Buying a sports car is an experience many car fans dream of, but for most people, these exotic machines are out of reach. For the lucky few with the good fortune to be able to purchase one, the continent of Europe offers the most exciting and varied range of sports machines, from retro classics all the way up to cutting-edge supercars. Across the whole spectrum, one thing every sports car owner has to deal with is maintenance.
Most owners are fully aware of the increased expense and time when they buy a new car, but there are a few models that really take the cake. Often, these cars are very attractively priced on the used market, ready to lure in and then drain the wallet of an unsuspecting buyer. Money aside, the whole point of a sports car is to enjoy it, so having a model that’s stuck in the garage all the time is a situation nobody wants to end up in.
10 TVR Tuscan
TVR maintenance is by most accounts a completely mixed bag. Some owners report maintenance nightmares and some claim their cars are no different to any other sports car. Get unlucky though, and the owner will be plagued with all sorts of issues, with another fault occurring just as the last one is fixed.
Electronics are one of the most common complaints, with owners complaining of nagging issues that were fixed by their garage only to crop up again a short time after. Some owners have resorted to having their cars go in for a full service every few months to keep them in good condition.
9 Porsche Panamera
Porsche are seen by many as one of the more reliable brands in the sports car world, but the truth is they’re inconsistent across their lineup. Models like the 718 Cayman generally score very well for reliability, but the Panamera doesn’t fare so good.
JD Power gave the 2014 Panamera just two out of five stars for their annual survey, making it one of the least reliable cars on the market. Owner reports seem to back this up, with a host of common issues reported including coolant leaks and fuel pump failure.
8 Lamborghini Diablo
Italian manufacturer Lamborghini have never been famed for their reliability, with the Diablo being one of their worst offenders for maintenance needs. The car is notorious for burning through clutches, one of the most expensive and complicated parts of a car to replace.
Owners have also reported troubles with their suspension, chain tensioners, starter motors and more. Since the cost of repairing even one of these elements will run into several thousand dollars, Diablo ownership is likely to be a very expensive as well as time-consuming experience.
7 Maserati GranTurismo
For decades Maserati has been plagued with the image of unreliability, but unfortunately the brand keep pumping out sports cars that prove that stereotype true. The GranTurismo is one of most steeply-depreciating sports cars around, meaning older examples can be had for bargain prices.
One of the main reasons the cars are so cheap is because of their maintenance costs. Older GranTurismos have been known to have persistent engine problems, leading to hours and thousands of dollars in garage time.
6 Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa Romeo’s 4C is arguably an underappreciated future classic, simply because it’s one of the few affordable sports cars on the market that keeps the traditional Italian spirit. Unfortunately for owners part of that Italian spirit is to be consistently maintenance-heavy.
As well as oil changes and general maintenance, Alfa require a full service to check the torque settings of all the bolts holding the carbon fiber tub to the rest of the car’s components. It’s a unnecessarily complicated process that adds both extra time and cost to the car’s maintenance requirements.
5 Audi RS7
Audi’s RS line has a somewhat forbidden-fruit status in the US, as the full RS lineup has never made its way over to American shores. One of the models that has been made available for buyers is the RS7, with depreciated older examples selling for deceptively low prices.
While Audi’s comprehensive warranty should cover any issues with newer cars, when out of warranty the RS7 is notoriously tricky to repair. It’s also very unreliable used, so owners will need to spend a lot of time at the mechanic to keep the RS7 running well.
4 Jaguar F-Type
The United Kingdom’s Jaguar marque is struggling at the moment, caught in a market where it can’t offer enough selling points over its rivals. Jaguar hoped the release of the F-Type in 2014 would revitalize the brand’s image and translate into some much-needed sales.
Unfortunately thanks to quality issues with the car, that didn’t happen. Early F-Types suffered from poor window seals that allowed stones to get inside the windows and pop-out door handles that got stuck. Other minor issues were prevalent like the exhaust flap staying open, again not a catastrophic issue but one that requires a trip to the mechanic all the same.
3 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG S
Nobody buys an AMG car for reliability or cheap maintenance, but the C63 AMG manages to stand out as tricky to maintain even among other AMG cars. In a recent market study of ten-year running costs, the C63 was one of the most expensive cars to maintain in its price bracket, costing $12,800 even if nothing went wrong.
Certain models are prone to overheating if driven fast for too long, even though being fast is surely one of the main selling points of buying an AMG. The car also eats rear tires, reportedly lasting anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 miles. Combine that with the AMG-recommended intense maintenance schedule and the car will almost always need something doing.
2 Ferrari 458 Italia
Anyone who buys a Ferrari will surely be aware of their frequent repairs and horrific costs, but still it’s surprising to see just how unreliable they are. A recent survey by a leading British analyst marked Ferrari as the second most unreliable brand on the market, and the worst of all sports car manufacturers.
It’s no surprise then that a 458 will spend a lot of time in repairs. The car has been subject to four separate recalls, including one for engine seizure. With all those things to repair, even just getting the recalls fixed likely means days spent in a Ferrari garage, and that’s without servicing and regular maintenance.
1 Maserati Biturbo
There’s very few cars that can claim an impact so great that their existence affected the image of a brand for decades to come, but the Biturbo is one of them. Unfortunately for Maserati, that image was a very negative one, as the Biturbo was terribly made and horrifically unreliable.
Everything that could go wrong with these cars went wrong, from the interior falling apart to serious corrosion issues. Anyone attempting to buy one of the few examples that haven’t rusted into nothing yet will need to watch for failing fuse boxes, dodgy turbos, cracked seals, de-laminating windshields… in other words, the whole car will probably need fixing at some point.
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