July 19, 2020 at 10:38 AM
BMW VS AUDI VS MERCEDES - WHICH SHOULD YOU BUY?
July 19, 2019 at 9:30 AM
If you're in the market for a prestige car offering luxury and comfort, chances are you'll be considering models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. All three are German brands with a premium and upmarket image.
Between them, they produce over 50 different new models making them three of the best-selling luxury car brands in the world. Each manufacturer prides itself on producing stylish cars with reliable and exciting engines that command higher-than-average second-hand values.
So, should you choose a model bearing Audi's four interlocked rings, BMW's blue and white propeller or Mercedes' three-pointed star?
WHY BUY AUDI?
Audi started life in 1932 as Auto Union - an amalgamation of four different manufacturers. In fact, the four rings on the Audi logo each represent one of the four original car companies that banded together to create Auto Union.
Volkswagen aquired the brand in the 1960s and have retained ownership of the manufacturer ever since. Although Audi vehicles are produced in nine different facilities worldwide, its roots are in Ingolstadt, Germany.
Audi produces a wide range of luxury cars from saloons, coupes and hatchback models - which are prefixed with the letter 'A' (e.g. A1, A3, A4 and A5) - to estates (known as 'Avant') and SUVs (prefixed with the letter 'Q').
Audi have a reputation for producing cars with a contemporary and sleek design, a smooth and quiet driving experience and four-wheel drive technology.
CONTEMPORARY & SLEEK DESIGN
Cars with the four ring badge are renowned for being conservative in style, especially on the outside. While this is a massive selling point for some people, others find it difficult to tell Audi models apart.
On the inside, Audi are often considered to produce some of the best interiors on the market with a range of soft-touch plastics complementing the clear and uncluttered design.
In terms of technology, Audi cars are typically more advanced. Just one example of this is the 'virtual cockpit' which offers configurable dashboard dials to suit the driver.
SMOOTH & QUIET DRIVING EXPERIENCE
Premium cars are designed to provide a luxurious driving experience which means being blissfully unaware of engine and road noise as you cruise down the road at speed.
Audi cars are available with a range of powerful and economical engines that offer a quiet and polished driving experience. If you prioritise a more exciting and involved driving experience, you might be more suited to a BMW.
FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE TECHNOLOGY
Four-wheel drive technology is available on almost every Audi - except the A1 supermini. Cars with the 'quattro' badge all have the four-wheel drive option installed.
Quattro is standard on a number of different model and engine combinations, although you can add it for around £1,500. Some owners have suggested that four-wheel drive technology improves the driving experience because of the extra cornering ability it offers.
On A4 models and above, the quattro system is very sophisticated. It remains permanently engaged to prevent spinning wheels and provide the optimum driving performance.
WHY BUY BMW?
BMW, which stands for Bavarian Motor Works, started life in 1917 as an aircraft manufacturer before moving onto motorbikes in 1923 and eventually starting to produce cars in 1927.
Buyers can easily identify the model of BMW in front of them: the first number dictates the model (e.g. 3 Series), followed by the engine size, whilst an 'i' indicates a petrol model and 'd' indicates diesel.
The numbers 1-6 cover a range of hatchbacks, coupes, estates and saloons, while the 7 Series is an executing saloon. BMW also introduced an 'X' range which are all SUVs.
BMW was the first of these three German manufacturers to launch an all-electric vehicle - the compact BMW i3. This was later joined by the i8; however, this is a very exclusive and expensive model.
BMW have a reputation for producing rear-wheel drive cars that offer an exciting driving experience with highly advanced entertainment and navigation systems.
REAR-WHEEL DRIVE & AN EXCITING DRIVING EXPERIENCE
Most BMW cars have rear-wheel drive, even the smallest 1 Series which is the only vehicle in its class to offer rear-wheel drive. The only exceptions are the X-badged SUVs and i8 hybrid sports car which all receive four-wheel drive as standard.
Driving a BMW is an exciting and pleasurable experience with a lot more feedback and involvement from the engine compared to some models offered by Audi and Mercedes.
To make your experience behind the wheel even more enjoyable, you can find BMW 'M' models which indicate motorsport modifications for improved speed and performance.
HIGHLY ADVANCED ENTERTAINMENT & NAVIGATION SYSTEMS
BMW have developed a dashboard that is designed with drivers in mind. In fact, it's actually been angled towards the driver's seat. Having said that, the infotainment control wheel is easily accessible from the front passenger seat.
When BMW first introduced their iDrive infotainment system in 2001 is received a wave of criticism as people struggled to understand what it did and how to use it.
However, the latest version of iDrive is much more advanced and less complicated to use providing an intuitive and quick user experience. BMW is also the only manufacturer to offer sat nav as standard across all its models.
WHY BUY MERCEDES?
Mercedes is the oldest of these three premium German manufacturers having effectively invented the petrol car in 1886. In the 2005, it outright bought the AMG brand to create Mercedes-AMG performance models.
The Mercedes range starts with the A-Class hatchback, followed by the B-Class MPV and then the C-Class and E-Class models which are available as saloons, coupés, cabriolets and estates.
The S-Class is the flagship product range in the Mercedes brand with executive saloon, coupé and cabriolet models available. They also produce a range of SUVs identified by the 'GL' prefix (e.g. GLA-Class or GLC-Class).
BMW have a reputation for producing luxurious cars with plush interiors that boast pioneering safety systems and provide a comfortable driving experience.
LUXURIOUS CARS WITH PLUSH INTERIORS
The Mercedes brand has been built on a long-standing reputation of building luxurious cars that command a premium price tag because of the prestigious image they provide.
When you sit in a Mercedes you'll experience soft leather, elegant switches and plush seats that are designed to make travelling in any of their cars a special experience.
PIONEERING SAFETY SYSTEMS
The Mercedes S-Class saloon car has often been at the forefront of automotive safety technology having introduced safety systems such as airbags and anti-lock brakes.
Back in the 1950s, Mercedes was instrumental in developing crumple zones which have been widely used in car manufacturing ever since.
Presently, the S-Class provides advanced safety equipment such as a night-vision camera and rear seatbelt airbags. If any of these systems prove popular, they will be rolled out to their next best-selling models.
COMFORTABLE DRIVING EXPERIENCE
Although Audi and BMW models are premium and offer a level of ride quality above mainstream car brands, they still can't compete on the same level as Mercedes.
Mercedes cars are designed to provide a relaxing and comfortable experience for both driver and passengers. One example of this is the amount of adjustability that their seats offer to accommodate a range of body shapes and sizes.
All the dashboard controls are ergonomically designed to be operated with minimal effort. In addition, the infotainment system is intuitive to use and easy to get used to.