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Dependability is a vital consideration when buying any new car, and opting for a luxury model often increases the importance of reliability as repair costs for such models can be far higher than mainstream sedans. Those shopping around for a compact luxury car have plenty of choices, but only one model stands out as the most reliable – the BMW 4 Series.

The BMW 4 Series earns the title of most dependable compact luxury car

Each year J.D. Power releases its U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study to gauge the real-world reliability of cars, trucks, and SUVs from owner experiences. The study takes place over a three-year period, meaning the 2023 survey includes models from the 2020 model year. Earning the title of the most dependable compact luxury car is the BMW 4 Series.

The survey found the 4 Series stood out by delivering fewer reliability and dependability issues among its competitors, including the Volvo S60 and BMW’s 3 Series, which also ranked high for dependability. The Mercedes C-Class, a popular stalwart of the segment, didn’t earn an above-average reliability rating.

The 4 Series helped lead BMW’s overall reliability for the 2023 J.D. Power survey, though the brand ranks just above average. The industry average for the 2023 survey was 186 problems per 100 vehicles sold, J.D. Power notes, with BMW just slightly above the median with 184 reported problems per 100 vehicles.

To note, Lexus led all manufacturers to earn its status as the most reliable automaker of 2023, just ahead of fellow luxury automaker Genesis. Cadillac edged BMW, but Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lincoln, and Land Rover scored below-average marks.

The BMW 4 Series at a glance

The BMW 4 Series sports all-new styling and some significant changes from the 2020 model used in the study, but J.D. Power still gives the model a “great” rating of 84 out of 100 possible points for quality and reliability.

The 4 Series essentially serves as the coupe/convertible version of the venerable 3 Series, and it’s available in several sporty trims as either a two-door coupe or convertible.

The 2024 model is powered by a gutsy 255-hp turbo four-cylinder, though buyers can up the ante with the M440i model with its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six dishing out 382 ponies. The performance-tuned M4 Competition develops over 500 hp.

Inside, the 4 Series delivers plenty of luxe features. Standard amenities include synthetic leather upholstery, navigation, a 10-speaker audio system, ambient lighting, several driver aids, and new for 2024, a 14.9-inch infotainment screen with BMW’s iDrive 8 software and voice command, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

Pricing for the 2024 BMW 4 Series starts at $49,900 for the base 430i coupe, with the M4 Competition convertible topping the range at $93,300.

Other dependable compact luxury cars to consider


The BMW 2 Series and 4 Series Are Headed in Completely Opposite Directions

Two other compact luxury cars — the Volvo S60 and BMW 3 Series — also earned high marks for dependability in the 2023 survey.

The 4 Series shares much of its components and features with the 3 Series, but the latter offers four doors and more pragmaticism. It also sports a less-polarizing front grille, though its styling was updated following the introduction of the model’s latest generation for the 2023 model year.

The Volvo S60 is less sporty than much of the compact luxury sedan class, but it fits the bill well for luxury buyers seeking a commuter or small family cruiser with Scandinavian style and generous amenities. The S60 also comes with a starting price that’s several thousand dollars less than its rivals from Germany, including the 4 Series, 3 Series, C-Class, and Audi A4/A5.