How reliable is Porsche? An unbiased look at the luxury manufacturer

Porsche are synonymous with luxury, prestige and style.

One of the more commonly seen prestigious brands, Porsche, have found popularity with their Cayenne, a venture into the crossover market that has more than paid off.

And with luxury and prestige, you expect high quality and longevity. But, how reliable are Porsche?

In this article, we look at just how reliable Porsche are, and compare them to their rivals.

How reliable are Porsche?

It hasn’t been easy for Porsche when it comes to dependability. Contrary to popular belief, the more luxurious the car, unfortunately does not equate to more reliable. In fact, it has been proven quite the opposite.

In the past, Porsche have been at the bottom of the league tables. In 2015, it was named the second least reliable car brand in the UK, coming just above Bentley. The study was conducted by WhatCar? And WarrantyDirect and analysed 37 car brands and 50,000 live insurance policies. And the results showed that Porsche were not reliable at all.

dark grey porsche 718 boxster parked on gravel road in front of forested area

However, this is a stark contrast to how well Porsche have done this year. In fact, they came top in the 2017 J.D Power Dependability Study, an impressive feat for a brand that was named the second most unreliable a few years ago. They have reported that there were 110 problems per 100 vehicles when it came to Porsche, this was the same as Lexus, who have hit the top spot when it comes to reliability for many years. J.D Power have also given Porsche 5 out of 5 for overall dependability.

Red Porsche Cayenne driving round corner

That said J.D Power haven’t been quite as generous when it comes to individual scores. The 2015 Porsche Cayenne was only given 3 out of 5 for predicted reliability and the 2014 Porsche Panamera was only given 2 out of 5. This is backed up by ReliabilityIndex, who give the Cayenne a poor rating and an even poorer reliability index of 414 (the average is 118 and the lower the score the better).

If we look at what owners have said about the Cayenne then the results are widely positive. There have been a few problems, but overall it appears that owners are happy with their cars.

So there are some seriously mixed results as to whether Porsche are reliable or not.

Why are the results so varied?

Honestly, we don’t know.

The J.D Power Survey is the most recent survey, so that is the one that most people are going to pay attention to. That said, Porsche have been known for being unreliable in the long term for quite a while now, so whether that survey is enough to shrug off the accusations of unreliability remains to be seen.

One of the things that experts have noted in recent years is the rise of modern technology in cars. This technology is very new, and can cause problems later down the line. They can also be difficult and expensive to repair. Porsche offer a range of advanced technology and this could explain why they have been thought to be unreliable in the past. This is further backed up by Reliability Index who report that a majority of problems with the Cayenne and Cayman have been down to electrical faults.

That said, there is a chance that, as the years have gone on, this technology has improved and therefore has in turn improved their dependability.

Another reason why Porsche may have been considered unreliable is how much the owner has to pay in repair costs. Porsche cars are made with expensive, high quality materials that can be difficult to source and repair. This can bump up repair costs and have a negative impact on their dependability rating. The average repair costs for the Cayenne and Cayman are around the £700 mark which I think we can agree is very high.

However, Porsche have become even more popular as of late. And, it’s been reported that 2015 was Porsche’s record year for sales and the Macan has been called theWorld’s Most Profitable SUV’.  This is great news for Porsche, obviously, and it could also be good news for those that drive the cars. The more people that drive the car, the less likely a garage will have to spend a long time sourcing parts, because they will be more common. This could bring the price of the repair down and shorten the time it is off the road, increasing the reliability score. This could be another reason Porsche’s reliability has rocketed the past year.

So those are some reasons why Porsche’s reliability was so low, and has since increased rapidly.

What are the most common Porsche problems?

When you are looking at getting a car, be it brand new or second hand, you will want to know the problems you might face further down the line. Here are some of the common problems you may face as a Porsche owner;

  • Oil leaks
    • This is common in Porsche vehicles, and is mainly from the rear main seal. To fix this, you will have to remove the transmission
  • Low, or no, battery power
    • This is mainly due to the fact that Porsche’s tend to be driven less frequently than more practical cars (this is true for the sportier Porsche models) and therefore the battery can get seriously low or become completely flat. This tends to happen more often in Porsche models than other manufacturers. We recommend using a battery maintainer when you store your car for two weeks or more. That will stop the battery from going flat.
  • The clutch pedal
    • This is common in the 911 Turbo models. If your clutch is feeling particularly heavy, then this could be due to the pressure accumulator. This retains the hydraulic pressure needed to operate the clutch after the car has stopped. However, a heavy clutch could mean that it is re-releasing the pressure back into the system. It’s commonplace to simply replace this.

