This is a topic that came up in many of the debates I had with my friends or other car fans. As many of you know, BMW is one of the few companies left to offer a Car Free Maintenance Program for any vehicles still under the original factory warranty. In a recent article, we spoke about the options you have when your BMW warranty expires, but that’s a whole different story and you can read upon it.

Before we go ahead and compare some of the maintenance programs offered by other luxury brands, allow me to express my opinion on this. As I have always told my friends, one of the many reasons why I chose a BMW was the Free Maintenance Program which made me more comfortable that all the scheduled maintenance and not only, would be taken care of, without extra charges on my end. With maintenance part of the initial car warranty (Get a FREE, No Obligation, Extended Auto Warranty Quote in Less than a Minute!), all I have to worry about is making the monthly payments.

BMW calls its maintenance plan “BMW Ultimate Service” which goes for the first 4 years of ownership, or the first 50,000 miles.

Now, let’s see who are the contestants this time around: the long-time competitor, Mercedes-Benz, the runner up Audi and the  king of car luxury sales in the U.S, Lexus.

Even thought Mercedes was one of the first to offer a free maintenance plan, back in 2005, they decided to eliminate their free maintenance and offer their customers the option to choose from a variety of prepaid plans.

The decision to remove the free maintenance plan was solely based on cost issues and Mercedes-Benz does not feel that the customers have jumped ship based on this. Their Prepaid Maintenance Plan offers solutions for all the pockets without having the customer think they’re giving up an “arm and a leg” for scheduled maintenance.

Audi gets a little better and while they still don’t offer a full 4 year plan, they do offer the first scheduled maintenance service at 5,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first, free of charge. Until 2007, Audi of America offered a  4-year/50,000-mile program, called Audi Advantage, which was established in the late 1980s as a way to restore consumer confidence and jump-start the brand in the United States.

To stay within the Audi/VW Group, Volkswagen provides owners of new, 2009 models with free scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, along with regular checkups every 6,000 miles or 90 days.

Lexus is the U.S. leader in luxury car sales but unfortunately for their owners, they do not offer a full free maintenance program. Lexus only provides your first scheduled maintenance service at no charge. The service is performed at 30 days or 1,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Lexus also provides your second scheduled maintenance service at no charge. The service is performed at six months or 5,000 miles, whichever occurs first.  The scheduled maintenance plan is called Lexus Luxury Care and matches several personal budgets or fits your lifestyle.  Terms are available for 2, 3, 4 or 5 years.

We hope this article answers some of the questions you had and in the end, without taking sides or being biased, we would like to show you BMW’s research in determining the average cost of maintaining other vehicles during the first four years of ownership.