How Does Audi and BMW Compare in Reliability

How Do Audi and BMW Compare For Reliability


Well if the truth be known according to the best reliability service conducted yearly in the United Kingdom by JD Power neither brand does that well. Both are actually trounced every year by Japanese brands. So there you have it in a nutshell…. However this is a comparison of Audi Vs BMW.

Reliability has always been a major concern for both new and used car buyers. In this Audi vs BMW reliability comparison we show you various dependability factors to think about in these two automotive giants to help you make an informed purchase decision

Audi has made a name for itself as a premium brand in the American market. It offers a huge range of models starting from the small A1 hatchback, all the way up to the large Q7 four wheel drive.

A sleek sports version, the SQ7 caught the eye of sporty vehicle lovers, not forgetting the diesel hybrid Q7 e-Tron. Others include the A3 and A4.

BMW seems to outshine the Audi. The name screams, luxury and reliability as well as prestige. Included in this list are the 6 series, 5 series, X3, X4 and the hugely popular X1.

Audi and BMW are two of the German Big 3 which have dominated the premium car scene for tens of years and continue to do so today.

Which of these two brands is more reliable than the other? We shall compare the two in terms of customer surveys, reliability index and common repair problems.

How do Audi and BMW compare in Reliability according to Customer Surveys?

Audi Vs BMW Reliability: Brand Comparison Table

Source Brand
  Audi BMW
Consumer  Reports brand reliability rankings 2019/2020 14 17
J.D Power 2019 vehicle dependability study 8

124 problems/100


122 problems/100

What Car? 2019 brand reliability survey 20 (92.96%) 21 (92.1%)


Consumer Reports is a not for profit member organization in America which works for and with consumers. Its main aim is to establish truth and ensure transparency and fairness in the marketplace.

It carries out annual surveys on various brands of vehicles to inform buyers on trends and provide useful information required by buyers when making purchasing decisions.

In is automotive brand ranking for reliability 2019, Audi and BMW took positions 14 and 17 respectively.

J.D Power is another product analysis company which has earned a fair share of respect among consumers over the years. It is an American-based consumer intelligence company which conducts surveys based on product quality, customer satisfaction, buyer behavior patterns among others.

J.D Power is reputed for surveys in the automotive, financial, telecommunications, health, insurance and travel sectors. It is best known for customer satisfaction research on quality of new vehicles and long-term dependability.

This company’s 2019 vehicle dependability study placed Audi at position 7 and BMW at position 8.  This was based on a survey which found about 124 problems in every 100 vehicles studied. The BMW was listed as having about 122 problems for every 100 vehicles surveyed.

J.D power also lists the top 3 models per segment. These two brands featured in the small premium SUV category in which the Audi Q3 took first place and the BMW X1 took second place.

What Car? Is a UK monthly automobile magazine and website. It carries out surveys intended to provide car buyers with information on quality, durability and general reliability.

This group places the Audi at position 20 and the BMW at position 21 in the UK vehicle reliability study. The former scores 92.9% while the latter scored 92.1%.

These scores however, only apply to vehicles which are brand new and up to 5 years old. This data may not apply to vehicles older than this.

Reliability Index

Reliability index refers to a dependability rating used to determine which cars are most likely to give their owners trouble along the way. The lower the score, the more reliable a car is. The higher the number, the higher the chances of car trouble.

This index is calculated based on several factors. These include:

  • Frequency of car failure
  • How much you spend to have it repaired
  • The average amount of time the car is off the road for these repairs.

Let’s take a look at how top models of these brands are rated in terms of reliability. Both brands have a wide range of models under their belt. It would take us ages to compare reliability indexes for all of them. Here we analyze reliability indexes of top models from each brand. These are models we have selected.


Audi A3

Audi A3: This is a small subcompact executive car popular for families. Some key features are a well-equipped cabin and an impressive range of powerful engine options to choose from.

Audi A4: The A4’s layout features a front-engine design with transaxle transmission at the rear. Most models are front wheel drive vehicles though some are available as ‘Quattro’ or all-wheel drives.

Audi Q7: The Q7 ranks well on the list if midsize SUVs. It features a lavish interior, optional V6 engines, athletic handling and supportive, comfortable seats.


BMW 3 series: This series, more specifically the 328i is a common car among the American elite. It is listed as the most prevalent car in America’s affluent communities. It is the car of choice thanks to a delicate balance of luxury and affordability.

