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Thread: Mercedes-Benz reliability is getting insane!

  1. #1

    Mercedes-Benz reliability is getting insane!

    I just picked on the December "Ratings and Reviews" issue of Consumer Reports (mental note: why don't I have a subscription?) at the grocery store. Sadly, no review of the Q50 yet- that's the big one I'm waiting for and the only American one that I'm willing to even read at this point. However, I browsed the famous dot charts for reliability as well as the accompanying reliability verdicts. Wow! Mercedes continues to improve very quickly.

    The C-class and E-class now have predicted reliability verdicts (consolidated score of the past three model years) of "better than average" (the half-red, half-white dot). The charts for the C and E are like 90% red, with very little black. This is CR code for Japanese-like reliability. The outgoing S-class has improved to "average" in each model year- impressive considering it was in its final design stages when Zetsche took over and changed the corporate culture to one of quality and dynamics. The M and GL still suffer due to the issues with their awful (in reliability only) previous generations, but I expect them to pull up to average or better soon. The GLK is "average" and remains the only MB CUV in their survey to stay out of the black. When they get their stuff together with the SUVs (I can sum up their woes with one word: Airmatic), then Japan REALLY has something to worry about.

    This is not the issue that ranks all brands by predicted reliabiltiy in a nice chart, with their model-spread in percentage above or below average given. That comes next spring during auto show season.

    What makes me really happy about this is: A) I (we!) don't have to worry about the influx of MB parts to future Infinitis negatively affecting reliability. and B) I can, with a clean conscience, cross-shop Infinitis with Benzes in the future to put pressure on dealers. MB seems content to build a better Infiniti these days, which is fine by me. BMW has gone soft and is still unreliable, Audi has always been that way, and while I gotta admire Lexus, the styling is still not quite for me and their interiors are being cost-cut (though not as bad as early-00s Nissan/Infiniti).

    I'm a guy who would rather take 30k and buy a well-made, used luxury car than a new, loaded Altima/Camcord.
    Last edited by JayG35; 10-10-2013 at 04:14 AM.

  2. #2
    You need to take everything with a grain of salt. From there info, these Merc's are performing better. This I believe. But there is much more that goes into it, including volume. And these reports do not factor cost per repair. Overall positive but venturing into German performance should not be taken lightly, less your wallet dictates it may. The used car world is becoming more and more dangerous day by day. Too may parts and potential problems. In the used world less might be more.

  3. #3
    Less is most certainly more- your words are wise, my friend. This applies to both used and new purchases. I should clarify that I'd only buy a used luxury car if I was certain that I could afford to buy or lease a new one, but wanted to roll the dice of potentially coming out on top with the depreciation advantage. Since most cars lose the vast majority of their value over the first three years, used- especially if CPO with a 100,000 mile warranty- looks better to me than new any day of the week.

    I agree wholeheartedly that maintenance and part costs will be higher with any luxury brand, regardless of reliability. Thus, I would have no business shopping Japanese luxury in the 2020s if I could not easily swallow the potential costs of a German car. Japanese cars have become a lot more complex in the past decade. Their luxury models are no longer the nicer Maximas or Accord+ types of cars that they were. They are now trying to compete on equal ground with the German brands, and that adds complexity and potential running costs. I have heard advice- undocumented, so take with a grain of salt- that the previous-generation Lexus LS430's air suspension is actually more expensive to repair than that of the S-class from the same year! This was from a user on an MB forum who owns both cars. So even assuming that Lexus, Acura and Infiniti maintian their old reliability advantage- and they are not, as the Germans improve- they will no longer be as cheap as they once were.

    Even a 12-year-old G35 is significantly more sophisticated than the I35 that it more or less replaced. These are major concerns that one needs to think about before making a future luxury purchase.
    Last edited by JayG35; 10-10-2013 at 07:03 PM.

  4. #4
    I also should clarify that the main purpose of my cross-shopping would be not only to get dealers to come down in price, but also to eventually get one car from each brand. I will not abandon Infiniti and the two top cars on my future wishlist are a Q50S and an E-class wagon. I am a LONG way from this but the great thing is that today's MBs will be pushing a decade old when I arrive. The records in CR and TD will be rich with owner feedback by that point, and we'll get to see if the Japan-esque reliability holds up.

