There are many factors that go into annual costs to repair and maintain a car. Is the car German, for instance? Only kidding. (Though not really, as you’ll see from this list that German cars tend to be on the pricier side in terms of repairs and maintenance. In fact 16 of the 25 cars on this list are German made.)
High-performance sports cars with powerful, complicated engines often need regular repairs and will thus cost a lot more than a simple sedan or minivan with a smaller engine to maintain.
There are other factors, of course, that go into deciding if a car will need to be repaired frequently. How often is it driven? How often is it modified? What kind of gas and oil do you use?
The variables are endless, but there are projected estimates that can be given for each car brand, and we’ve even gone deeper to take the most expensive models to maintain.
Motor1.com, RepairPal, and YourMechanic.com have given us some of the best estimates we could find for repair costs. One thing that surprised us was that the most recent model of a car is not necessarily the most expensive to maintain. For instance, a 2013 BMW M5 might be more expensive to maintain than a 2016 version, despite the MSRP for the newer car being higher.
Here are 25 of the most expensive cars to maintain that are totally worth the cost.
The BMW X6 is a midsize crossover that was first released in 2009 as a “Sports Activity Coupe” (SAC), combining the high-ground clearance, all-weather ability, all-wheel-drive, and large wheels/tires of an SUV with the stance and styling of a coupe. The second generation was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2014, and is still being produced today.
The MSRP of an X6 starts at $59,000, with a 3.0-liter V6 engine, and goes up to $73,000 for the xDrive50i model, which comes with a 4.4-liter V8 engine.
The X6 has a poor value rating overall, and its gas mileage is rated at only 12 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. Further, estimated maintenance for this sleek SUV is $5,281 over five years, or $1,056.20 per year.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS class was first unveiled in 2004 for the 2005 class as a midsize luxury fastback sedan, and then the second generation was released in 2011. There are many engine options for the car, which will fluctuate price, including a 3.0-liter V6, a 3.5-liter V6, a 4.6-liter twin turbo V8, a 5.5-liter twin turbo V8, a 2.1-liter I4 twin turbo diesel, and a 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel.
The original MSRP for the car ranged from $72,000 to $95,900, but expect to add at least 5-10% of that in maintenance costs. A 2013 CLS-Class sedan is estimated to cost $5,289 over five years, or $1,057.80 per year. It has a below average value rating with gas mileage at 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
BMWs are pretty notorious for their high maintenance and repair costs, and the Z4 is no exception. This sleek-looking car comes available in roadster and coupe versions, and was in production from 2002 to 2016.
The first generation Z4 was produced as either a fixed-roof coupe or a soft-top convertible. The second generation car combined the two into one model, using a retractable hardtop roof platform. The Z4 is powered by various inline-4 and straight-6 petrol engines, all of them naturally aspirated. A turbocharged engine was available for the second generation, and by 2011 all of the engines were turbocharged.
With a great looking car often comes great responsibility, in this case in the form of frequent repairs and maintenance. The cost for the car is between $48,650 and $64,200 new, and maintenance fees add another $5,294 per five years estimated, or $1,058.80 per year.
You might be noticing a trend in the first few entries of this list. Namely, that German cars have expensive upkeep—especially BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The CL-Class is Mercedes’ line of full-size luxury tourers, produced between 1992 and 2014.
The name stands for “Coupe Leicht,” or “Coupe Luxusklasse” (Coupe Light and Coupe Luxury, respectively). The cars were built on the same platform as the full-size luxury saloon S-Class cars.
CL-Class cars exude class, for lack of a better word, and were created to compete with some pretty high-end opponents: the Aston Martin DBS, the Bentley Continental GT, the BMW M6, and the Ferrari 612.
If you can afford one of these at $115,300 new, then you can probably afford the $5,297 maintenance every five years, which works out to $1,059.40 per year.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars have been around since 1993, and are still in production today in their fourth generation. These compact executive cars are produced by Daimler AG, built to be Mercedes’ smallest model (until the A-Class came about in 1997.)
Because of their size and relatively small 1.8-liter and 2.6-liter engines, a 2018 C300 can be bought starting at $40,250, but expect to pay 10% more every four years or so, because the average maintenance costs for one of these cars is $1,094 per year.
It’s a good looking sedan, but unfortunately its expenses out-price other similarly sized cars from BMW and Audi's lines. It’s also costlier than its sibling, the E300 (estimated $971/year). According to Motor1.com, the C300 scored just a 68 (out of 100) on the RepairPal Index.
The Dodge Viper is an iconic American sports car, and it may not come as a surprise that it demands rigorous and high-costing maintenance fees. The car has been around in multiple forms since 1992, all categorized by different “Phases.”
