What Luxury Cars Are Likely to Be Lemons?

Published: January 11, 2024

Not all cars are the same. Each car gives you a different experience because of various reasons. One big difference among car makers is how reliable their products are. Some vehicles might have more problems than others. When it comes to luxury cars, which are the fancier and more expensive ones, you want them to work really well. 

But sometimes, even luxury cars can have a lot of issues. Let's find out which luxury cars, also known as "lemons," might have more problems. It's like figuring out which cars might give you more trouble than you'd like.

Decoding the Lemon Law: Understanding What Makes a Car a "Lemon"

According to the Los Angeles lemon law lawyers at Young & Young APC, a car qualifies as "lemon” if it has the following:

  • Exhibits Substantial Defects: Shows significant flaws impacting function, worth, or safety, marking it as a potential lemon vehicle.
  • Defects Arise Early: Typically within the warranty period after purchase.
  • Persistent Issues: Defects continue after a "reasonable number" of repair attempts.

If your car meets these criteria, it's time to contact an attorney. Keep in mind the details of the law vary by state. Notably, California's lemon law covers both new and used cars. 

However, navigating the complexities may require a specialized California lemon law lawyer for optimal benefits. Each year, around 150,000 cars earn the lemon label. 

Now, let's explore some high-priced lemons on the road.

Luxury cars come packed with fancy features and advanced technology, but they can sometimes bring complex issues. It's essential to research, read reviews, and check reliability ratings before buying. Let's look at some luxury car brands that have faced lemon-related concerns:


BMW, renowned for its luxury vehicles, found itself in hot water due to a significant recall related to battery issues. Some models experienced problems with battery covers, leading to overheating and, in extreme cases, flames. 

Notably, the 5- and 6-series models built between 2003 and 2010 faced a massive recall. In a specific case involving a new 428i with fuel gauge complications, BMW ended up in a civil court showdown. The jury ruled in favor of the owner, and BMW had to shell out over $170,000, encompassing the vehicle's cost and legal fees.


While Mercedes-Benz topped surveys with the least number of lemons, the luxury giant hasn't been immune to recalls. An intriguing lemon law case involving an E320 stands out. Despite being a model with fewer reported issues, the manufacturer faced a substantial payout. 

Mercedes had to reimburse the owner over $480,000, covering the vehicle, legal fees, and additional damages. This case serves as a reminder that even top-tier brands can find themselves entangled in lemon law disputes.

Tesla's Autopilot Issues

Synonymous with innovation and cutting-edge technology, Tesla faced its share of challenges. In 2017, the electric car pioneer recalled over 50,000 vehicles due to parking brake issues. However, a lemon law case involving dangerous autopilot malfunctions garnered attention. The owner of a Tesla Model X, experiencing issues with the auto-park features, entered into a legal battle. 

Eventually, a settlement was reached, with Tesla reimbursing the owner for the purchase price and additional repair fees. Tesla's handling of lemon law cases has been scrutinized, with instances of public disputes adding to the complexity for affected customers.


Jaguar Land Rover, part of the British luxury vehicle landscape, faced challenges regarding vehicle dependability. The 2021 Vehicle Dependability Report by JD Power ranked Jaguar vehicles as third to last in dependability. 

This poor reliability rating contributed to Jaguar's reputation as a brand with lemon concerns. For consumers considering luxury vehicles, especially in the context of dependability, Jaguar's struggles highlight the importance of comprehensive research.


Bentley, synonymous with high-end luxury, encountered complaints and recalls for major mechanical faults. In a UK survey, the manufacturer deemed the least reliable automaker faced legal battles related to lemon law cases. In one instance, Bentley refused to settle a lemon law case in Seattle, which revolved around airbag service light issues. 

Lengthy court proceedings ensued, reflecting the challenges consumers may face when seeking compensation for luxury vehicles with persistent problems. Another lemon law case involved a car requiring repairs eleven times in two years. Bentley bought back the vehicle and covered legal fees after a court ruling favored the customer.

In the world of luxury cars, a sleek exterior can sometimes hide persistent issues beneath the hood. Understanding what makes a car a "lemon" is crucial, and the stories of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Jaguar, and Bentley serve as cautionary tales. 

Before investing in a high-end vehicle, research, read reviews, and consider reliability ratings. If you are unsure about the reliability of your luxury car, seeking advice from experts like Young & Young APC is a smart move. Protect your investment and ensure a smooth ride with a reliable luxury vehicle. Don't hesitate to consult professionals for peace of mind and informed decisions.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Carmelo Pickel is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Keep Driving, with almost 20 years of experience working in the industry. Before founding Keep Driving, Carmelo held leadership roles for over a decade on top automotive dealership corporations across North America, handling various leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Incentives.
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