    Given MB's storied past of producing reliable, ultra-durable vehicles, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt. It was only for a 10-year period from about 1996 to 2006 that things got really messy. On the whole, they have consistently been the one and only reliable German make. The thing that they are doing now that they never have before is to make excellent all-around performance cars. AMGs and standard MBs with sport packages are no longer strictly straight-line machines. This makes me think of Infiniti when I read their latest reviews.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JayG35 View Post
    I just picked on the December "Ratings and Reviews" issue of Consumer Reports (mental note: why don't I have a subscription?) at the grocery store. Sadly, no review of the Q50 yet- that's the big one I'm waiting for and the only American one that I'm willing to even read at this point. However, I browsed the famous dot charts for reliability as well as the accompanying reliability verdicts. Wow! Mercedes continues to improve very quickly.

    The C-class and E-class now have predicted reliability verdicts (consolidated score of the past three model years) of "better than average" (the half-red, half-white dot). The charts for the C and E are like 90% red, with very little black. This is CR code for Japanese-like reliability. The outgoing S-class has improved to "average" in each model year- impressive considering it was in its final design stages when Zetsche took over and changed the corporate culture to one of quality and dynamics. The M and GL still suffer due to the issues with their awful (in reliability only) previous generations, but I expect them to pull up to average or better soon. The GLK is "average" and remains the only MB CUV in their survey to stay out of the black. When they get their stuff together with the SUVs (I can sum up their woes with one word: Airmatic), then Japan REALLY has something to worry about.

    This is not the issue that ranks all brands by predicted reliabiltiy in a nice chart, with their model-spread in percentage above or below average given. That comes next spring during auto show season.

    What makes me really happy about this is: A) I (we!) don't have to worry about the influx of MB parts to future Infinitis negatively affecting reliability. and B) I can, with a clean conscience, cross-shop Infinitis with Benzes in the future to put pressure on dealers. MB seems content to build a better Infiniti these days, which is fine by me. BMW has gone soft and is still unreliable, Audi has always been that way, and while I gotta admire Lexus, the styling is still not quite for me and their interiors are being cost-cut (though not as bad as early-00s Nissan/Infiniti).

    I'm a guy who would rather take 30k and buy a well-made, used luxury car than a new, loaded Altima/Camcord.

    Few years back (09) I posted story about my GL and some of you said I will be visiting my dealer very frequently. Then after my lease I said many times it had no problems at all. Now my X6 has 11 more month left planning to go back to GL (or Esclade). Over all I pick GL over X6, few things I like about is X6 fast a lots of attention.


    ANYONE, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME


    Previous
    1989 isuzu I-Mark
    1992 Honda Accord Coupe EX
    1995 Maxima GLE Perl
    2008 G35Journey(Plat Graph, Graph and RoseWood) Prem and NAV SOLD now
    2009 GL450 Black/Blasck with P1,P2, Appre, Enter, and Hitch
    2012 BMW X6 5.0
    Current
    2005 ARMADA SE
    1992 Chevy 1500
    2013 Nissan Altima S
    2014 Toyota Tundra TSS

  6. #6
    That X6 sounds good and beastly, 4U.

    I hope that I wasn't one of the ones that knocked the GL back then. If I was, I stand corrected. Though it continues to be their statistically worst model for reliability in CR and some other surveys, it's improving along with everything else they make.

    I fell in love with the GL when I saw one up close- owned by someone renting at our shore house. The quality and detailing were superb. Then I searched for reviews and what really stood out was Motorweek's slalom test. The GL made minced meat out of some large luxury sedans. It was quicker and rolled less than a Lexus LS460. I wondered how this was possible, and came to accept that dynamically and in suspension engineering, the large Mercedes-Benz vehicles were the best in the world.

    I hope that you can get into the new GL and post some pics of it here. I have been smitten with it since it came out:





    That is just by far the best tush in the world of large SUVs. It looks like a hybrid of the 5-series and E-class wagons back there- so tidy and nicely detailed!