BMW 7 series: This is BMW’s flagship luxury sedan. It has maintained an elite status every year over the last decade, ably competing with other exclusive brands like Mercedes and Jaguar.

BMW X1: The X1 strikes the balance giving users more than satisfactory performance, and high end luxury at an affordable price. These factors considered, the X1 ranks highly among other small SUVs on the market.

How Do Audi And BMW Compare In Reliability According To Reliability Index?

Audi Vs BMW Reliability: Reliability Index Table

Brand Model Reliability Index Av. Off road hours
Audi A3 139 2.88
A4 173 3.47
Q7 446 3.63
BMW X1 92 4.14
3 series 109 2.74
7 series 319 3.25


From this data we can see that BMWs generally have a better reliability rating compared to Audis. The X1 has the best rating at 92 and the 7 series has the worst of the 3 models, standing at 319. The most reliable Audi of the 3 compared is the A3, at 139 and the worst is the Q7 at 446.

When it comes to time off the road for repairs, there is no clear winner. The BMW X1 appears to be the one spending most time at the repair shop, at 4.14 hours. The same brand’s 3 series spends the least time at the shop taking an average of 2.74 hours.

Common Car Problems

Every car buyer wants to have a car which will present with minimal issues and cost as little as possible to repair.  However, no car is perfect.

Just as it is important to be familiar with specific features of your car, it is important to know some common problems encountered by owners of the brand.

This way you know what to expect when the car gets a little older. You won’t be totally surprised by some of these hitches.

These are some common problems in Audis and BMWs.

How Do Audi and BMW Compare In Reliability Based On Common Repair Issues

 Audi Vs BMW Reliability: Common Repair Issues Table:

Audi BMW
1. Electrical component failure Door lock faults
2. Coil or spark plug failure Electronic issues
3. Catalytic converter failure Tire problems


Audi Repair Issues

Electrical component failures

This is a common problem experienced by Audi owners. The most common ones include failure of the console or digital dashboard display, failing tail lamps an erratic lights.

The solution is to replace the components with OE (original equipment). Remember Audi provides warranty cover so these replacements shouldn’t cost you much.

Coil or spark plug failure

This is considered Audi’s single most common mechanical problem. It sometimes causes misfires which are, as expected, a huge inconvenience to owners.

The solution is to install top quality OE spark plugs and retuning of the engine to factory settings. Fortunately this repair is fairly inexpensive.

Catalytic converter failure

This issue is caused primarily by buildup of carbon which solidifies and clogs the exhaust. It prevents easy flow of fumes. The immediate solution is to replace the converter but this is not a long-term solution. Take your car to a professional mechanic who can find the underlying cause of the problem.

BMW Repair Issues

BMW Repair Issues

Door lock faults

This is a common BMW problem which compromises vehicle safety. When you lock the doors remotely, one or more doors doesn’t lock while all the others lock as they should. It may be a security risk because you may lock the doors and leave assuming the car is secure when it is not.

Electronic issues

These include problems with windshield wipers, CCCiDrive and window regulators. It is common for BMW electric windows to break down, making them stay open. This not only compromises your or your passenger’s comfort, it is also a security concern. Considering that BMWs are among the most stolen vehicles in America, this is an issue you want to have fixed urgently.

Tire problems

Corroded or cracked alloy wheels can cause slow pressure leaks or punctures. Both leaks and punctures pose risks because they could cause accidents.


Both the Audi and BMW are German cars which are generally known for quality and durability. When the two are placed side by side, it is difficult to pick a clear winner.

Ratings based on various quality aspects place the two brands one after the other. Sometimes Audi is rated just above BMW and in other aspects the BMW is rated just slightly higher than the Audi.

That said, we can conclude that the BWW is just barely more reliable than its close competitor. This is thanks to lower reliability ratings, lower number of off-road hours recorded for most BMW models as well as common repair problems. Many of BMW’s common problems are considered minor, not drastically affecting engine performance.


What is the average lifespan for Audi?

150,000 to 200,000 miles. Of course this is subject to following regular maintenance schedules.

Why are BMWs so expensive to maintain?

First because their parts are generally more expensive than other vehicle brands. Secondly because they work differently in so many ways, it takes a real BMW professional technician to be sure it is in good hands. As expected these technicians are more expensive.