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Old 22nd February 2017, 18:43   #46
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I learned to drive in a M800 and Mahindra CJ3B, our family owned a Zen and I bought a Polo GT TDi in 2013 and a BMW F20 120 D MSport in 2016.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Quote:
My questions in this thread are addressed to those who own premium brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Volvo & Land Rover - but preferably, those who also own & drive a mainstream brand car (like Hyundai or a Toyota) daily or on weekends.
Quote:
1) How significant is the difference in driving experience (power, features, build quality, ride quality, NVH, acceleration etc) between a Rs. 20 Lacs
mainstream brand/model (Eg: XUV 500) and a Rs. 50 Lacs premium brand/model (Eg: Audi Q3)?
- A CJ3B Jeep is best suited for weekend drives and not the best in terms of NVH as expected. M800 was arguably better than the competition then although some would favour HM ambassador.
Zen was much better than M800 on long and short drives. It was a leap when I got my VW Polo, its extremely well built compared to the Swifts and Puntos. I used to drive it between Pune and Calicut and I was able to reach the destination quick enough (18-19 Hrs) without driving like a lunatic. The key was to maintain a good average speed throughout and the credit goes to the powerful 1.6 L engine. I bought BMW 1 series purely for its rear wheel drive and the driving experience -I love it. Its different from driving an all wheel drive or a front wheel drive hatch. You can have lots of fun if the surface is a bit slippery or even when you do a quick right or left hand turn. Its definitely an upgrade from VW Polo in terms of build quality and NVH but not by a large margin. BMW has roughly 87 more horses than Polo and that make a lot of difference when driving on highways.

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2) Do you experience this difference in all conditions? In heavy traffic? On a short grocery run? On the expressway? While overtaking a fast moving car on a state highway? In the ghats?
- Not much in heavy traffic unless of course its an automatic. On the expressway, overtaking and ghats yes. The BMW has optional adaptive M sport suspension and that makes a lot of difference when you choose the sports mode in the twisted country roads.

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3) Would you say that the driving experience is so significantly better that everybody should own one of these brands at least once in a lifetime? Only interested from driving experience point of view, and not additional benefits like prestige/image etc nor issues like high sticker price/ maintenance costs
/reliability etc.
- If you are used to driving a front wheel driving car then buying a BMW 1 series will definitely give a different driving experience than what you are used to. Its a dying breed, a rear wheel drive hatchback.
In fact in my opinion if you are in the market to upgrade to a 'luxury' brand and only for its driving experience, then choose a BMW 1/2/3/4/5/6/7 series.
Mercedes is definitely more luxurious than BMW and Audi is definitely the better built out of the 3 Germans. If you have a better budget then go even higher M3/M5 or a Porsche.


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4) Looking at the numbers, one significant advantage of premium brands is the availability of 200 BHP+ cars. But these days, many mainstream models can crack the sub-11 sec 0 to 100 kmph mark. And premium models manage to touch 100 kmph in 8 to 10 seconds. So, is there a significant difference between a 130 BHP (mainstream) car and 180 BHP (premium) car in real world city and highway conditions?
- On the open highway yes there is a difference between 130 HP and 180 HP car. In terms of outright acceleration it depends on a lot more factors than power. A Polo GTi would definitely outrun a BMW 120D when it comes to outright acceleration. To be fair though the comparison should be between Polo GTi, Golf GTi and BMW M140i.

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5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
- I guess so, atleast in my experience. Again it attributes to better NVH levels and higher power in a premium car.


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6) Are there any mainstream models that can offer 90% of driving experience (power, refinement, acceleration, steering feel & feedback, features, build quality, ride quality, noise insulation) at 50% of the cost?
- The best example for that would be the cars from VW stable. A Skoda/VW will not be much different from an Audi if they are of similar spec in terms of driving experience and you will be saving a lot by choosing VW or Skoda.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 19:18   #47
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Smartcat, smart thread!

1) How significant is the difference in driving experience (power, features, build quality, ride quality, NVH, acceleration etc) between a Rs. 20 Lacs mainstream brand/model (Eg: XUV 500) and a Rs. 50 Lacs premium brand/model (Eg: Audi Q3)?

The gap between the top end of normal cars and the very expensive (BMW, Audi, Volvo, Merc) has shrunk significantly in the last 10 years. The gap between a Cielo & C class in 1998 was visible in every way. Today that gap between a Superb & C class is less evident except in the price. If the driving experience of my Volvo XC60 is 9/10 then that of the Superb M/T is 8.5/10 and my Jazz is 5/10 versus the prices (when bought) of Rs 56L, Rs 22L and Rs 6L. The likes of Camry, Superb have all you need except the badge. For my thoughts on badges read on.


