Even the most reliable vehicles have their bad years and share of problems. Especially after they’ve been on the road for hundreds of thousands of miles. Some cars, though, never get that far. That’s because they seem cursed right from the start.
Reddit user u/IDNMAN21 asked r/Cars sub-Reddit users what their ‘nightmare car’ was. Not a car that was hated, but one that specifically gave the users nightmares. And some of the highest-voted answers were notable high-performance luxury cars.
Jaguar XJS V12
The single highest-voted answer was the Jaguar XJS V12. One user noted that even owners of Alfa Romeos didn’t want to own the car.
To be fair, Autotrader and Driving.ca report the Jaguar XJS is one of the most-affordable V12-engine cars on the market. Jaguar made the XJS V12 from 1975-1996, CarBuzz reports, updating the engine over the years. However, while this grand-tourer is plentiful and cheap, it’s a great example of how used luxury cars can be an expensive hassle.
Final Gear forum users report the early V12s suffered from dropping valve seats, which require an engine rebuild to repair. Early 90s V12s were also known to melt their catalytic converters, while the early V12s could fully catch fire. And, like the six-cylinder version sold alongside it, the Jaguar XJS V12 also had numerous wiring and electrical problems. In addition, Motorious reports the bodywork was particularly susceptible to rust and rot.
Little wonder the owner of the Jaguar XJS V12 Doug Demuro drove referred to it as a nightmare.
BMW M5 E60
Although today’s M-badged BMWs are genuinely quick, earlier models had some truly special features. And one of the highpoints was the 2005-2010 BMW M5, aka the BMW M5 E60. Its claim to fame is being the world’s first production sedan with a V10.
The BMW M5 E60’s 5.0-liter V10 made 500 hp and was inspired by BMW’s Formula One engine, Road & Track reports. Remove the speed limiter, and it could 200 mph. And, uniquely for North America, you could also have it with a 6-speed manual.
Only 1,364 manual-equipped E60 M5s were built, Jalopnik reports; most had the 7-speed single-clutch sequential automatic (SMG). But even the manual cars can usually be had for $20,000-$30,000, according to Bring a Trailer. However, there’s a reason the BMW M5 E60 is the 2nd-highest-voted response in the Reddit thread. In fact, several reasons.
R&T reports the V10 is notorious for throwing rod bearings, which causes, as BimmerForum users describe, ‘catastrophic failure.’ PistonHeads reports the SMG cars are known for premature clutch wear, sensor and pump failure and a host of other issues. The engine’s throttle actuators can also break, and the rear differential is also prone to failure.
The BMW M5 E60 is an incredible sedan, but it’ll likely burn through all the cash in your wallet.
2nd-gen Chevrolet Tahoe
Today, the Chevrolet Tahoe is a fairly-reliable 3rd-row SUV. And the latest model will likely bring more on-road comfort and interior space. However, the 2nd-gen, 2000-2006 Tahoe is a different story.
Although CarComplaints reports the first-year 3rd-gen 2007 Tahoe has more problems, ChevroletProblems reports the 2nd-gen Tahoe is the worst overall of the 4 generations. This gen had interior accessory glitches, climate control issues, and power steering failures. The 2004 model year is particularly troublesome: the #3 worst Tahoe problem on CarComplaints is the 2004 model constantly running low on coolant. In fact, the coolant may have actually precipitated some of the Tahoe’s other issues.
CarComplaints has numerous reports of 2004 Tahoes with cracked heads, failing head gaskets, and engines burning oil. With this and the coolant loss, several class-action lawsuits were filed against GM, Reuters reports. Allegedly, the Dex-Cool coolant used by GM in the Chevy Tahoe and other vehicles was faulty and degraded the engine’s internals. Although GM did not admit to the allegations, it did eventually settle and reimburse owners.
To be fair, it’s not impossible to see high-mileage Chevy Tahoes from this era, CarGurus reports. However, as one Reddit user reports, that’s mostly down to luck. Which is not what you want to hear when buying a used SUV.
Audi A4 and S4 B5
Rounding out the top-voted nightmare cars on Reddit is the Audi A4 and S4 B5. The B5 A4 was made from 1996-2001, with the higher-performance S4 offered in the US from 1999-2002.
The Audi S4 B5 has quite a following, Donut Media reports. It had a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 making 250 hp and 258 lb-ft, Super Street reports. The European-spec car, though, had a bit more power. Still, with standard all-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual, along with a reputation for easy tunability, there was a reason why the B5 S4 was so popular. However, that didn’t make it bulletproof.
Super Street describes maintenance thusly: “just spend all your time and money on it, and you’ll be fine.” Audizine forum users report the B5 is known for turbos blowing out, cam tensioner seal failure, as well as issues with wheel bearings, ignition control modules, and various other engine seals.
The A4 B5 also has some issues, though it is a bit more reliable than the S4. The biggest headache, apart from random electrical gremlins, Audizine and VW Vortex forum users report, are the timing belt and ignition coil packs and control module. The turbocharged cars oil lines can also clog over time, although degraded hoses and wires are an issue most old used cars have.
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