Is Bentley reliable? An honest assessment of the prestigious brand

We take a look at whether one of the most prestigious brands in the world is really reliable...

Bentley is synonymous with luxury, prestige and quality car making. If you drive a Bentley, then you are sure to get a few, or several, envious looks as you drive through the city streets.

And, of course, with quality car making, luxury and prestige, you’re going to get reliability too, right, guys?

Guys?

Not so much. The thing is, Bentley aren’t exactly known for their longevity. In fact, the are possibly the most unreliable cars in Britain. A strong statement, but one that we can back up with evidence.

So in this article we are going to look at just how unreliable Bentley are, why, and how this fares against their other luxury competitors.

Is Bentley reliable?

No, not at all. That’s the quick answer. The long answer is no, Bentley are really not reliable and there are so many reports to back this up.

A report by the Telegraph, WhatCar? And WarrantyDirect found that Bentley was the least reliable car brand out of 37 manufacturers. The survey looked at used cars, rather than new, and found that the average mileage for a Bentley was just 38,113 miles. This isn’t much compared to Honda in first place, who average over 50,000 miles. The average cost of a repair on a Bentley is £678.50 and the highest cost for a repair on a Bentley reached £8,406.65 which is very expensive, even for a Bentley.

White Bentley Continental convertible on a road with grass in the background

The Week also reported that the survey found that 93% of Bentley’s suffered a problem each year, making them officially the least reliable car maker in Britain.

If we look at the reviews on carbuyer for the Bentley Continental Coupe, they are mixed. There are quite a few low star ratings when it comes to reliability, and there is an emphasis on the cost of the repairs as well. But then there are others that say that the car is great and have awarded it five stars for reliability.

Overall though, it would appear that Bentley are not that reliable.

How reliable are surveys?

Now, how reliable are these surveys? Because some might say that more people give a response if they are unhappy about something than if they were happy. Which is true in a sense, you are much more likely to know about a bad experience than a good one.

But in the case of looking at a cars reliability, consumer reports and surveys are pretty accurate. Take what we have just discovered about Bentley, the study was conducted by WarrantyDirect who have access to 50,000 extended warranty cases. This gives them a huge pool of data to draw their conclusions from. This result then matches up with other reports of unreliability from other consumer surveys and customer feedback, so we know that the findings are pretty reliable.

Bentley Bentayga Estate parked near a yacht bay

That said, there is an issue with consumer surveys in this case. And that’s that not many people actually own Bentley’s. They aren’t a common car, you aren’t going to see one parked at your local Lidl and so those doing the surveys won’t have as much data as if they were looking into the reliability of Honda, or Ford, for example. In fact, in 2013, only 10,120 Bentleys were sold. That may seem like a lot, but compared to Volkswagen, who sold 9.93 million cars in 2015, it’s a tiny amount. So, the pool of people eager to talk about their Bentley is much smaller than those who may be eager to talk about their Volkswagen.

However, overall, consumer reports and surveys are a reliable way of judging how dependable a car is.

Why is Bentley unreliable?

We’ve established that Bentley is hugely unreliable. But, why?

Well, luxury cars appear to break down more often, and the repairs can be very expensive. Also, the parts can be difficult and time consuming to source. This all adds up to unreliability. Bentley’s do cost a fortune to fix due to the price of the parts they are made with. But it seems like these parts are prone to breaking down.

Bentley vs. Porsche vs. Aston Martin; Which is more reliable?

In this section of our article, we look at three main competitors and take a look at which is more reliable of the three. In this case, we put Bentley against other luxury heavy weights, Porsche and Aston Martin.

Aston Martin fare pretty well on carbuyer when it comes to owner reviews. There are heaps of four and five stars for dependability, with only a handful of three or lower. Whatcar is a similar story for the DB9, though there are some reports of unreliability, including it cutting out and problems with the technology in the car. That said, there are only a handful of reports like this, so overall Aston Martin don’t do too badly.

Porsche, on the other hand, fare just as badly as Bentley. Only coming in one above Bentley in the worst car brands for reliability, Porsche have an average mileage of £41,828 which does fare better than Bentley’s £38,113. But, they cost more to repair. The average cost to repair a Porsche is £784.71 and the most expensive repair came to £10,348. Which is very expensive.

Porsche Cayenne red driving on the road

When looking at what owners on AutoExpress have said, there is a handful of reports of serious unreliability, with some giving it 1/5 but others being slightly more generous with higher marks. So it really does depend.

It appears that Aston Martin has come out on top in this case. That said, there isn’t much on Aston Martin’s reliability, probably because they are just as rare as Bentley’s. But, with the information we have got, it seems that Porsche and Bentley are just as unreliable as each other, and Aston Martin is slightly more reliable.

