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Picking a used luxury car to add some poshness to your commutes and cruises can be an issue. Some pre-owned luxury models can be more of a headache than they’re worth. Check out some of the vehicles owners cite as unreliable and problem-ridden, like the 2007 BMW 335i, 2009 Cadillac CTS, and 2014 Infiniti Q50. 

Why do people buy used luxury cars?

People buy used luxury cars to avoid more modern luxury vehicles’ immense starting price points. For instance, the 2023 Infiniti Q50 starts at around $43,800, while a used 2015 model could have a fair value of about $16,546 with average mileage.  

Which used luxury cars have the most problems?

Of the myriad problematic used luxury cars on the market, these four popular models have severe owners’ complaints about reliability. 

  • 2014 Infiniti Q50
  • 2009 Cadillac CTS
  • 2008 Lexus ES 350
  • 2007 BMW 335i
A 2014 Infiniti Q50 shows off its rear-end styling.
2014 Infiniti Q50 | Infiniti

According to Car Complaints, these models have a documented history of NHTSA and consumer complaints of everything from engine problems to seat belt issues. However, even with NHTSA complaints, the used luxury cars avoided the “Avoid-it-like-the-Plague” seal. Still, most problematic vehicles that received the negative seal have higher production numbers, like the 2013 Nissan Altima. 

What year of the Q50 should I buy?

The 2020 Infiniti Q50 has very few owner complaints of reliability issues. However, some older models, like the 2014 Q50, have enough driver reports of brake problems to warrant reconsideration. Specifically, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 has five owner complaints of prematurely warped brake rotors. 

A used 2014 Infiniti Q50 shows off its luxury car styling on a runway.
2014 Infiniti Q50 | Infiniti

Are there any problems with the 2009 Cadillac CTS?

Unfortunately for current owners of the 2009 Cadillac CTS, the used luxury car is the most problematic year in the model’s lineup. The CTS has 48 NHTSA complaints about engine issues like premature timing chain failure and speed control problems. Furthermore, a timing chain replacement could cost an average of $3,400.  

A used 2009 Cadillac CTS V-model luxury car poses next to a large building.
2009 Cadillac CTS-V | General Motors

What is the most common problem in a Lexus ES 350?

The most problematic model year for the Lexus ES 350 is 2008; the model has 207 NHTSA complaints about seat belt and airbag issues alone. Specifically, the ES 350 model year is named in the widespread Takata airbag recall, which could result in improper airbag deployment and serious injury or death. 

If you think your used luxury car is subject to the Takata airbag recall, check your VIN with the NHTSA’s VIN recall tool

What’s wrong with the 2007 BMW 335i?

The 2007 BMW 335i has 90 NHTSA complaints pertaining to engine issues. For instance, 13 reports cite engine cooling issues that could lead to overheating or a seized engine. Moreover, a faulty water pump and cooling system issues could occur at as little as 53,000 miles. 

A used silver 2007 BMW 335i cruises around a hilltop.
2007 BMW 335i | BMW

What used luxury cars are reliable?

Unsurprisingly, many of the newer luxury models have fewer owner complaints and official reports of issues. As a result, car hunters might be better off with a 2019 Cadillac CTS or Lexus ES 350 than a pre-2010 model.


5 Most Reliable Used Luxury Cars Under $15,000 Will Have You Riding in Style