Phase SR, for instance, ran between 1992 and 2002. Phase ZB was produced between 2003 and 2010, and Phase VX (mentioned here), between 2013 and 2017.
The fifth generation model, referred to simply as the SRT Viper, was the first to come with stability control. (In order “to be accessible to more people,” according to SRT CEO Ralph Gilles.)
It had an 8.4-liter V10 engine which rated 640 horsepower, a top speed of 208 mph, and a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. These Vipers cost more than most others, starting at $99,390, and $23,000 more for the GTS trim. Maintenance costs were estimated at $5,583 over five years, or $1,116.60 per year.
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a grand touring car that has been Mercedes’ flagship model for many, many years. SL-Class cars have been around since 1954, and were the nameplates of many of Mercedes’ most iconic body styles. They’re still produced today, as sleek sixth generation models almost entirely from aluminum (for the first time).
The SL500 comes with a 4.7-liter twin turbo V8 producing 449 horsepower, and is paired with a 9G-tronic PLUS transmission. The Mercedes-AMG SL63 (577 hp) and SL65 (621 hp) come with 6.0-liter turbocharged V12s.
Original MSRP of an SL500 is $103,000, while the SL63 Roadster starts at $140,440 in 2012. Maintenance costs for these cars averages at about $5,899 for five years, or $1,179.80 per year. These cars also have poor value ratings, offering fuel economy of only 12 mpg city and 19 mpg highway.
The Audi A4 is a compact executive car that was first introduced by German automaker Audi (a subsidiary of Volkswagen) in 1994. It’s currently on its sixth generation model, and has been since 2016.
The B9 Audi A4 offers a multitude of engine options (10, to be exact), with the most powerful being the 3.0-liter TDI V6 Quattro, which tops out at 155 mph, reaches 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds, and gets a whopping 45 mpg.
Audi's cars are generally very expensive to maintain, averaging more than almost any other car company at $12,400 over the course of 10 years. The Audi A4 is actually on the lesser side of that, at $11,800 every 10 years, but it’s still a heap of money to be spending on repairs.
The Ford Mustang was first introduced to the world at the World Fair in New York in 1964. It quickly became a hit and icon of American automobiles, with over 400,000 units being sold in the first year of production alone. Part of its hype in that first year was thanks to the car’s appearance in that year’s wildly popular James Bond film Goldfinger.
The Mustang is responsible for creating the “pony car” class of American muscle cars, which refers to sporty, affordable coupes with long hoods and short rear decks. The Mustang’s competition includes the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, and Dodge Challenger, but none have beaten the popularity of the Mustang.
Unfortunately, Ford cars are notoriously expensive to upkeep, averaging $9,100 every 10 years in maintenance costs, and the Mustang is even more expensive to maintain: $11,900 every ten years, or $1,190 per year.
Porsche is another classic car company that is inundated with iconic body styles and cars that have entranced the public at large for years. The Cayenne is not necessarily one of the more enthralling models. It’s a mid-size luxury crossover SUV, rather than Porsche’s typical sports car. It’s been produced since 2002, and was the first V8-engined vehicle built by Porsche since 1995.
The second generation Cayenne was introduced in 2010, and then in 2014 with a minor facelift externally and a new plug-in E-Hybrid version. The third generation was introduced in 2018 for the 2019 year. The Cayenne is not the most expensive Porsche to maintain, but it IS the most expensive SUV around in terms of maintenance, averaging a repair cost of $1,200 per year, and a RepairPal Index Score of just 72.
You might not expect to see the Nissan Maxima on this list, as it is a reasonably affordable sedan, but here it is. This full-sized car made its debut in 1982 as the Datsun Maxima, before the Datsun brand was phased out in favor of Nissan in 1985.
The Maxima has been through a whopping eight generations - every four or five years since their release - and has been known as an innovative luxury sedan since the ‘90s.
The eighth generation Maxima was introduced in 2015, first airing in an ad during Super Bowl XLIX in a commercial titled “With Dad.” The MSRP for a 2018 Maxima is just $33,270, but expect expenses to reach upwards of $12,000 over ten years, which is much more expensive than the $7,600 average in maintenance costs for other Nissan models.
The BMW M5 is a sports sedan variant of the 5-Series executive car line built by BMW. The first 1986 model M5s were hand-built on the 525i chassis, with a modified M1 engine that made it the fastest production sedan in existence at the time. It is now well known as a speedy, technical front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car.
The 2013 M5 is part of the fifth (of six) generation series, which ran from 2011 to 2017. For some reason maintenance on these cars exceeded costs, on average, of the sixth generation.