Those are some of the things that you might want to be looking out for. If you are looking at buying a second hand Porsche, then be sure to enquire about these problems before you buy.

Porsche vs. Jaguar vs. Mercedes-Benz

It’s at this point in the article that we compare Porsche to some of its main competitors, and see how they stack up when it comes to reliability.

Again, it’s a varied mix. In the report that put Porsche second, Mercedes came fifth with 131 problems per 100 vehicles. This is compared to an industry average of 156 problems per 100 vehicles.

However, ReliabilityIndex put Mercedes 31st, with a reliability index of 175. This is below average. Jaguar don’t score much better and come in at 29th with a reliability index of 171. That said, it is considerably better than Porsche, with their reliability index of 308.

The Telegraph have ranked Jaguar 16th for reliability, with 123 problems per 100 vehicles and put Mercedes in 20th place with 154 problems per 100 vehicles. In the Telegraph table, Porsche didn’t place.

red Jaguar XE on the road going round a corner with mountains in the background

Jaguar have also addressed their past unreliability by adding extended warranties to their new cars, in a bid to gain consumer confidence. So something tells us that they will be creeping up the reliability tables in years to come.

Red Mercedes A Class in a car park

And what about Mercedes? They were once very reliable, then they dropped considerably, and now they seem to be creeping back up the reliability charts also.

This change from all three brands could be due to the development of new technologies and the fact that they have now had the time to iron out any issues that may have plagued them a few years ago.

So which one is more reliable? If we’re going on the most recent study, then it is of course Porsche. However, both Jaguar and Mercedes make great cars that drive well and look good, so if you can overlook their lower reliability score, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t look at either of these brands as well.

What are the most reliable Porsche cars?

The following Porsche models are the most dependable; 

  • Porsche Cayenne
  • Porsche Macan
  • Porsche Cayman

What are the most unreliable Porsche cars?

These Porsche models are the least reliable; 

These had a poor rating on ReliabilityIndex.

In conclusion, Porsche were once very unreliable but this seems to no longer be the case. Instead, Porsche are starting to cement themselves as a very dependable brand. If you compare it to their competitors, Jaguar and Mercedes, you see the same pattern emerging. Ultimately, Porsche make great cars that are well built, look good and drive well. Their new reputation for being reliable is a huge bonus.

Now you know how reliable Porsche are, find out how well they scored in other  areas with our latest car reviews!

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

4 Comments

  • Harvey| 21st September 2019 at 4:50 am Reply

    Interesting stuff. I just bought a 19 year old Millennium Edition 911 Carrera 4 with 36,670 miles on the clock, and I paid $5000. more than my bank said it was worth. That’s perfectly fine with me, a consumer and lover of fine automobiles. This was a $90,000. vehicle in 2000. I paid 1/3rd of that price. The car drives as if it were 2 years old. Statistics are fine at certain times but I don’t think most folks’ reason for owning a vehicle at this level of quality mostly has nothing to do with statistics, It’s not what I’m using to make a buying decision. Enthusiasts drive from a place in the heart, and soul. Thank you for not falling asleep.

    • Rachel Richardson| 24th September 2019 at 10:22 am Reply

      Hi Harvey,
      Thank you for your comment regarding the reliability of the older model Porsche. We are sure that those looking for a vehicle in the US will find the information helpful. We hope you continue to enjoy your car.

  • steven evanson| 1st March 2019 at 4:12 pm Reply

    Hi- Good article but…. I’m a finance guy and manage money with math models and own premium cars. Since we’re comparing reliability data here over only a few years this data is what we call “noise” or random variations in data pools. What would be statistically meaningful would be a reliability ranking accompanied by the standard deviation. However, I doubt the reliability data includes enough years to calculate a standard deviation and thus that makes the data statistically meaningless. I’d appreciate your comments on this, Steven

    • Rachel Richardson| 6th March 2019 at 9:01 am Reply

      Hi Steven,
      Thank you for your comment. It’s interesting to hear from people who work with statistics. The data that we have used in this article is now a little out of date, however, it was gathered from a large number of different resources all of whom had very similar results. We are going to be looking closely at articles like this in the coming months and posting updates with more up-to-date data by the end of this year.

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