All cars are built for the same generic purpose, but they can cost anywhere from a few thousand to a few million dollars. Cheap models usually fulfill basic needs, while expensive cars have advanced features, fine materials and powerful engines.
Expensive flagship and performance cars are usually meant for those who don’t care about the maintenance and fuel costs. Often, the complexity of these cars also results in more frequent faults and visits to the mechanic. Luckily, some manufacturers focus on reliability even when making fancy cars.
We’ve made a list of the 8 most reliable luxury cars. To do so, we analyzed data from carVertical vehicle history reports, as well studies done by third-parties, like J.D. Power, What Car?, Consumer Reports, RepairPal, and more.
Poor reliability and high maintenance costs aren’t the same thing
The car’s reliability highly depends on its maintenance. All cars need regular oil and filter changes, brake system checks, and other checkups to prevent various issues. The more expensive the car, the more expensive the spare parts, often leading owners to think that the car is unreliable.
According to YourMechanic, the maintenance of a subcompact Toyota Yaris will cost you $3,289 over 10 years, while you’ll have to pay $14,600 for a Lincoln MKS – a large luxury sedan. The luxury vehicle’s additional comfort and features result in higher maintenance costs.
Top 8 most reliable luxury cars
Public wisdom about car reliability is worth little without supporting facts – even the most dependable brands have made mistakes throughout the years. We picked these 8 longest-lasting luxury cars by comparing car owner survey data and checking accident history reports, which also have a huge impact on the car’s safety and reliability.
8. Acura TLX
Acura, Honda’s luxury brand, uses its robust powertrains and electronics to build upscale models. The second generation TLX has a poor fuel economy compared to its rivals but doesn’t have any common issues. A provider of repair and maintenance information RepairPal gave it a 4.5/5.0 reliability score, mentioning that the average annual repair cost is just $440.
The latest TLX was released in 2020. This four-door executive luxury vehicle is available with Honda’s 2.0-liter I4 turbocharged engine, while the Type S version comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. The latter power plant produces 355 hp and, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, can move the TLX from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
While it’s exciting to drive, the TLX is packed with plush features like Integrated Dynamics System, Collision Mitigation Braking System, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, traffic jam assist, surround view camera, and Wi-Fi hotspot. The starting price of $37,700 makes it one of the cheapest luxury sedans on the market.
7. Infiniti Q50
Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury division, which means that Infiniti cars are built mostly from Nissan parts. The Q50 has been around for almost a decade, and owners confidently confirm that it’s a reliable luxury car. A brand new Q50 is currently available with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged Nissan engine, which isn’t prone to any issues, but owners aren’t happy about averaging 20 mpg. Older models came with more engine options, including a 2.2-liter diesel that averages 40 mpg.
Buyers often look for a used Q50 because of a lower price and a wider variety of engines. Surprisingly, 54.97% of all Infiniti Q50 checked on carVertical have been in accidents in the past. A damaged car may be unsafe, prone to corrosion and various issues if not repaired properly after an accident.
Since the Q50 was launched in 2013, its design is a bit old-fashioned. However, if you’re looking for an affordable luxury sedan, this car is a safe choice.
6. Porsche Panamera
Most of the latest Porsche models are known for their reliability, which is unusual for such an exotic brand. The Panamera is available with either an internal combustion engine or as a plug-in hybrid with an additional electric motor. All powertrains of the new model seem to leave their owners trouble-free.
However, the first-generation models were overengineered for the early 2010s and had been suffering from low oil pressure, coolant leaks, misfiring, and a faulty brake booster. Moreover, almost 57% of Panameras checked on carVertical had damage records, so be extra careful when buying a used model.
5. Lexus LS
While every generation of the Lexus LS has introduced new innovative features and design trends, the reliability of this model remains outstanding. The latest LS comes with bulletproof V6 Toyota engines and a hybrid version. While Carbuyer gave it a 4.5/5.0 stars reliability rating, car history reports reveal that more than half of the analyzed Lexus LS cars had been in an accident in the past.
The LS is the flagship model of Lexus, introducing the brand’s best innovations to the market. While it’s the most reliable car among its rivals, it boasts the lowest starting price of $76,000. You can expect top-notch luxury backed with dynamic navigation, lane departure warning, voice command, hands-free parking, Alexa compatibility, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, active noise cancellation, and a remote touchpad. Some people don’t like the bold design of the new LS, but other than that, it’s the safest choice if you’re looking for a full-size luxury car.
4. BMW 5 Series
The new 5 Series may signify the end of the era of unreliable BMW engines. A survey conducted by What Car? listed the 5 Series at the top of the most reliable luxury cars. It received a 96.9% reliability rating, as owners didn’t face any issues. However, this only applies to petrol engines because diesels still suffer from typical BMW issues like excessive oil consumption, faulty fuel injectors, and turbochargers.
The BMW brand is known for maintaining sporty and aggressive character in cars, and buyers love this image. Unfortunately, they often go above speed limits and many BMW cars end up in car accidents – carVertical reveals that 55.17% of analyzed BMW 5 Series history reports had damage records.
