BMW X5

BMW has moved up a total of five spots year-over-year in the Consumer Reports reliability survey for 2020. A reliability score of 52 (out of a scale from zero to 100 points) earned BMW a mid-pack ranking in a list which remains dominated by Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota and Lexus, which scored 74 and 71 points respectively, and Mazda, which set the benchmark at 83 points. The top five also included like the likes of Buick and Honda, while the only German automaker to rank in the top ten was Porsche, at ninth. BMW ranked twelfth, up from seventeenth last year.

BMW’s position puts it ahead of other bellwether German brands such as Audi, which ranked fourteenth with a reliability score of 46, and Mercedes-Benz, which came in twentieth place thanks to a score of 40. It was models like the 3 Series, 2 Series, X1, and X5 that helped elevate BMW’s position in the 2020 reliability survey ranking, and it makes sense given that the 3 Series has been a volume seller of the brand for 40 years, and the X5 for twenty. The 3 Series was also a likely contributor thanks to the success of the still relatively new G20 chassis, which has proven to be a worthy successor of the BMW sport sedan, whether you’re in search of performance or efficiency. The 3 Series earned a reliability score of 72, the X1 66, the 2 Series 53, and the X5 46. The 5 Series, another bread and butter model for BMW, also played a role, ranking just behind the X5 in terms of reliability, with a score of 45.

One rather surprising model, at least according to Consumer Reports, was the X3 with a reliability score of just 31. The X3, currently available in its third generation, is the most popular BMW model in North America, and easily outsells others like the 3 Series and X5. The current version rides atop the same modular and rear-drive-biased CLAR platform as the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X5, and X7 to name a few, and shares the award-winning and remarkably potent B58 engine with numerous other BMW models as well. Consume Reports doesn’t specifically cite the reasons for the X3 earning a rather low reliability score in their reliability survey, but if you’re a paying subscriber to the publication, the X3’s model page and reliability tab are likely to provide further context.

Audi, which ranked just below BMW in fourteenth with a reliability score of 46, was buoyed by reliable models that have been fine-tuned over the long run with incremental upgrades like the A4 and A5, which both earned an impressive reliability score in the 80s. The Q8 and E-Tron, on the other hand, ranked near the bottom, with reliability scores of eight and twelve, respectively. Mercedes-Benz, at twentieth, with a reliability score of 40, was able to move up one position over last year. Consumer Reports ranks the C-Class as the most reliable Mercedes model, which isn’t a surprise given it is a volume seller that competes directly with the likes of the 3 Series and A4, although there are now smaller entry-level models from every brand—like the 2 Series Gran Coupé—which slot below. The least reliable Mercedes listed in the survey is the GLE, with a dismal score of one.

Tesla, whose Model 3 has been taking a bite out of 3 Series sales, ranked second to last on the list, with a reliability score of just 29. The Model Y earned a score of five, the Model S 26, and the Model X 31. The Model 3, the all-electric brand’s volume seller, scored 53.—Alex Tock

[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]

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