Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Mercedes-benz vs. BMW vs. Audi

Looking to buy a german luxury sedan around $30k. 2014-2016 models not more than 30,000 miles. Which brand should I go for and why?

Do you have a lot of money for repairs? For years I drove German cars because I just didn’t know any better. Sure they drive and look nice. People will comment on them and think you have money.

For years I’ve defended how good they are. The reality is they were over priced and a lot of great cars can be had for less money. When I look back on what I spent on car taxes, insurance and the the maintenance and repairs, wow I was crazy. My last two German cars were a 2014 BMW 328 and a 2015 VW gti. Thank god for the warranty. They are both gone.

One day I discovered a Honda. Over the years we bought a 2008 accord, 2009 pilot and now I’m driving a new pilot. The 2009 pilot went 130k and was perfect. Compared to those overpriced German cars I can’t believe how cheap to operate these cars.

I finally woke up and realized that it’s just a car. I love having more money in my savings, more money for vacations etc. Good luck in your search and make sure you get the extended warranty that will cost around 3 to 4k.


My personal opinion, and observations from way back when I did work in a shop. All 3 are over rated, over priced, and maintinence intensive. Everything from repairs to just normal maintenance items are overpriced. But those are just my views.


Ignore the German cars and go for a Lexus or Acura if you want reliable luxury. Also avoid Cadillac and Lincoln.

1 Like

As much as I like German cars, agree with the other posters… They are over-rated and expensive to own.

$30K will buy you a very nice Lexus (Toyota) or Acura (Honda) or Infinity (Nissan).

1 Like

The consensus of the majority of the veterans of this forum can be summed-up as:
German cars can be satisfying to drive while they are under warranty, but unless you want to drive yourself to the poorhouse, you should sell them shortly after the warranty expires.



Wait a minute, you just might want a direct answer to your question!

2014 Mercedes Benz E350 sedan. It is recommended by Consumer Reports above all other midsize luxury sedans, and in all recent years, not just 2014. CR says they are highly reliable. The 2014 did have electronics problems, and that should have been taken care of as part of the warranty if encountered. I recommend 2014 since the largest part of the depreciation will be gone already. Higher mileage examples might be on the dealers lot for a bit over $30,000. Low mileage versions will be closer to $35,000. These will almost all be off lease cars. Pay attention to the CarFax review of these cars. Since they were likely maintained by a dealer, there should be a lot of data available. I’ve been looking at them in my neighborhood, and found one at the closest dealer that I would consider, and about 8 that I would not, all based on CarFax data about where they came from and the maintenance/accident history.

My second choice would be the Audi A6. It is slightly less reliable than the E350, but has a well regarded turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Both use premium fuel, if that makes a difference, and I would recommend using only premium in these cars. While there will be few repairs, maintenance will be expensive, as I’m sure you know.

Let us know what you decide!

1 Like

I am a single person so a compact will be fine for me. What’s your thoughts about a 2015 C-class? I liked its interior, so luxurious.

I would bet most of the posters here aren’t fans of German luxury cars, lol. They depreciate like a boulder going off a cliff and are expensive to maintain. But if that’s what you like then go for it, sorry I can’t help, have no experience with newer ones.

Why? Just to say you have a German luxury sedan? To make the neighbors envious? To impress the girls?

Cost of ownership of German luxury sedans is high. You can do just as well by focusing on what features you want and shopping a wider variety of brands. Your neighbors really won’t care as much as you think they will. Nor will the girls.

I’m not one of those anti-European auto types so I have no bias against them.

However, they are high end cars and with any high end cars the maintenance and repair costs will be higher.

Much like comparing a 1300 Sq. Ft. home to an 8000 Sq. Ft. home. The latter comes with more headaches and more cost.

You didn’t say what’s important to you. Are you looking for technologically-advanced features, interior refinement, fun-to-drive quotient and performance, reliability (which will be low with any of these choices), or cost of ownership (which will be high with any of these choices)?

2015 was the first year for the redesigned C class. I would avoid it. In addition, MB doesn’t build in quality nearly as much as they do for their bread and butter E class. For a compact luxury sedan, I would look at Audi A4/S4 or BMW 328/335. The model depends on whether a 4cylinder is adequate or you want a 6 cylinder. Audi is more reliable than BMW, but they are both more reliable than the C class Benz. The Lexus IS is reliable, but will feel like a brick compared to the Audi and BMW. Drive them all and see which you like best. You can’t beat the IS reliability in the segment.

looks and a comfy interior are two major criteria. Technology like adaptive cruise control, blind spot alert, rearview camera and navigation comes next. I would also look for a AWD/4WD/RWD. However, if the maintenance cost is too high I would definitely give it a second thought. The car will be primarily for commuting to work (, 5 miles) and for joyrides. I liked the exterior of Accura TLX but do not know much about it. I am gonna spend 30K on it so I should consider all the parameters and optimize my choice.

Keep in mind that German electronics are significantly less reliable than Japanese ones. And they cost an arm and a leg to repair or replace.

On my street there are a number of residents with very deep pockets. They tend to drive German cars or Range Rovers, and lease them. At the end of the lease they get another one. Most of these folk write the lease costs off as a business expense, but there net cost per mile is still very high.

If you fit in that category, go ahead and buy a German luxury car. You only live once.

Any of those brands should provide you w/a great car. In that price range I prefer the BMW’s more than the other two. But the difference is more aesthetic than performance. BMW – imo – make some great looking cars in that price range. MB and Audi, not quite as much.

I’m sure you are already aware that limiting yourself to these brands means you are willing to take on somewhat, and possibly considerable, higher maintenance & repair costs in the future. So plan for that. Suggest to review what Consumer’s Reports says about whichever make/model you decide upon, in particular their projected reliability rating, before signing any papers or writing any checks.

My son has a 2016 Audi AWD station wagon (or CUV, or whatever they call it). He likes driving the car, but I’m not sure he’s impressed with the quality. We were riding through the San Fernando Valley (he was driving) and the clip that holds the visor suddenly broke off and popped off into my lap. He seemed embarrassed and not even surprised. He seems to have had a number of small hardware issues like that. It’s his second Audi, and he had some small hardware issues on the last one too. The dealer always fixes the hardware without a problem, but what happens when the warranty runs out?

Well, I can only when I was still at the Benz dealership, I know that a very large percentage of the vehicles were leased

And when the lease ended, they’d be turned in, and I have no idea what the customer’s next vehicle was.

Naturally, those lease returns were “expected” to all be CPOs. But we’ve been through all that before :smirk_cat:

I prefer BMW’s, that is if I am going to bother owning a high maintenance car.

I am doing online research on my next commuter car. I want a small, fun, stick shift car. I was looking at the VW Golf and getting to know what is involved in its regular maintenance. Just a basic oil change is more complicated and time consuming than the comparison Japanese/Korean or US built similar car. The ride has to be really superior to make it worth it and even then I think after a few oil changes the novelty would wear off.

What is considered high maintenance on German cars? An oil change and a new filter or two once a year? When I worked on Sprinter van they required much less maintenance than the Ram Vans they replaced.