6) Are there any mainstream models that can offer 90% of driving experience (power, refinement, acceleration, steering feel & feedback, features, build quality, ride quality, noise insulation) at 50% of the cost?


Skoda Superb for the hot blooded, Toyota Camry for the nawab; atop end Accord too I suppose.

Now for the badge business. Many may feel that a premium car has snob value or impression value. Personally speaking whenever I think, 'ghosh what are the others thinking' I pinch and remind my self that those 'others' aint thinking of me 'cos they are busy thinking of themselves! My neighbours aren't impressed 'cos their cars are fancier and they may be thinking, 'poor Mr Narayan Wanna be, went for a Volvo'. My relatives, if thinking at all, will be on the side of scratchy envy. The only fellow impressed with my purchases of big cars ever has been my nephew who is an automobile engineer. Bless him. Must remember to include him in my will.

The fun and thrill and satisfaction of driving a car is relative to yourself. When all I could afford was a Padmini it was a thoroughbred for me and I beamed with joy and pride driving it. So a young person driving his first Alto K10 probably gets more mental & emotional kick than an old buzzard like me in an XC60.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 19:19   #48
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

From a passenger POV- noise insulation, suspension (main stream cars are close) and seat comfort sets luxury cars apart. These things are common to all- drivers and passengers.

I've never driven a luxury car, but I think lesser pedal effort (organ mounted pedals), extra power, lack of vibrations etc should make driving luxury cars relaxing.

My observations are from comparing a VW Phaeton (yes I've been on a Phaeton in India, never driven it) with Skoda Octavia, Corolla and Innova.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 19:21   #49
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post

6- Current lot, i found HEXA the best bet as an answer, may the breed grow!

See though point 6 is happening more and more, the gap is still phenomenal. At the end of the day you get what you pay for, being the only rule when you get into commodities like cars.
Can we add S-Cross 1.6 to that list? Would like to know your opinion.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 20:12   #50
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I have never driven a "luxury" car and in all probability most likely won't. But in my humble opinion - its all relative. Talking only about driving pleasure:I have owned an Alto K10, Swift VDI and now a Polo TSI. In the city the more power you have the less pleasant the drive. At the back of your mind you know you can floor the A pedal and shoot past most of the vehicles ahead but you cant and some times it irks you especially if the vehicle in front does not have your "can drive properly" stamp of approval .
Out on the highway, all 3 cars have been equally fun for me and I reach my destination at almost the same time and feeling the same levels of energy (my energy at the end of the trip purely depends on if I have had enough to eat or not. I need to eat every two hours). The only time I have felt I should be driving something else was when someone blows past me in a more powerful vehicle but that feeling passes the moment that vehicle goes out of sight.
So to wrap up,in my experience you can be extremely happy in any vehicle as long as you can afford the purchase cost and maintenance costs.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 20:39   #51
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I drive a skoda rapid (which is my car) and a Merc e250. The merc is refined, more powerful and very comfortable. But i enjoy more when I drive my skoda. I love darting through the small gaps in heavy traffic with my skoda. Obviously I won't dare to do that with my merc. The extra width of the car is one factor another one is that in case any of my calculations go wrong, i know it is going to burn my pockets. This thought will be always be in the back of your mind while doing any adventure on the road. I feel care free and relaxed while driving my skoda. I am happy with it.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 20:42   #52
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
My questions in this thread are addressed to those who own premium brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Volvo & Land Rover - but preferably, those who also own & drive a mainstream brand car (like Hyundai or a Toyota) daily or on weekends.

1) How significant is the difference in driving experience (power, features, build quality, ride quality, NVH, acceleration etc) between a Rs. 20 Lacs
mainstream brand/model (Eg: XUV 500) and a Rs. 50 Lacs premium brand/model (Eg: Audi Q3)?
Co-incidentally, I own both, XUV 500 W8 and Q3 Premium Plus, and hence I would attempt to answer your queries best with these two cars in context.