In conclusion, Bentleys are very unreliable. But, if you are going to get a Bentley, you are going to get a Bentley. One can assume that those who drive a car such as a Bentley don’t buy it because of its reliability. They buy it for its build quality, its marque and the status that comes with it. The average Bentley owner owns eight cars. Eight. Something tells me they aren’t too worried about whether their car will make it past 30,000 miles or not. But, in the event that you are concerned about reliability, maybe look at an Aston Martin. Or even better, look at a Honda or Toyota.

You know what the reports say, but what do we think? Read our Bentley reviews here!
Rachel Richardson
Latest posts by Rachel Richardson (see all)

66 Comments

  • Michael Myrie| 4th December 2020 at 6:12 pm Reply

    Hi I’ve Owned my 2015 Bentley (£65,000+) and have driven approx 3,000miles and so far needed a replacement engine under warranty (circa £30,000) and now a Steering rack with multiple CAN faults (£2,600)…. Beautiful car to own and drive, but if it goes wrong, it can go REALLY wrong!

    I would advise of purchasing with a warranty if at all possible.

  • Ross| 20th October 2020 at 12:13 am Reply

    i have heard horror stories of engines needing to be pulled out to replace simple parts such a vacuum and brake lines can any one shed light on this narrative, also i am told the 2004 – 2011 cars are more problematic. If i was t buy an early model GT what are the things i should be watching for. Electrical is one, so is tyres, accumulators i assume??, issues with the front end?? appreciate some guidance for a green horn like myself. Also what is insurance like on these cars? I have been wanting to own a Bentley Continental GT for quite a while but have just been to afraid to venture into the water so to speak. (Australian Based)

    • Rachel Richardson| 3rd November 2020 at 9:29 am Reply

      Hi Ross,
      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, we do not have access to the information required to determine insurance on a Bentley in Australia as we are a UK business and costs referred to in our articles are worked out with information from UK companies. We would recommend that you visit an Australian forum for Bentley owners, such as https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Motor-Vehicle-Company/Bentley-Drivers-Club-Victoria-1708998086041241/ this one on Facebook. There are multiple clubs on the platform based in different regions of Australia.

  • Mark Harrison| 20th September 2020 at 5:10 am Reply

    I own a 2005 Bentley continental GT. I like the feel of the acceleration and the leather interior but I don’t like the gas mileage. These cars are not gas efficient. If Bentley had in mind gas mileage then they would have advanced the cylinders according to tork demand. Example would be from light to stop light at 35 to 45, all that is necessary is 4 to 6 cylinders but extreme acceleration due to evasive driving demands 12 cylinders.

    This car has a battery trickle down leak due to computer standby mode. This means that if the car sits for a long time the batteries will completely discharge. (This can be remedied with a small 12 v cigarette lighter plug solar cell.)

    This car also has too many sensors. I understand that to maintain performance of the engine then monitoring of the O2 and co2 fuel output vectors is necessary but to monitor the seat temperature is excessive. What you are paying for is a highly complex and over engineered piece of equipment for those that are bored with basic cars.

    You have to ask yourself, do you mind paying $300 for an air shock that you might have to put in yourself because a certified mechanic costs more than a doctor, just to feel that smooth ride over bumps? Do you mind going to the gas station and putting in premium gas when everyone else has the option of putting in regular gas? Do you mind paying almost $150 in synthetic oil when everyone else has the option of putting in regular oil? Finally do you mind paying for $400 to $500 dollar tires every 10000 miles? If you are okay with this then get a Bentley but don’t complain about the insurance rates or the worry of someone scratching, denting or even stealing your lovely car.

    If you are like me, your heart sings when you press the gas pedal but sinks when you realize you can’t drive it just anywhere like to the grocery store or even to the mall.

    If you want a Bentley then buy a Bentley but use it as a secondary car on the weekends or occasional drive into town and drive another car daily

  • Owner| 22nd August 2020 at 1:05 pm Reply

    I own a 2005 Bentley GT. When I first got it there was a problem with electrical system caused by someone who doesn’t know anything about these cars and that it took Bentley in Boston half a day to repair. Once repaired I drove it without any issues although I do keep its two batteries on trickle chargers in the garage. What is missing in these reviews its the car’s technical prowess. It goes like a rocket, tracks well with 4 wheel drive and accelerates for passing. I bought this car form its performance and its visual appeal is low key unlike later models.

  • MQ| 22nd August 2020 at 5:06 am Reply

    Thank Rachel,
    Electrical problems are difficult to solve even for the dealers. The car will spend more time at the dealer than the garage when these problems arise. I
    My understanding the car has 2 computers and each could indicate different problems or one will indicate a problem while the second one may not. I don’t know the frequency of these problems, but it’s trouble when they happen. I will stick with Lexus. Thanks again

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