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Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI vs. BMW 5-Series 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    
2016 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R 15
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  35 GTI and Golf Rs, 2.3 months of data per GTI and Golf R, average 1800 miles

 

2015 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R 20
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  81 GTI and Golf Rs, 8.7 months of data per GTI and Golf R, average 8600 miles

Redesigned. Golf 1.8T and TDI have a higher repair frequency than the GTI, unclear why. All might have a somewhat common problem with failing AC compressors.
2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8T 27
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  25 Golf 1.8Ts, 8.8 months of data per Golf 1.8T, average 5200 miles

Redesigned. Golf 1.8T and TDI have a higher repair frequency than the GTI, unclear why. All might have a somewhat common problem with failing AC compressors.
2015 Volkswagen Golf diesel 47
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 Golf diesels, 7.5 months of data per Golf diesel, average 8800 miles

Redesigned. Golf 1.8T and TDI have a higher repair frequency than the GTI, unclear why. All might have a somewhat common problem with failing AC compressors.

 

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 Volkswagen Golf diesel 12
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  42 Golf diesels, 9.8 months of data per Golf diesel, average 21000 miles
2014 Volkswagen GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  11 GTIs, 8.6 months of data per GTI, average 16300 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

 

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 Volkswagen Golf diesel 24
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  45 Golf diesels, 10.2 months of data per Golf diesel, average 34900 miles
2013 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  19 Golf 2.5s, 9.8 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 32000 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2013 Volkswagen GTI 34
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  59 GTIs, 9.6 months of data per GTI, average 26500 miles

 

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 Volkswagen Golf diesel 39
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  54 Golf diesels, 9.7 months of data per Golf diesel, average 49100 miles
2012 Volkswagen GTI 42
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  75 GTIs, 9.5 months of data per GTI, average 38900 miles
2012 Volkswagen Golf 2.5 43
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 Golf 2.5s, 9.5 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 36200 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 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  22 Golf 2.5s, 9.0 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 52500 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2011 Volkswagen GTI 45
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  49 GTIs, 9.3 months of data per GTI, average 47900 miles
2011 Volkswagen Golf diesel 53
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  64 Golf diesels, 9.5 months of data per Golf diesel, average 61900 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 Volkswagen GTI 33
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  45 GTIs, 9.8 months of data per GTI, average 57200 miles

Redesigned.
2010 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  20 Golf 2.5s, 9.7 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 53800 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2010 Volkswagen Golf diesel 80
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  60 Golf diesels, 9.5 months of data per Golf diesel, average 82800 miles

Redesigned.

 

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 Volkswagen Rabbit 60
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 Rabbits, 9.2 months of data per Rabbit, average 71600 miles
2009 Volkswagen GTI 81
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 GTIs, 10.5 months of data per GTI, average 69000 miles

 

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 Volkswagen R32   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  10 R32s, 10.5 months of data per R32, average 62800 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2008 Volkswagen Rabbit 2.5 60
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  40 Rabbit 2.5s, 7.0 months of data per Rabbit 2.5, average 82800 miles

Average odometer much lower for the R32.
2008 Volkswagen GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  23 GTIs, 10.6 months of data per GTI, average 79500 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 Volkswagen GTI 76
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  26 GTIs, 9.8 months of data per GTI, average 98400 miles

Redesigned. Includes the 2006.5 Rabbit and GTI.
2007 Volkswagen Rabbit 2.5 97
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  26 Rabbit 2.5s, 10.0 months of data per Rabbit 2.5, average 106900 miles

Redesigned. Includes the 2006.5 Rabbit and GTI.

 

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

 

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 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  11 Golf / GTIs, 7.9 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 131100 miles

* Very 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 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  16 Golf / GTIs, 8.6 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 111800 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 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  22 Golf / GTIs, 8.3 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 137400 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2003 Volkswagen Golf diesel 162
100% 100% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  28 Golf diesels, 10.1 months of data per Golf diesel, average 224800 miles

Note high average odometer for the TDI.

 

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 Volkswagen Golf diesel   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  17 Golf diesels, 9.1 months of data per Golf diesel, average 198900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2002 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  20 Golf / GTIs, 9.0 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 113400 miles

* 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 Volkswagen Golf diesel   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  10 Golf diesels, 8.9 months of data per Golf diesel, average 216300 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2001 Volkswagen Golf / GTI 100
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  25 Golf / GTIs, 8.1 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 154800 miles

 

2000 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  13 Golf / GTIs, 4.8 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 150700 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

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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.

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.
2011 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
I've never had any problems whatsoever. Regular oil changes with good-quality products, premium gas, the occasional bottle of techron and she's been good to go for almost 60k now.
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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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.
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
I have had to return to the dealership three times for "Airbag Fault" warnings.
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 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