The F10 M5, as it’s called, runs on a 4.4-liter twin turbo V8, starts at $91,795, and costs an estimated $6,042 every five years in upkeep, which equates to $1,208.40 per year. These cars have poor value ratings, with fuel economies of just 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
The Acura TL was a midsize luxury car produced by Honda’s luxury vehicle marque, Acura, from 1995 until 2014. It was badged as the Honda Inspire in Japan from 1996 to 2000, and as the Honda Sabre until 2004.
The TL was Acura’s best-selling car until 2007, when the MDX overtook it in sales. It was also once the second best-selling luxury sedan in the United States behind the BMW 3 Series.
Once sales fell by 50% by the recession and negative publicity surrounding its body styling, it was forced to close up production in 2014. Starting between $37,000 and $40,5000, the TL was affordable for a luxury car. Its maintenance costs ran up to $12,000 over 10 years, making it almost $3,000 more expensive to maintain than other Acuras ($9,800 per 10 years).
Here’s one category that the BMW M6 would not like to upstage the BMW M5 on, but it does anyway. This car is of course the high-performance version of the 6 Series coupe/convertible line of BMW cars. It had a weird manufacturing history, first introduced from 1983 to 1989 as the E24, then from 2005 to 2010 as the E63, and from 2012 to 2018 as the F06/F12/F13 generation.
These cars are built for performance, and as such have high maintenance costs. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The 2013 model comes equipped with a 4.4-liter twin turbo V8, giving it 560 hp and a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds. Maintenance costs for the M6 average $6,139 every five years, or $1,227.80 per year. Its poor value rating only gives it 22 mph highway and 15 mph city.
The Ram 3500 is a heavy-duty, full-sized pickup truck manufactured by FCA US LLC (Chrysler), first as a line of Dodge trucks, and then rebranded as Ram Trucks in 2011. Ram trucks are popular and loved, having won Motor Trends “Truck of the Year” award five times. Ram trucks have been around since 1981, through four generations (with a fifth to be released in 2019.)
The fourth generation Ram was first produced in 2009. The 2013 3500 models offered a High Output package for its diesel engine, and larger 18-inch standard wheels. It’s also considered the most expensive heavy-duty truck to maintain on the market, according to Motor1.com. Though it can haul 35,000 pounds, it also averages at $1,244 per year in maintenance costs, with a RepairPal Index Score of less than average, at 73.
The Mazda6 is a mid-size family car that’s been produced since 2002. It replaced the long-running Capella, and was quicker to sell one million units than any other Mazda model. It was first marketed as “stylish, insightful, and spirited,” a slogan maintained by the Mazda2 in 2002 and the RX-8 in 2003, and the Mazda3 in 2004.
Between 2008 and 2016, over 680,000 Mazdas (including Mazda6 models) were recalled in China due to faulty airbags. Earlier recalls of 230,000 units between 2003 and 2008 for a similar issue have plagued Mazda’s reliability.
Even though these don’t effect maintenance averages, per se, the Mazda6 is still quite expensive to maintain. This top-selling mid-size sedan costs an average of $12,700 per 10 years to maintain, a whopping $5,200 more than the average Mazda to repair ($7,500).
The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most iconic cars in American history. It’s a sports car that’s been produced through seven generations, with the first model, a convertible, shown at the GM Motorama in 1953 as a concept car. It was named by Myron Scott, after the swift, maneuverable warship called the corvette.
The Corvette has since grown into its very own category of car, it seems. From its iconic body stylings of the ‘50s and ‘60s, to the newer styling, these cars never grow old. However, they do grow old in the maintenance sense, and can cost a pretty penny to keep up to speed. A 2012 Corvette will run you about $50,000 for a basic model, to $100,000 for a 648-horsepower Z1 track car, and maintenance will add another $6,456 every five years, or $1,291.20 per year.
The Audi S4 is the high-performance version of the Audi A4, mentioned earlier. As such, it should come as no surprise that it costs more to maintain, too. The original S4 was built between 1991 and 1994 as a performance version of the Audi 100 saloon. Since 1997 the subsequent S4s have been based on the A4 platform—only faster and more powerful.
The S4 is in direct competition with the BMW M3, thanks to its 4.2-liter V8 engine, the first of its kind to be placed inside a compact executive car. A 2016 fifth generation Audi S4 will run you between $37,000 and $41,000, but maintenance costs are above the already exorbitant $12,800 average over 10 years of other Audis. The S4 will cost approximately $14,100 over 10 years to maintain, or $1,410 per year.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is one of the definitive mid-size luxury vehicles, and has been since its introduction in 1994. It’s known for its class, it’s good fuel economy, and its expert handling. The fifth-generation E350 includes the W213 sedan and the S213 station wagon models. This generation was introduced in 2016 at the North American International Auto Show.
