turbo failures.
76
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2008 BMW 535 29 535s, 9.0 months of data per 535, average 76300 miles

Refreshed. First year for the turbocharged six in the 535i. Common turbo failures.
111
100% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2008 Volkswagen Rabbit 2.5 38 Rabbit 2.5s, 8.9 months of data per Rabbit 2.5, average 74000 miles42
30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2008 Volkswagen R32   12 R32s, 11.0 months of data per R32, average 55000 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2008 Volkswagen GTI 39 GTIs, 9.3 months of data per GTI, average 70700 miles79
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2007 BMW 5-Series 30 5-Series, 8.0 months of data per 5-Series, average 92800 miles60
40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2007 Volkswagen GTI 30 GTIs, 10.7 months of data per GTI, average 86900 miles

Redesigned. Includes the 2006.5 Rabbit and GTI.
83
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2007 Volkswagen Rabbit 2.5 35 Rabbit 2.5s, 9.1 months of data per Rabbit 2.5, average 95000 miles

Redesigned. Includes the 2006.5 Rabbit and GTI.
94
80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2006 BMW 5-Series 38 5-Series, 9.2 months of data per 5-Series, average 91500 miles100
80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2005 Volkswagen Golf diesel   13 Golf diesels, 8.6 months of data per Golf diesel, average 139300 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2005 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   11 Golf / GTIs, 7.8 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 110200 miles

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2004 BMW 5-Series   23 5-Series, 9.6 months of data per 5-Series, average 93400 miles

* Small sample size.
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2004 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   16 Golf / GTIs, 10.6 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 100100 miles

* Small sample size.
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2003 BMW 5-Series 25 5-Series, 8.5 months of data per 5-Series, average 103500 miles101
60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2003 Volkswagen Golf / GTI 32 Golf / GTIs, 7.6 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 132600 miles

Note high average odometer for the TDI.
64
20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2003 Volkswagen Golf diesel 28 Golf diesels, 8.8 months of data per Golf diesel, average 220500 miles

Note high average odometer for the TDI.
127
90% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2002 BMW 5-Series 40 5-Series, 8.9 months of data per 5-Series, average 112800 miles115
70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2002 Volkswagen Golf / GTI 25 Golf / GTIs, 7.3 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 117400 miles

Note high average odometer for the TDI.
52
0% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2002 Volkswagen Golf diesel   14 Golf diesels, 9.8 months of data per Golf diesel, average 189000 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2001 BMW 5-Series   17 5-Series, 10.4 months of data per 5-Series, average 123300 miles

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2001 Volkswagen Golf diesel   12 Golf diesels, 7.9 months of data per Golf diesel, average 192300 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2001 Volkswagen Golf / GTI 25 Golf / GTIs, 8.0 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 142200 miles96
50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
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2000 BMW 5-Series   11 5-Series, 10.9 months of data per 5-Series, average 128500 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2000 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   13 Golf / GTIs, 8.2 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 118500 miles

* Very small sample size.
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2000 Volkswagen Golf diesel   10 Golf diesels, 9.2 months of data per Golf diesel, average 226800 miles

* Very small sample size.
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What People Are Saying about Reliability and the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

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What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI Reliability and Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2012 2dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
5-speed manual FWD
The car is not old, but so far, so good. Oil changes are required only every 10K miles at first, and the first three are taken care of - not a high-price incentive, certainly, but a nice touch. I haven't had a single cause for alarm so far, and the car operates as it did on the day I bought it. VW has an iffy reputation in the US right now, but it's also said that quality control is best in Wolfsburg, where this car is assembled, and for what its worth, Consumer Reports ranked the MK6 Golf well above average for projected reliability.
2010 4dr Hatch turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed manual FWD
I may be risking jinxing myself, given the brand's reputation, but it's been very reliable for three years now! No major problems, no big out-of-pocket expenses.
2009 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
No complaints once we sorted out a few initial problems. Car is reliable and I would drive it anywhere.
2009 2dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
5-speed manual FWD
No problems so far, the car feels durable and does not creak or make funny noises
2008 2dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
6-speed shiftable automatic FWD
very safe car, rated well in crash ratings, better warrenty than most,
2008 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
The 2008 VW GTI is a car that you can't depend on. It has tons of issues that affect a high percentage of owners, which include: Diverter valve failure PCV faliure Cam wear Fuel pump failure Air conditioning failure Misfires Carbon build up Avoid this car at all costs. Don't make the same mistake I did.
2008 2dr Hatch 250-horsepower 3.2L V6
6-speed automated manual AWD
Rated by Edmunds as a "least cost" vehicle, coming in at a rate below the comparable vehicle costs of operation and ownership
2006 4dr Hatch turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
5-speed manual FWD
The diesel engine is built to last.
2006 4dr Hatch 115-horsepower 2.0L I4
4-speed automatic FWD
We had a very high recommendation from a close friend regarding Golf and we are finding it to be exactly as stated. Solid and reliable, plus easy to drive. We are aware of expensive parts and service but we have not had any repairs to date other than tire
2005 4dr Wagon turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
5-speed manual FWD
Engine has 150K+ miles, and I should be able to get another 150K
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI Reliability and Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2013 4dr Hatch turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed manual FWD
There is a major potential problem with the Golf TDI in the form of the high pressure fuel pump. The concern is that the Bosch unit does not like American low sulfur diesel fuel because of its relatively lower lubricity compared to Euro diesel fuels available where the car was designed. When the pump fails, it can send metal shavings throughout the fuel system, and require major replacements to the tune of $8-10,000. This is a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of any TDI owner. Three or more design revisions have been implemented, but the problem still shows up. Are you willing to take a chance they finally got it right in your car?
2012 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
My GTI had a water pump failure inside of 20k miles. Other than that, all was good.
2010 4dr Hatch turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
Do not trust VW to be well built or have dealers that will honor the warranty.
2008 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
The 2008 VW GTI is a car that you can't depend on. It has tons of issues that affect a high percentage of owners, which include: Diverter valve failure PCV faliure Cam wear Fuel pump failure Air conditioning failure Misfires Carbon build up Avoid this car at all costs. Don't make the same mistake I did.
2007 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
VW needs to address reliability concerns with bulletprood reliability and a good service network.
2007 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
I have had to return to the dealership three times for "Airbag Fault" warnings.
2007 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
Averaging 2 to 3 shop visits per year. Concerns about how much it will cost to own this vehicle over the long haul.
2007 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
OK, everything comes with a price, right? Rattles, bad tranny, warpped timing belt cover, cracked tail light lens. Did I mention the rattles? Know what? I STILL like it. Thank God for warranties.
2007 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
In a year of ownership I have had far more dealership experiences than I care to remember. Lots of check engine lights, parts acting funny, and several parts that have questionable long-term durability.
2006 4dr Hatch turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Lots of repairs so far, minor and major ones.
 

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 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