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    Default German Luxury Performance Car Reliability

    In a couple months the missus and I need to decide if we're keeping our LC500 or not. It's been a fantastic car, but we may not buy out this one.

    I/We have had a lot of performance cars over the years. I've never had a higher end luxury/performance German car though, such as a Merc, BMW, Audi or Porsche. Have a great hook up through Audi, a high school friend/exchange student that boarded with us is a President with Audi North America,Micha Diepenbrock, and have considered getting an R8 that way. Almost did it, but the Lexus LC500 was 1/2 the cost pretty much. There are TONS of AMG, BMW M, Audi, and Porsche cars in $$$ striking distance should we walk from the LC500.

    My issue is, everywhere on this forum and others, it seems the current sentiment is "German cars now have shit reliability across the board". IE everyone shouts out warnings to people requesting advice on buying such a car when its warranty has recently expired. There is also the "to get a nice interior, you must purchase one of these cars, all others have shit interiors" mantra. So, in order to get a good car with nice interior, I have to be prepared for potentially brutal reliability issues and costs once my warranty is up. IE keeping such a German car has huge inherent risk, at least according to all the forums.

    When exactly did this happen with higher end German luxury/performance cars? I remember 15 -20 years ago when I couldn't afford such cars, but reading everything I could find about them, so many stories of rich Arabs buying AMG/M cars and driving them for 100s of thousands of kms and never doing one bit of maintenance even sometimes skipping oii changes, and just driving said cars until they died, which was usually after insane milarge and use. Where did that reputation go, and wtf happened - why is the reputation now the inverse of this?

    The missus has really had a pull to join the "one of us, one of us" crowd and pick up a newer used low KM Tesla S P100D. Me, not so much, one of the great new 911s, various amazing AMG, and even some of the model Ms out and coming out shortly, is what I have my sights on. What am I getting myself into though long term, should we plan on keeping such a car. Is it 100% best option to 2 or 3 year lease, and then just not give AF about reliability/warranty expiration issues? Or is the Porsche 911 get a pass on the shit long term reliability issues the AMG/M seem to have reputation wise (based on the last model 911 reliability, as the new one just came out this year and there is no real data on long term obviously).

    I know there are TONS of drivers on Beyond that drive such German/Euro cars, mods and long term members. Am I worrying to much about forum talk, opinions, and reputations, or is really something to this "crap reliability long term" deal. The LC500 has been, and is, a fantastic, and reliable, summer car. Great, albeit a little odd interior, amazing looking body/lines, good performance, and one of the best sounding stock exhaust out there, I'd put the car up against anything on that score. I/We do like to change things up frequently, and again, I've always wanted, and never have had, that AMG/M/Audi German car - and I want it for next summer season. Plan on buying some other vehicles/etc shortly too, but this is the primary question and concern, as the others have all pretty much been decided, and cost much, much less (ie a Miata or BRZ/86, updated GM Truck, etc).

    Budget, 80 to 140k, purchase or lease...Advice?
    Last edited by Gman.45; 07-23-2020 at 03:44 PM.

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    I buy a lot of German (MB) cars. So completely anecdotal experiences here.

    2019 MB E53 Coupe - 1 year into it, the car fired up a shit ton of warnings about 48V battery error on the road and asked me to pull over immediately. Shut down and car and turned it back on and that was it. Went to dealer, scanned, said "abnormal voltage". Guessing it was a sensor problem. Error never came back.

    2018 MB E400 Wagon - First month, connector came loose under seat (maybe I kicked it) and heated seat stopped working. Fixed under warranty. First summer, rear passenger door sticks if it's exposed to the sun for 30-60 mins. Dealer relubricated and fixed.

    2015 MB GLA45 - bunch of CEL every time I travelled to BC in the boonies. Scan shows misfires, always goes away when I leave. Chalking it up to shitty fuel quality.

    2015 MB B250 - Zero issues.

    2012 MB CLS550 - Zero issues.

    2012 MB C63 Black Series AMG - DRL was not working. Apparently I triggered a recall, as all Canadian C63 Black Series was coded incorrectly. With that said, the engine had a design flaw, and I was hesitant to keep this under warranty, hence selling the car.

    2010 C63 AMG - Don't remember having any issues at all.

    2010 B200 - Don't remember any issues at all.

    With that said, I've had a lot of luck with MB cars, but I have had friends with pretty much the same car with much more severe issues. I won't name names, they can post if they want to.
    Originally posted by SEANBANERJEE
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    The problem is everyone's experiences (including mine) are small sample sizes and anecdotal. For every horror story there is also a guy who has 300,000kms and no issues. Also keep in mind people who have had problems are many times more likely to be vocal about it than those who have no issues, and that is no different for cars.