The iconic 2017 E-Class was the most technologically advanced car Mercedes had ever produced at the time, packed full of safety innovations, adaptive LED Matrix Lighting, the plug-in hybrid 350e version, and it was even used for autonomous driving tests. These cars start at $52,150, but maintenance is very high for them, averaging $14,700 per 10 years, as opposed to the $12,900 over 10 years average of other Mercedes cars.
The BMW 328i is part of the 3 Series from BMW, an entry-level luxury series manufactured since 1975. It’s the successor to the 02 Series, and has been in production through six different generations. First generation 3 Series cars were only available as 2-door sedans, but they’ve since branched out to 4-door sedans, 2-door convertibles, 2-door coupes, 5-door station wagons, 5-door hatchbacks, and 3-door hatchbacks.
The M version of the 3 Series, the M3, debuted in 1986. But here we’re focusing on the 328i, one of the most expensive BMWs to maintain out there. This sporty, high-performance car only costs $43,295 for a base 2012 model, but will cost roughly $11,800 to maintain through the first 75,000 miles, according to YourMechanic.com, which averages to about $1,560 per year.
The Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG is part of the S-Class or Sonderklass (“Special Class”) of cars from Mercedes. It is the luxury flagship model of the company, designed to be top-of-the-line. These cars have been in use since 1972, and are still going strong today, albeit in a different body style.
The 2013 sixth generation model was designed with a more streamlined appearance than the outgoing model, and introduced some new features like an enlarged front grille, and LED lights inside and out (a first in the automotive industry at the time.)
A 2013 SL63 AMG starts at $155,695, $9,000 more than the base model (this one is the Performance Package). It has a pretty good RepairPal Index Score of 85, according to Motor1.com, but still costs about $1,843 per year to maintain.
The Chrysler 300 is a rear-wheel drive, full-sized luxury car manufactured by Chrysler (FCA US currently) as a four-door sedan and a station wagon. It’s Chrysler’s premiere luxury car, taking over for the 200 in 2004.
It’s won numerous awards, including the 2005 Motor Trend Car of the Year, and Car and Driver’s Ten Best List for both 2005 and 2006.
There are multiple models in the second edition range available, including the 300C with 5.7-liter V8 Hemi, the 300 SRT-8 with 6.4-liter Hemi V8, and Touring and Limited editions. One thing they have in common, however, is their ridiculously pricey cost to maintain. A 2014 300 is one of the most expensive cars to maintain, at $7,791 over five years in maintenance and $2,137 in repairs, which averages to a total of $1,985 per year in upkeep costs.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is a full-size luxury SUV model produced since 2006. It’s a three-row, seven-passenger vehicle, making it the largest model and the flagship model for Mercedes-Benz’s SUV line. The car was facelifted in 2016 with improved efficiency, something called DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, improved air suspension (AIRMATIC), enhanced damping system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and state-of-the-art assistance systems.
A 2017 GLS63 AMG starts at $131,470, which may sound ridiculous for an SUV, but it also has a twin turbo V8 that boasts 577 horsepower. That being said, this car also costs $2,009 per year in average maintenance and repair costs, making it the most expensive large SUV to maintain on the market. That’s what you get when you have such a high performing SUV with such a strong engine.
The second Porsche to make this list comes in the form of a more classically styled car, one that is instantly recognizable as a Boxster/Cayman. This car is a mid-engined two-seater sports car that’s been around as the Boxster in 1996, and the Cayman in late 2005, as the fastback coupe version of the Boxster.
The fourth generation Cayman, which was introduced in 2016, uses a turbocharged flat-4 engine (two less cylinders than the Boxster before it), but it can still reach 0-60 mph in about 4.0 seconds, and tops out at 180 mph.
The Porsche 718 Cayman is quite possibly the most expensive production sports car to maintain on the market. RepairPal.com gives them an Index Score of 85, which is pretty good, but their projected average maintenance and repair costs for one of these bad boys is $2,370/year, which is $23,700 over 10 years!
The Nissan GT-R is a high performance two-door sports car produced by Nissan since 2007. It is the successor to the Skyline GT-R, though no longer a part of that line. The car is powered by a 3.8-liter twin turbo V8 engine, producing a top speed of 196 mph and a 0-60 mph as low as 2.7 seconds, making it one of the fastest accelerating production cars in the world.
In 2012, a GT-R broke its own Nurburgring lap record with a time of 7:18, making it the 9th fastest production car around the track. A 2013 model starts at $100,000, but will cost an estimated $12,081 over five years to maintain, or $2,416.20 every year, making it the most expensive car to maintain—that we could find, anyway. Surely some supercars put all of the cars on this list to shame, but these are only production vehicles.