Which is more reliable: BMW or Mercedes Benz?

This blog will compare the reliability of the two German car companies Mercedes Benz and BMW. We also provide answers to the following questions: which is more reliable, BMW or  Mercedes Benz? What are the factors responsible for the reliability of cars? Should you buy a BMW or Mercedes Benz car? Lastly, some tips to maintain the reliability of cars

Which is more reliable: BMW or Mercedes Benz?

Mercedes Benz cars are more reliable than BMW cars and the cost of ownership is also less for Mercedes Benz compared to BMW in the long run. The following table contains key information on the reliability of both companies.

Reliability factorsMercedes BenzBMW
Standard warranty USA4 Years/ 50,000 Miles4 years or 50,000 miles
Number of dealerships (USA)380+348
Reliability rating (Repair Pal)3.0/5.02.5/5.0
Powertrain warranty Only covered in standard warrantyPowertrain Warranty available
Extended Warranty,Yesyes

let’s take a closer look at each of the factors:

Standard warranty

It means the manufacturing company will cover for any defects or faults in the vehicle. The faults can be electrical or mechanical in nature. If the fault originates from the manufacturing factory then it’s claimed under the VPC warranty in case the vehicle is not registered to the customer.

Mercedes Benz and BMW both provide similar standard warranty to all the models. Customers can report to the authorised dealerships to claim part and repair costs if the fault is identified as a manufacturing defect.

Both companies do not cover the cost of maintenance of the vehicle. Engine oil, brake pads and brake disc are considered consumables. They are not covered under any form of warranty.

The warranty claim can also be rejected in case the fault is caused due to accidental impact or a non-genuine part installed on the vehicle.

The number of dealerships

The presence of authorised dealerships in the market is very important for the reliability of the vehicles. Mercedes Benz has the biggest after-service network in the premium car segment.

BMW comes second with 348 dealerships in the American market alone. BMW recommends preventive maintenance at every 5000 miles or 6 months followed by a periodic service at every 10,000 miles or 12 months.

Mercedes Benz doesn’t have any preventive maintenance, the company only recommends annual maintenance at 10,000 miles or 1 year. A free technical inspection of the vehicle is performed before 500 miles are completed.

Mercedes Benz cars are easier to maintain as the availability of spare parts is good and the customer only needs to visit the workshop only once every year.

Reliability rating

Repairpal tested more than 30 car manufacturers and rated them based on the frequency of repairs, repair cost and the complexity of unscheduled repair jobs.

Mercedes Benz is currently rated at 27 and BMW is ranked at 30. BMW cars are more complex to repair compared to Mercedes Benz. As the age and mileage of the BMW car increases, it suffers from more mechanical problems.

Mercedes Benz has the superior built quality and even if the cars are old, components like the steering rack and shock absorbers last very long. The latest Mercedes Benz engines are also more reliable than the current generation of BMW engines.

Powertrain warranty

It consists of a warranty cover in the components on the powertrain of the vehicle. The powertrain supplements are engine, transmission, propeller shafts, differentials and in the case of all-wheel-drive models a transfer case.

Mercedes Benz does not have a separate powertrain warranty. The standard bumper-to-bumper warranty covers the components of the powertrain. If the standard warranty period is over, Mercedes Benz provides extended warranty plans. However, there is no option to select only the powertrain warranty.

BMW offers a warranty for only powertrain components once the standard warranty period is over. But there is limited coverage on the engine, transmission and final drive assembly.

The transfer case and induction system have full coverage. The rest of the components like air conditioning and infotainment systems are not covered in the powertrain warranty.

Extended warranty

It is crucial as it can cover the cost of any unexpected repairs after the vehicle is outside the standard warranty period.

Following are some tips to maintain the reliability of Mercedes Benz and BMW cars

  • When starting the vehicle in cold conditions for the first time, wait for a few minutes and allow the engine to complete the warm-up phase. Once the engine reaches the maximum temperature, then commence the journey.
  • If there are any warnings or malfunction lights in the instrument cluster then report to the nearest workshop for further diagnosis
  • Always perform paid maintenance as specified by the manufacturer. Paid maintenance plays a key role in the reliability of cars as engine oil and oil filters are replaced during service.
  • Never use the vehicle in full load condition for an extended amount of time, driving the vehicle under poor condition can affect the reliability of the critical components of the drivetrain.
  • Maintain the specified tyre pressure in the tyres and always check engine oil and coolant levels before starting a long journey.

Should you buy a BMW or Mercedes Benz car?

You should definitely buy a Mercedes Benz car. The latest Mercedes Benz models offer better equipment in the base trim compared to BMW. Also, Mercedes Benz’s latest engines are miles ahead in refinement levels than BMW engines.

The Mercedes Benz’s vast dealership networks mean it is easiest to maintain the vehicle by performing periodic maintenance. The availability of spare parts for Mercedes Benz cars is good.

Overall owning a Mercedes Benz vehicle is a hassle-free experience. There are also prepaid service packages and extended warranties that can significantly reduce the overall cost of ownership.


This blog compared the BMW and Mercedes Benz companies across various factors of reliability. We also listed some important tips that will help in maintaining the reliability of vehicles. Mercedes Benz is currently the global leader in the sale of luxury cars. The after-service network in the international market is also big compared to BMW. 

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

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