    I have owned 2 Audi S4's (2000 and 2006) and my parents have owned 3 different BMW's collectively over 15+ years and hundreds of thousands of KM and none of us have ever done anything other than routine/scheduled maintenance. My 2010 Honda Civic had more issues than my 2000 S4 that was running modified for over 130,000 KM haha. Talk to someone else though and they may have had the complete opposite experience, swearing off X brand forever.

    Like any car, performance variants and lease-backs are usually beat on a lot harder, so statistically they will probably have more issues. That goes for any vehicle though. If you buy new obviously this is a non-issue.

    Since leasing is an option, you can maintain full optionality (keep, return at end, early return, etc.) while taking essentially zero risk over the term of the lease, and unless you keep your cars forever or drive crazy amounts of KM, it is usually the better financial decision anyway.

    I say buy what makes you happy, and it's unlikely you will regret it. Sounds like you're at a good point in life where money isn't a major concern, and if buying a nice German car will put the biggest smile on your face every time you drive it, go for it.

    The biggest issue with an $80-140K budget is actually picking something - you have a ridiculous amount of amazing choices and you should just start test driving everything until you find "the one". Personally I'd probably get something like an RS6 Avant or 992 911. The only thing for sure is I'd be leasing.

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    2014 BMW M235i

    Vibrations wore away coating for my fuel cap sensor which threw a code, BMW shorted something trying to fix it which locked up the car (all happened at the shop). Was fixed the next day. I think there was a fuel pump recall somewhere in there again fixed in warranty. N55 engine. Had the car for 3 years.

    2016 MB C63S AMG

    Didn’t start one time, gave it 10 minutes, pressed the start button a bunch of times and it fired up. Very unnerving but never happened again. Aside from that nothing but oil changes in 3 years of ownership.

    Not really the same but the dash on my 07 GTI died, replaced under CPO warranty along with a seized fan. CPO majorly paid out for me on that one but otherwise was deadly reliable.

    I have had nothing but luck with my German cars. Have had way worse issues with Honda’s and Toyota’s actually lol.

    Personally a next gen M3 (awd & competition spec with a few gaudy individual extras) is my shortlist for my next toy in a couple years. Driving German gives me 0 anxiety whatsoever. Now my GM? That fucker got an extended warranty lmao
    Last edited by killramos; 07-23-2020 at 04:19 PM.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

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    fact.

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    I pretty much have only bought out of warranty German cars because the reputation makes them depreciate pretty bad when the warranty is nearing its end. I do my own wrenching so I'm almost never at the dealer. Oil, filters, and brakes are a given. Here's my list of extras on my German daily drivers.

    '08 Touareg (still own): 250k+ Km. No engine problems other than a CEL for aging O2 sensors. Broke the driveshaft bearing support which I guess is quite common. Otherwise nothing. One of the best vehicles I've ever owned.

    '13 B8.5 S4 (still own): 115K Km Both front wheel bearings.

    '02 E46 M3 (sold): 200K+ km. 2 Alternators, rear springs, oil pressure valve, cooling system refresh, ignition coils, 1st gear synchro, fuel pump. I miss this car and it is still going strong somewhere up here in Edmonton.

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    Not performance cars, but my history:

    01 BMW E46 330 - random CEL but never any major issues

    08 Audi A4 - CEL came on once for a faulty sensor, otherwise a perfect car

    18 A4 - no issues in the year or so we had it

    19 SQ5 - no issues since we bought in December

    I've worked for VW in Calgary and Audi in Australia and while we see the "worst of the worst" it has never stopped me form purchasing. Any brand will have horror stories at the dealerships, and as long as they take care of you (which a purchase in that price range should) even a worst case scenario shouldn't matter.

    Go Audi if you have that kind of connection. If it has a problem I'm sure that person can get you a buyback/sick loan car if you run into issues, not that I think you would.

    Maintain them and drive them hard and they are great vehicles.

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    I've mostly owned German cars and - touch wood - have not had any bad experiences. I tend to buy new or very nearly new (<12 months old; <~2k km), and usually don't keep them that long, but have never had a problem with any of the "performance cars", even those thought to be prone to problems like my B7 RS4 and V10 M6... Ironically, the most troublesome car I've had was my wife's GL350, but it's also the only car we've kept for as long as we did and it out of warranty. I've also had various 911s over the last 15 or so years and never had any issues... though no 992 yet - I'll be waiting for the '21s.

