I’m going to tell you about 7 cars (plus that all-important honorable mention) that are the least reliable luxury cars out there that you shouldn’t buy, no matter how tempting it may seem. And, oh, let me tell you, some of them look really, really tempting. But, unless you have your own car wizard on hand, you do not want these cars, especially with cars on the list known as the “Break My Wallet.” Stay tuned until the end to see which land yacht sinks more than it swims!
Mercedes-Benz CLA – Cheap to Buy, Not to Fix
Starting with the entry-level Mercedes, which, let’s face it, by calling it “entry-level,” you already know it’s going to go south. If you want a car that loves to live at the shop, the Mercedes CLA is your golden ticket! The entry-level Mercedes-Benz is not only cheap to buy but, apparently, it’s really cheaply made as well.
It does look great and ooze comfort! Plus, it’s an engineering masterpiece with one of the lowest drag coefficients in production. Suck it, Prius. But, the baby Benz has some serious issues and is one of the least reliable Mercedes cars ever produced. Problems include little minor issues like the engine mounts breaking, which actually isn’t a minor issue at all. That’s horrifying.
Then, there’s the bigger problem: when something goes wrong, such as the motor mounts breaking, Mercedes does not care. You bought their cheap car, you get to suffer the consequences to the point that AutoExpert and Consumer Reports have called the German company “Apathy Motors.” I love Mercedes as much as anyone, especially the SLS Black, but the CLA is a lemon that can’t even be made into lemonade.
Speaking of rotting lemons, stay away from Jaguar, specifically the XJ.
Jaguar XJ (2010+) – Problematic
A while ago, Jaguar came out with a premium compact sedan and called it the X-Type. And, this time, we’re talking about the X351, or XJ, series. When you buy a Jag, you do it for nobility and prestige! I mean, just look at how beautiful that thing is! Honestly, I love the look of the British beauties. I know I’m not alone.
But, loving the looks doesn’t count for much when 43% of owners reported major issues and even more people report that the infotainment and electronics like to be problematic. That’s how they described me in high school, by the way.
The good news is that the XJ was still driveable 60% of the time a major issue was reported. The previous generation was terrible yet, somehow, a car that had a ton of problems was miraculously Jaguar’s top-selling model all 9 years of its production! Now that there’s a new one and it continues to sell like hotcakes but, I’m telling you, there’s no reason one should end up in your driveway!
And I don’t think many of you are in danger of buying the next car. But, just in case your mom has been eyeing a shiny BMW, steer her clear of the X6.
BMW X6 – Bimmer? More Like Bummer
Yeah, BMW. You know, “Break My Wallet.” From the most forbidden of all fruits, the E60 M5 with its screaming V10, to the maintenance horror show that is the 7 Series, the “Ultimate Driving Machines” are more like the “Ultimate Unreliable Machines.” Yeah, I stole that joke from myself. You’re welcome.
Last time I gave top honors to that 7 Series because the oil seals like to dry up and let the oil out, which, in case you were wondering, is bad. But, time has passed, and there’s a new king of the unreliable Bimmer. While oil escaping is pretty bad, it’s nothing compared to major transmission issues, which happened to one in five X6s. Roll a dice. Didn’t get a six? Your transmission explodes.
Don’t worry, though, BMW was the king of luxury and performance before the electric revolution. Tesla will save us from that kind of stuff, right? No. The Model Y sucks.
Tesla Model Y – No, Not Lord Elon!
What’s great is that I don’t even have to justify this. We know how you feel about electrics, we even made a t-shirt just for you guys.
Anyway, as for the “greatest car ever” that can beat everything in a drag race, the Tesla Model S, it was actually ranked as the second least reliable car produced in the last decade, right above its Tesla sibling, the Model Y. Ouch. People like to go on and on about how reliable electric motors are compared to gas engines, and they’re usually right. There are no issues with the Tesla AC motors.
The air suspension, though, likes to fail. The big touch screen? It’s super touchy. The paint and fitment are trash. And, if you got one with the super cool glass roof, beware: they can fly off while you’re driving. “Honey, you always wanted a convertible, right? Surprise!”
So, Tesla set out to take on Ferrari and ended up being Maserati instead. Speaking of which, you know we have to mention them.
Maserati Ghibli – Toothpaste Test Failure
It’s called the Ghibli. And, unlike the fun animated movies by a similar-sounding studio, this Maserati will leave you crying for all the wrong reasons. The electronics love to fail, it’s had a ton of recalls for things like suspension failures, and panel gaps are famous for being able to fit an entire tube of toothpaste.
That’s not the biggest thing you have to worry about, though. The thing is that you can get a Maserati for like nothing at all. They depreciate more than any other car out there and that’s why we talk about them so much. One of the reasons is this thing called “deferred maintenance.” The Ghibli needs tons of work and that costs a lot of money, so the average owner just doesn’t do any of it. They just drive the car around until it starts to have an issue, then they dump it.
That’s when you come along and see this sweet deal on a good-looking car and get suckered into buying it because it’s cheap. Now, all that maintenance that should have been done snowballs out of control and you end up with either a repair bill that’s several times the cost of the car or a really good-looking lawn ornament.
But, surprisingly, those aren’t the worst performance luxury sedans. That honor goes to a company that’s close to my heart, Audi, and their infamous A6.
Audi A6 – A Serious Ouchie
So, what’s wrong with an Audi A6? What isn’t wrong with it? The battery shorts, which starts fires, for one. The fuel system likes to fail and the infotainment likes to fail. In fact, if it uses electricity, it will probably fail. At one point, in 2020, A6 owners were surveyed and more than half of all owners reported that their car had spent more than one week in the shop. One-quarter of the people said their Audi had needed so much work that they would never buy another. I kind of identify with that.
There’s another part to the equation that makes them even more infuriating. Servicing an Audi is tough. They need special tools to do anything and many shops won’t even touch them. You can get lucky and pick one up that was built extra well, but I can count on one hand how many Audis I’ve seen make it a whole year without service, and that’s really saying something.
But, hey, at least Audis drive really nicely and they sound great. In fact, they sound like an honorable mention, baby!
Audi S6 – Honorable Mention
The Audi S6 is the sporty performance-oriented version of the aforementioned A6, which means that you get to spend a whole lot more, and still get all the terrible electrical and chassis problems! What a deal! Plus, the new C8 generation uses a twin-turbo V6 that is, well, super unreliable. Par for the course with Audi sedans.
And, anytime you hear the words “service” and “turbo” in the same sentence, you know things are going to get very expensive. Oh, and while you’re paying to have those turbos serviced, make sure to check for carbon buildup and make sure the thermostat didn’t fail. Just a tip from me to you.
We relegated the S6 to an honorable mention just because it’s a fun car to drive and, honestly, anytime you get a performance car, you expect some issues.
If you get a rugged SUV, though, it should be reliable. After all, “utility” is in the name. Land Rover never got that memo, though.
Range Rovers – Any of Them
You all knew I had to include the Range Rover Sport because my best buddy had one. And, well, it wasn’t good. But, let’s be honest for a second, it’s not just the Range Rover Sport, it’s any Range Rover. From constant overheating issues to leaking airbags (you know, those aren’t important or anything), Range Rover just can’t build a car.
I honestly don’t understand why people buy them. They’re more complicated, less reliable Land Rovers. And you can ask Squidd about how reliable those are to begin with. Between the Evoke, the Sport, and the Velar, over 36% of all Range Rovers have had major mechanical issues and spent more than a week in the workshop per year. Yikes. If you learn nothing else from this article, don’t buy a Range Rover.