    Then you can throw an interior that embarrasses others in its class:



    In fully-loaded Designo trim it's even better than the Lexus LX and Infiniti QX80:



    Yes, I do like this thing very much!
    Last edited by JayG35; 10-11-2013 at 07:08 PM.

  7. #7
    I'd still rather have the E63 AMG Wagon - just need to find $110K to pay for it !!
    2016 Challenger Hellcat, Max Steel/Blk - A8 trans, Navi, C Fiber Stripes
    2018 Durango R/T, Vice White/Blk, Tow, Blacktop pkg, Perf Tires
    2017 Honda Accord Touring V6, Basque Red Pearl/Ivory

    GONE:
    2003.5 G35s Caribbean Blue - Prem, Wood, Spoiler
    2009 G37 Vert Athens Blue/Bone - Prem, Sport, Nav
    2016 Mustang GT Prem, Guard/Ebony - Roush SC +++ ** Lmn Law 1200 mi
    2009 M45s Obsidian/Graphite - Sport, Tech, Adv Tech, Wood, Spoiler
    2007 Titan LE Crew Deep Water Blue
    2002 Q45s Desert Platinum

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeD View Post
    I'd still rather have the E63 AMG Wagon - just need to find $110K to pay for it !!
    Me too! If I wanted something bigger and higher, the GL would be my first choice. However, I prefer cars, especially low-to-the-ground sporty sedans and wagons.

    The E63 wagon has become my dream car, especially after they gave it AWD. It's like having a GT-R wagon with a better-sounding exhaust.



    Nissan/Infiniti just doesn't make anything in that class, and it's the niche that most sets my heart ablaze: a high-powered sport wagon. While the GT-R would probably be second on the wish list if I had that much money, I would go for that wagon 100 out of 100 times for one dream machine.

    In reality, all I'll probably ever be able to afford is a CPO E350 wagon or (fingers crossed) an E250 Bluetec wagon should they decide to import it in the future. I'd also like to see a wagon form of that badass diesel hybrid that they've tested in Europe at ~50 mpg combined.

  9. #9
    My X6 lease will due in 2014 Sep 23rd, then I am looking at three vehicles, GL, S-class, Cayenne not sure witch one yet. My 3 kids are growing fast...
    ANYONE, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME


    Previous
    1989 isuzu I-Mark
    1992 Honda Accord Coupe EX
    1995 Maxima GLE Perl
    2008 G35Journey(Plat Graph, Graph and RoseWood) Prem and NAV SOLD now
    2009 GL450 Black/Blasck with P1,P2, Appre, Enter, and Hitch
    2012 BMW X6 5.0
    Current
    2005 ARMADA SE
    1992 Chevy 1500
    2013 Nissan Altima S
    2014 Toyota Tundra TSS

  10. #10
    this why MB worth the money

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c90_1381721438
    ANYONE, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME


    Previous
    1989 isuzu I-Mark
    1992 Honda Accord Coupe EX
    1995 Maxima GLE Perl
    2008 G35Journey(Plat Graph, Graph and RoseWood) Prem and NAV SOLD now
    2009 GL450 Black/Blasck with P1,P2, Appre, Enter, and Hitch
    2012 BMW X6 5.0
    Current
    2005 ARMADA SE
    1992 Chevy 1500
    2013 Nissan Altima S
    2014 Toyota Tundra TSS

  11. #11
    Needs better brakes?

  12. #12
    Hmmm, even racing brakes won't stop a car if you aren't sober enough to press the pedal in time
    2016 Challenger Hellcat, Max Steel/Blk - A8 trans, Navi, C Fiber Stripes
    2018 Durango R/T, Vice White/Blk, Tow, Blacktop pkg, Perf Tires
    2017 Honda Accord Touring V6, Basque Red Pearl/Ivory

    GONE:
    2003.5 G35s Caribbean Blue - Prem, Wood, Spoiler
    2009 G37 Vert Athens Blue/Bone - Prem, Sport, Nav
    2016 Mustang GT Prem, Guard/Ebony - Roush SC +++ ** Lmn Law 1200 mi
    2009 M45s Obsidian/Graphite - Sport, Tech, Adv Tech, Wood, Spoiler
    2007 Titan LE Crew Deep Water Blue
    2002 Q45s Desert Platinum

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 4U4ME View Post
    Holy sheet! Her E-class is hit by not one, but TWO trains and she survives with little more than a broken arm!?!?