Power : Not limited to the power ratings, but the linear manner in which the power is delivered is what differentiates the two - Just maybe, the German horses are thorough-bred! However, it would be unfair to compare the two, given the 2.5X price delta

Features : Although the XUV is loaded to the brim (for its price), the reliability of the electricals and touch-screen response does leave you skeptical. Over the years that I have owned the XUV, I have observed the power windows slow down, TPMS go haywire and seatbelt sensors go kaput as well. The Audi, however, delivers as advertised (Been one year now). I miss the memory function on the seats, and electric adjustment on the steering but otherwise, there are no complaints - predictable, efficient and thoughtful - Auto-hold handbrakes, Windshield washer fluid alert, Kerb-view ORVM on reverse, et al. Not saying they aren't available on the Hyundais and Skodas of the world, but these are just a thoughtful package of features that I am content with, for the price I paid.

Build : The Koreans and Indians might have come a long way on the build front, but find me an uneven panel gap in an Audi! Consistency is the operative term here.

NVH : Noticeable difference between the two. 30k in an year on the German, and I am yet to come across a rattle from anywhere! Mind you, I have driven it to the extremes.


Quote:
2) Do you experience this difference in all conditions? In heavy traffic? On a short grocery run? On the expressway? While overtaking a fast moving car on a state highway? In the ghats?
We missed the handling and grip front - Think boat, and think leech! It is very reassuring, a part of which maybe perception.

Quote:
3) Would you say that the driving experience is so significantly better that everybody should own one of these brands at least once in a lifetime? Only interested from driving experience point of view, and not additional benefits like prestige/image etc nor issues like high sticker price/ maintenance costs
/reliability etc.
On this, to each his/her own, in my honest opinion. Given the means, urge to own the finest, priorities and driving pattern, one should definitely look around, try to sample some and stretch a bit to own a finer car of such pedigree.

Quote:
4) Looking at the numbers, one significant advantage of premium brands is the availability of 200 BHP+ cars. But these days, many mainstream models can crack the sub-11 sec 0 to 100 kmph mark. And premium models manage to touch 100 kmph in 8 to 10 seconds. So, is there a significant difference between a 130 BHP (mainstream) car and 180 BHP (premium) car in real world city and highway conditions?
Three things here - Sheer acceleration (Both, off the block and in-gear), grip/handling and braking! The three put together, in my driving pattern, make a 360º difference.

Quote:
5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
Faster - Yes, for reasons sighted right above.
Less fatigue - Yes, again for reasons sighted above, and I also refer to the mental fatigue. Besides, the seat quality (Cushioning, design, et) make a difference here.

Quote:
6) Are there any mainstream models that can offer 90% of driving experience (power, refinement, acceleration, steering feel & feedback, features, build quality, ride quality, noise insulation) at 50% of the cost?
I would like to believe, no, or I have made a bad purchase choice!
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Old 22nd February 2017, 22:06   #53
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

You are one hell of a driver.
You love the thrills when driving.
You have a Honda City / Corolla Altis and BMW M550i xDrive at home.
You are going for recreation/meeting/work up to a place which involves a nicely laid out, free of traffic but challenging 40 km ghat section.
Which vehicle would you choose?
Isn't this what you bought the BMW for when you could afford one?
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Old 22nd February 2017, 23:55   #54
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

We can all debate the topic for long with no clear answer, the reason being "premium feel" is very difficult to explain and point out. Its like using one of plethora of Android phones vs using an iPhone. They both probably have the same feature set, same or similar apps but iPhone/IOS has a finesse at doing many very small subtle things which enhance the experience but difficult to explain and point out. Premium vs Mainstream cars are same, both do the same functions but premium ones have a class of quality and luxury to it.

Note: IOS vs Android was just an example, no intention to start another debate on it

Last edited by aah78 : 23rd February 2017 at 02:25. Reason: Typo.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 05:06   #55
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Interesting topic. Although I do not have much experience driving back to back but I did drive a BMW 5 Series with the 2.0 litre diesel engine which had done around 40k kms and was sorely dissapointed. The steering wasnt smooth, wasnt fast or exciting and the interior wear for a car which had done just 40k kms was pretty average too. I currently drive a Mazda 3 with 2.5 litre petrol and in comparison my car was a church, gearbox a lot more decisive in what gear it wanted to be and steering butter smooth. I also want to mention audio quality but then it is subjective. I liked the sound profile of the Bose audio that my Mazda comes with compared to whatever was there in that BMW. I did made me wonder what's all the fuss about. May be it was the engine or may be the car was abused but I just did not get the appeal. Perhaps I need to drive a brand new one to tell the difference.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 08:55   #56
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I have an anecdote as a passenger and it's regarding the seatbelt. You'd think it's the same on every car and I did too, until I sat in a Volvo S60.