Since the brand mostly focuses on the driver’s experience, the 5 Series has been known as the ultimate driving machine. It may be firmer and with fewer plush features than its rivals, but the latest model proves to be a great all-rounder.
3. Volvo S90
The current Volvo S90 was launched in 2016. While the early versions were prone to air conditioning, build quality, and software issues, the newer versions are among the most reliable sedans. Customers have reported minor infotainment system and electrical issues but other than that, the S90 serves great.
Long gone are the days of bulletproof, boxy Volvo cars, as now Volvo is owned by Chinese multinational automotive company Geely Holding Group. The S90 is the biggest sedan in Volvo’s lineup and offers generous standard features, great legroom, and minimalistic Scandinavian interior design.
The current S90 is available with 10 powertrains, including 2 hybrid versions. Some versions are also available with AWD systems and over 300 hp engines, providing great performance.
2. Lexus ES
The Lexus ES was a rebadged Toyota Camry over a decade ago, but now it’s a totally different car. The 2022 model has a predicted reliability score of 84 out of 100, which is considered great. Some owners reported GPS failures and small oil leaks, but these issues were fixed for free under warranty.
The ES is not as desirable as the German luxury rivals, but it may find its customer. Lexus has some of the best automotive hybrid systems on the market, and the ES costs less than the 5 Series, Audi A6, or E-Class. Moreover, the build quality is astonishing – premium interior materials, hand stitching, and pleasant ergonomics make it stand out from the crowd.
Lexus has never put a diesel engine in any of the ES models, resulting in poor sales in Europe. However, since the world fell in love with hybrids, hybrid Lexus ES versions are starting to kick off in Europe too.
1. Lexus GX
Luxury SUVs rarely appear among the most reliable cars, but the Lexus GX has been surprisingly reliable for a few years straight. This year, Consumer Reports gave it 5 out of 5 stars in predicted reliability – just like in 2021, 2020, and 2019. The GX has no known issues at the moment.
This Lexus is a full-size luxury SUV that copes with all kinds of terrain without breaking a sweat. It’s not as rugged as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado but instead has luxurious features you’d find in flagship models. The interesting thing about the GX is that it’s cheaper than the less elegant Land Cruiser Prado – the GX starts at $56,125, while the Land Cruiser Prado starts at $60,800.
The 2022 Lexus GX comes with Toyota’s 4.6-liter V8 engine, which generates 301 hp and averages 17 mpg. The GX is packed with safety, entertainment, and comfort features but also provides 8.1 inches of ground clearance and a 6,500-pound (2,950 kg) towing capacity. It’s perfect for various activities as long as high fuel usage isn’t an issue.
Why are luxury cars often so problematic?
Car makers don’t design unreliable luxury cars on purpose – they just don’t try to make them as reliable as more popular and cheaper models. Wealthy customers care more about the car’s image today than a few years later. The primary purpose of flagship models like the 7 Series and S-Class is to show off the brand’s latest technology and innovations that often aren’t polished to perfection.
For example, the fourth generation S-Class was the first Mercedes-Benz with the Airmatic air suspension. Its shock absorbers, the compressor, and other elements tend to wear out prematurely, resulting in four-figure repair expenses. The third-generation model even came with an electronically adjustable rearview mirror, which brought additional controls and electrical motors, so you could adjust your mirror inside the car by using a button.
The worst part is that many of these new systems either break down or become useless over time. For instance, many manufacturers had integrated mobile phones to their flagship models during the 90s and 2000s. However, after mobile phones have surged in popularity, car phones became pointless. AUX pushed out CD players and USB sockets. Even LED day running lights look dated when compared to modern smooth LED stripes – some features just don’t stand the test of time.
Luxury cars depreciate faster
The used car market is full of cars that cost over $100,000 when new and just a few grand 15 years later. All these fancy features and large engines in used flagship cars were built for the wealthiest customers and now anyone can enjoy them – how’s that possible?
Large luxury cars and SUVs are packed with overengineered systems and technology that may be expensive to maintain. The older a luxury car is, the more complicated its maintenance becomes. However, those who don’t mind high maintenance costs, usually can afford a new car, leaving used luxury vehicles without buyers.
Remember that most of the time luxury cars are a bad investment because of fast depreciation. If you’re still dedicated to pamper yourself with some fine wood trims, soft leather, and comfortable suspension, reliability should be more important than ever.
Do luxury cars require more maintenance?
Yes, luxury cars have more electrical systems, and powerful, complicated powertrains that could break down at any moment. Spare parts are usually more expensive.
Are luxury cars safer?
Usually, yes. Luxury cars have more safety features, airbags, and these cars are bigger, resulting in longer and more effective crumple zones.
Why do luxury cars need premium gas?
Luxury cars usually use high-performance engines, which have to maintain a higher compression ratio – high-octane fuel is beneficial for them.