    I knew that they were the most crash-worthy brand overall, but my goodness. Yes, this type of knowledge does have a play in any future decisions of mine (or my family) to go MB.

    At the same time, Infinitis have been posting stellar crash test scores in recent tests. Any Infiniti to come out since the V36 has performed very similarly to its MB competitor. In fact, the V36 G outperformed the W204 C-class in the new small-overlap test. Though that's a fluke, as illustrated by the 2013 M-class acing the same test, it shows that Infiniti is underrated by the general public in terms of its crash-worthiness.

  14. #14
    Digging deaper into the charts and reliability ratings of this issue, I have discovered another juicy tidbit:

    Two Lexus models are ranked below-average in reliability for the 2012 model year. This is just the single year, not the predicted reliability verdict (which would be worse). They are....

    Lexus LS: Worse than average

    Lexus GX: Much worse than average

    It's kind of shocking to see that for a used car verdict in ANY model year for this brand. Worse still is that both cars are on a 3-year trend of declining reliability:

    ---10 11 12

    LS: | |
    ------------
    GX:| |

    Granted, these are the only two Lexuses displaying this decline. They are also the only two that have a single used-car-verdict falling below "better than average," and, in fact, these are the only two model-year black dots across their entire range. So that's encouraging. But look at this:

    Take out the notoriously bad prior-gen GL-class, and Mercedes only has 4 used-car-verdict dots with black in them over their entire range (the GL adds another 5 to the total- every year they have data for, sadly). So, again, when they get data for the new-gen GL, I will be very interested to see the results. If they lift this model out of its malaise with the use of more durable, more traditionally Mercedes-like components, then they really will be knocking on Lexus's door.

    On to Infiniti: not a single used car verdict below average. While Lexus certainly has a higher percentage of above-average (the red dots) model year verdicts, Infiniti at least does not have a single below-average one.

    And to think, I engaged in a giant debate with some Nissan hater on youtube about how Nissan/Infiniti reliability is not poor, despite the aggregate being ranked below Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus. Depending on the model, your Infiniti may be more reliable than your neighbor's Lexus.
    Last edited by JayG35; 10-16-2013 at 09:40 AM.

  15. #15
    Looking online I see the same. However the LS has no black marks and they state an expectation of 24% above average. So I believe the overall verdict black mark to be a typo. Same with the GX. They state 10% above average. So much for all this technology and operator error. However these days you need to look at the reason for any decline. Engine, transmission, etc. are serious. Costly. But if my touch screen is a bit out of whack and can wait indefinitely for a fix this is not a big deal (to me). These types of issues are pretty common faults working through tech. Of course if your priority is to replace with your smart phone with a 50K car it might matter more.

  16. #16
    Well the LS still ranks for Predicted Reliability, which is the stat identified by that 24% above average number you saw. Recall that this is a consolidation of the past three model years' verdicts, while the black dots I'm seeing in the mag are single verdicts for the 2012 year. The GX is ranked a for P.R.- though it's statistically 10% above average, CR has a trick in its Predicted Reliability methodology whereby a steep decline, resulting in a solid black dot in the most recent model year, will sink it an extra dot. Think handing in a term paper one class late and having a single letter-grade deduction as the penalty.

    It's not engine and transmission or any major stuff, but the stuff keeping the LS and GS down for that model year (2012) is mechanical. It's brakes and body integrity for the LS, and it's body integrity and paint/trim for the GX. Those are all white circles (aka "average") for those models. I don't think it's a typo, because you usually don't see multiple white dots on 1-year-old cars rated "average" or higher in the used car verdict. Another example is the Mercedes M-class, one of their last remaining cars with a below-average P.R., which has two white dots under the 2012 model year; that earns it a half-black for the '12 used car verdict- just like the LS.

    I don't know if they give that used car score for each model year where you're looking online Brian, but that's where the black marks are in the mag. It's like the overall average for that year, factoring in every trouble spot with their corresponding weight (okay, I know you already know this being a rabid CR reader like me lol).
    Last edited by JayG35; 10-16-2013 at 07:08 PM.