    Completely anecdotal, but I'm with Killramos - 0 anxiety or worries about owning a new(er) German car, especially if you buy (near) new and unload it while there's still warranty.

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    I’d only worry about electronics and sensors as the car ages.

    My 2010 E550 auto brake kept going off when the sun hits the sensor in sunrises so turned that shit off. My Audi S3 height sensor got fucked due to potholes. It’s been running good to-date, mechanically. 136k kms

    Have to do wheel bearings on the S3 soon but typical consumables are VW parts bin so meh. Audi engines are notorious for carbon buildup so you have to walnut blast the valves for high mileage cars (like mine which I have to look up how... seems ‘easy’ with carb cleaner and scrubbing?)

    Old Audi had some weird stuff like timing chains in the back of the engine but had plastic tensioned (B6-B7 S4) or the Biturbo allroad first gen. So be on the look out for those.

    F10 M5 has hot turbo issues and needs excess cooling so much that the fans drain the battery. Eats up oil too.

    911 seems to be the safe bet supercar and recommended by a lot of people (online but I’msure owners here can validate if true)

    It seems more expensive to service because the parts are more expensive than Japanese counterparts but since technology is moving up quickly, it’s becoming nil. Labor is roughly the same at 100ish per hr if you want a good one
    Last edited by flipstah; 07-24-2020 at 05:26 AM.


    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    The benefit of masks is not known at this time. But we do know it is some non-trivial amount more than zero.

    We also know that the cost of mask use is, essentially, zero.

    So the cost:benefit of mask use is approaching infinity. I'll take that every time. And every time I see someone without a mask, I think they are stupid.

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    The real question is, can you get us a group buy on some R8's?

    We've own quite a few German cars and never had any real issues. The biggest thing we ran into was because of the diesel gate with our A3 TDI, but Glenmore Audi went above and beyond for us. They parked our car on their lot, while we waited for the diesel outcome/Takata airbag parts and gave us new cars (A7/A4/Q5) to drive every 6 months or so. Most of my issues are around tires that love finding screws, nails, etc. twice a year.

    BMW dealerships have been the worst to deal with. Mercedes (Downtown) and Audi (Glenmore) have been significantly better for me. However, servicing with Audi means long wait times to get in (2-4 weeks) and even longer if you want a loaner.

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    This is great, thanks for all the responses so far. I hope more post their experiences and opinions.

    I should have been a bit more clear in the OP - I guess where I (we) are at is I do like to purchase cars that are a year or two, even three years old, for the obvious reasons that everyone else has doing so, having someone else eat the depreciation. The trouble with this is obviously the warranty is going to be nearly out, at least the bumper to bumper coverage, with usually only powertrain left for a couple years (sometimes full coverage depending on what the owner put on the car). Leasing new you dodge this, but then you eat the depreciation IF you decide to buy the leased vehicle out, which is the position we're in with the LC500, even though it's held its value reasonably well.

    So, that's the "what do I do" question. Should we find a few year old-ish AMG/Audi/Porsche and purchase it, taking advantage of the depreciation, but having the risk of having to pay $$$ for any issues should they arise when the warranty runs out in short order, or just lease new as we did with the Lexus after selling the GTR.

    Missus wants a Tesla model S, and wants to purchase it a couple/few years old with low km, and risk it regarding fixy fixy/warranty, plus she knows a Tesla "guy" from a friend of a friend (I put NO stock in this "guy" being able to expedite or even fix in a non timely fashion, any potential future problems with such a Tesla car, which infuriates her when I bring this up in our discussions over the new car...which means she likely thinks I'm right...hah).

    I want to either lease a new 992 911 (good call whoever recommended that), or purchase - with a fair bit of nervousness - an AMG sedan or similar Audi car that's 2 or 3 years old with lower KM. LC500 was and is very, very good, we were tempted to keep it, but I/we still like to change things up and try out different vehicles.
    Last edited by Gman.45; 07-23-2020 at 11:17 PM.

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    Keep the LC500, those things are awesome.

    The Germans will never be as reliable. I've found mine to be fine, but all the brands have had catastrophic problems with some models. And they are more expensive to maintain on a regular basis as well.

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    If you do a PPI and budget based on the common problem(s), you’ll be fine.

    I have no comment on lease vs. finance but that has been covered extensively in previous posts in this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    Keep the LC500, those things are awesome.