The belt in that car was so soft and comfortable that you could hardly even feel it. It was the lightest touch, the gentlest weight possible on my shoulder. I cannot describe how wonderful that seatbelt was compared to everything else I've driven/been driven in. This might be a Volvo specific thing because I know the XC90 also feels this way.

That kind of finesse is what you pay for, I suppose.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 11:31   #57
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post
I have an anecdote as a passenger and it's regarding the seatbelt. You'd think it's the same on every car and I did too, until I sat in a Volvo S60.
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Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post
That kind of finesse is what you pay for, I suppose.
Thanks bud for such a precise response.

For all those who are answering this query posted by the OP, please consider this as a humble request to bring out such tangible aspects of premium vs normal. That would really help to understand it better!
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Old 23rd February 2017, 12:01   #58
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I feel there is quite a lot perceptible difference in mainstream cars and premium cars. The difference in price doesnt seem to be justified if we look at only few factors like -"rupees per extra bhp" , or rupees per extra mm/ cubic centimetre of length, width or space.

It is a whole lot different feel altogether the way it feels while holding the steering and foot on whether accelerator or brake pedal between these two segment of cars even if the power / torque figures would be matching.

I first experienced a slightly different ( premium) feel when I switched from 110 ps hyundai verna crdi to 105 ps skoda laura (L&K). Laura was twice the price of Verna(almost)- Rs. 18 Lakh for Laura on road vs Rs. 9.5 Lakh on road for Verna. While the push and punch that Verna had, was missed badly, in every other aspect, Laura felt awesome beyond words. It was best hi-tech feature rich car in that price range and Hyundai Sonata with 140PS ( CRDi) despite the size and looks, still did not feel all that great when compared to Laura. Whether it was the feel of the steering, reach/ rake adjustment, electrically adjustable / memory seats, the key fob, xenon lamps, all windows auto up / down, DSG gear box, FE, thud of the doors while closing, gala(music volume adjustment based on speed), MID display, front parking sensors, reverse camera, auto locking (speed sensing) doors etc. List is endless and then on the move- it felt awesome. Most of these features are common these days and available in most cars, but that time it felt awesome.

Next I compared Passat Highline and Mercedes 250 CDI . It was a really tough choice - heart and mind decision. Mercedes definitely felt premium and great to be in and drive. However, for inside space and price, maintenance cost etc. Passat was preferred as a better VFM. Difference in price from driver's perspective was worth it. From buyer's perspective, shopping for a Mercedes is an experience in itself. While the experience with VW dealer, sales persons are not worth even remembering ( better to forget), it was just world's apart at a Mercedes showroom and it was much better experience at both the Mercedes dealers we had interacted with as compared to two dealers of VW we met for Passat.

I would strongly recommend buying a premium car at least once, if budget permits. Right from test drive or, buying till calling for road side assistance , everything feels world apart from a reliable mainstream Toyota/ VW/ Suzuki/ Hyundai/ Tata / Mahindra. Will recommend a fully loaded model with latest technology and best safety features, best engine in segment that one can afford and it will certainly feel worth it.

Last edited by shatrughna : 23rd February 2017 at 12:04.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 12:13   #59
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Originally Posted by shatrughna View Post
I would strongly recommend buying a premium car at least once, if budget permits. Right from test drive or, buying till calling for road side assistance , everything feels world apart from a reliable mainstream Toyota/ VW/ Suzuki/ Hyundai/ Tata / Mahindra. Will recommend a fully loaded model with latest technology and best safety features, best engine in segment that one can afford and it will certainly feel worth it.
I actually did this recently by purchasing a 60 lakh BMW X3 30d MSport while my initial plan was to buy a reliable automatic car in the 20 to 25 lakhs price range. It does feel really good to drive the X3 compared to my other car Linea TJet, but I cannot say the same about the purchase process. I had a nightmarish experience to say the least with KUN Exclusive, Coimbatore and I started feel so cheated that I ended up buying the car from a dealer based out of neighbouring state in spite of all the hassles/costs involved in purchasing a car from another state. While the showroom folks were pretty cool to start with, things started becoming unpleasant when I started asking some questions about their pricelist. As long as we pay what they want us to pay, I believe the purchase experience would be great and not otherwise. Got to see how the service experience goes when the car ages.

Last edited by ece2k2 : 23rd February 2017 at 12:16.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 14:43   #60
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

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