  17. #17
    The 2012 LS is rated much better than average in 13 categories, better than average in 2, and average in 2. So how anyone could surmise from the individual ratings the LS is a "Worse than average" vehicle is beyond my comprehension. Same with the GX. Much better = 11, better = 4, and average = 2. And they rate this as a Much worse than average vehicle? If this is not a typo than I'm going to take CR with the same grain of salt as JDPower which is absolute nonsense.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Indemand View Post
    The 2012 LS is rated much better than average in 13 categories, better than average in 2, and average in 2. So how anyone could surmise from the individual ratings the LS is a "Worse than average" vehicle is beyond my comprehension. Same with the GX. Much better = 11, better = 4, and average = 2. And they rate this as a Much worse than average vehicle? If this is not a typo than I'm going to take CR with the same grain of salt as JDPower which is absolute nonsense.
    This is how their methodology works- you can compare it to other vehicles like the M-class that I mentioned. 1-year-old cars with white dots don't do well in this evaluation. They expect better-than-average performances across the board. If 90% of the 2012 models they surveyed have red/half-red dots sweeping the line, then anything with a white or lower really is worse than average. This seems like a harsher "black dot" threshold than in prior years because it is, because the industry has improved, and because new cars rarely have problems in a given trouble spot with more than 1-3 percent of the cars surveyed.

    When the Infiniti QX was rated worse-than-average, and had that long string of black-dotted year verdicts that Lexus fans loved to make fun of, it was usually because the newer models had a couple white or white-black dots. They treat every brand the same. So, now we get to make fun of the LS and GX for its "drop" in quality.
    Last edited by JayG35; 10-18-2013 at 07:08 AM.

  19. #19
    From CR "To check on the reliability history of a particular year's model, start with the Used Car Verdict. This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all trouble spots." So they are comparing to all cars, not just luxury cars. And even if this were the case name one model better! So TYPE-O (typo) = .

  20. #20
    It ain't a typo. And I'm not sure it's Type-O-negative either.

    BTW, I can now sign in and see 2013 used car verdicts. The Mercedes GL, as I predicted, has improved drastically for the first year of its redesign under the new "Dr. Z" regime. It's up to average. This the first non-black dot for a verdict that the GL has ever seen. It's only a matter of time before it turns half-red, then...

    Those of us who don't dislike Lexus too much can breathe a sigh of relief. The LS and GX have shed their half-black miscues for '12. They are both now half-red in that year. The white dots in trouble spots have turned half-red, as they should have been all along. So they're looking good. The only model of theirs that I wouldn't recommend to anyone for long-term ownership is the IS, with its strange history of engine problems.

    Other MB reliability updates:
    ----------------------------

    The data is spotty for the S-class (not enough subscribers owning one or owners responding), but they now have data for 2010 and it's a half-red "better than average." That sound you hear is the Lexus LS shivering. Could the W222 be even better as it ages?

    The ML for 2013 is up to average, boosting predicted reliability to the same. The 2012 model still is half-black- first-year jitters, no? Happily, as is the case with the 2013 GL, the suspension spot is a full-red dot. No more premature Airmatic problems could make for some very happy long-term Benz owners.

    No data for the CLS, SL, and CL.

    SLK only has data for 06, which is a full-red dot verdict.

    GLK is the single most old-school Japanese-looking reliability chart for the brand. There are only three dots with any black in them on the entire graph. Beyond that, only 7 white ones. Everything else is some degree of red. Every verdict is half-red except for '10, which is white. The overall predicted reliability is half-red.

    The E-class has achieved parity with the Infiniti M and Lexus GS. The only two verdicts that are not average or above are the '10 ones for the V6 AWD and V8. Everything else across for all years across the engine range is white and/or red (mostly half-red).

    The C-class looks very close to the IS and Infinit G charts. Every year for both the V6 and newer 4-cylinder models is average or above, with the vast majority being above. It even tops the E by enjoying two full-red verdicts.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think it's safe to say that Mercedes is back!
    Last edited by JayG35; 10-29-2013 at 01:33 AM.

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