    The Germans will never be as reliable. I've found mine to be fine, but all the brands have had catastrophic problems with some models. And they are more expensive to maintain on a regular basis as well.
    True. An oil change on an Audi is 200$ at the dealership; 50$ alone for 5W40 at AutoValue (to which I still don’t know how some places can do oil + filter for dirt cheap)


    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    The benefit of masks is not known at this time. But we do know it is some non-trivial amount more than zero.

    We also know that the cost of mask use is, essentially, zero.

    So the cost:benefit of mask use is approaching infinity. I'll take that every time. And every time I see someone without a mask, I think they are stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinL View Post
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    ...

    '02 E46 M3 (sold): 200K+ km. 2 Alternators, rear springs, oil pressure valve, cooling system refresh, ignition coils, 1st gear synchro, fuel pump. I miss this car and it is still going strong somewhere up here in Edmonton.
    While none of those issues are catastrophic, it's pretty unreasonable to have two alternator failures in that mileage and unacceptable in less than 20 years. Quite odd for the fuel pump in that frame, as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePenIsMightier View Post
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    While none of those issues are catastrophic, it's pretty unreasonable to have two alternator failures in that mileage and unacceptable in less than 20 years. Quite odd for the fuel pump in that frame, as well.
    Yeah I agree the S54 engine vibrates alternators to bits and that is certainly a flaw. It's a super common failure on these engines. That car gave me more trouble than any of the other ones, but it actually had soul. They are easy things to fix if you can turn a wrench, so I never really minded too much and gave me an excuse to upgrade stuff. But I was younger and had more time then too! I also lost a catalytic converter early on in my ownership too, forgot about that one.

    For the OP, Have a look at the 991 or 992 series. They have a great reputation for being well built and great drivers. The base models are also plenty of car and depreciation is pretty good if that is a concern. Like you mentioned the warranty doesn't always cover what you need it to. When my S4 lost its first wheel bearing it was still under warranty, but the dealer wouldn't cover it as it's considered a wear item even at 70,000km.

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    An alternator getting vibrated to bits. That's a new one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    The benefit of masks is not known at this time. But we do know it is some non-trivial amount more than zero.

    We also know that the cost of mask use is, essentially, zero.

    So the cost:benefit of mask use is approaching infinity. I'll take that every time. And every time I see someone without a mask, I think they are stupid.

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    My 2008 BMW 535XI wagon was the worst for me. Numerous issues, including a design flaw in the roof drainage system which caused water to enter the rear hatch compartment in the rain. Was a chronic issue with almost all of the wagons. BMW ignored it. They put the numerous computers for the car in the rear spare wheel storage area, which had no drainage. If you weren't careful your rear wheel wells would fill with water and short your computers for a $12K touch.

    My 2012 GL350 was okay, but replacing air suspension in MBs is not fun. Probably $10k in warranty work overall for that car over the years.

    My 2017 AMG GTS had to have its carbon driveshaft replaced. That was a $12k part lol. They de-laminated at speed. Thanks warranty!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    My 2008 BMW 535XI wagon was the worst for me. Numerous issues, including a design flaw in the roof drainage system which caused water to enter the rear hatch compartment in the rain. Was a chronic issue with almost all of the wagons. BMW ignored it. They put the numerous computers for the car in the rear spare wheel storage area, which had no drainage. If you weren't careful your rear wheel wells would fill with water and short your computers for a $12K touch.
    Oh good to know! I was looking at those for a daily winter


    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    The benefit of masks is not known at this time. But we do know it is some non-trivial amount more than zero.

    We also know that the cost of mask use is, essentially, zero.

    So the cost:benefit of mask use is approaching infinity. I'll take that every time. And every time I see someone without a mask, I think they are stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flipstah View Post
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    An alternator getting vibrated to bits. That's a new one.
    It might not be vibration that kills them, could be the high RPM, or heat. I tried replacing just the voltage regulator, but no dice. Something failed deeper in the alternator both times.

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    LoL at wheel bearings being acceptable to wear out at 70,000km!
    I used to push those FAGs out of old Volkswagens but it was more like 210,000km. Those were the days. Stacking my nuts on a FAG and really getting some leverage to push them through those tight holes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePenIsMightier View Post
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    LoL at wheel bearings being acceptable to wear out at 70,000km!
    I used to push those FAGs out of old Volkswagens but it was more like 210,000km. Those were the days. Stacking my nuts on a FAG and really getting some leverage to push them through those tight holes.
    If you pounded them out enough the hole wouldn't be so tight.
    They would just slide in, sometimes a little sloppy.. but at this point you take what you can get.

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