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Old 21st February 2017, 01:45   #1
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Default Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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)?

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?

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.

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?

5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?

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?
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Old 21st February 2017, 03:25   #2
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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.
Drive a fair bit of both segments, so I hope it qualifies

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)?
Honestly, the gap is decreasing every day. Maybe not between the XUV and the Q3 which are poles apart, but say between a Superb and an E Class.
Mainstream brands such as Hyundai, are making huge leaps in terms of performance, quality, and refinement; and some models even boast balanced ride and handling.

However, where the premium segment really steps up the game is in the overall experience - the smaller detailing, the way the doors close, etc. Premium cars still remain a notch above as far as tech, experience, and overall feeling of occasion.

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?
Yes, it makes every drive all the more enjoyable.

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.
No - unless you are getting a range topping variant: Ex - BMW 530D, etc.
If you're getting a base variant, it is probably stripped off a lot of features and may even share the engine with the lower siblings.
Otherwise options such as the Skodas/VW offer a very close experience at half the price - may not feel as special, but similar engines and ride/handling.

That being said, it is very dependant on segment. A Q3 will have significantly better interiors, refinement, ride and handling, etc. as compared to an XUV but looses out on space and practicality.

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?
The fun begins in the 100-250 dash

Quote:
5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
Faster - not in Indian conditions.
Less Fatigue - yes.

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?
Skodas & VWs. But even in germans, the driving experience is poles apart within the brands themselves.
Hyundai with it's lifeless steering, soft suspension, features, quality interiors is very comparable to Audi - but even then, it would be say 75% of the experience at 40% of the cost (Elantra v/s A4 roughly)
Toyota would compare with Mercedes, but the mercs have a way better steering feel & suspension tuning - not to mention interior quality. Say 60% of experience at 40% of cost.
BMW - still needs a competitor that is focussed on driving pleasure. Mainstream brands are comfort oriented, not driving oriented.
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Old 21st February 2017, 04:19   #3
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Default re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Get an octy 1.8 DSG and apart from the RWD fun and bad service, it's very similar to the 320i.
Now if we're talking 328i then it is miles apart.
The XUV vs Q3 isn't an apt comparison.
Compare the Superb with the pre FL E class, and I know what I'll be putting my money on.
VW and Skoda are bridging the gap between the entry level Germans and their respective top barges, and beating them in terms of the features and creature comforts offered. But honestly it's all about the money, the fit and finish, the attention to detail, the quality of the plastics, the tactile feel of the buttons. In the end, you get what you pay for.
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Old 21st February 2017, 08:55   #4
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Default re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I would say globally the gap between mainstream models and so-called luxury marquees are reducing (or already reduced). For example, if you look at an international website, an alternative option for a BMW will be an Audi, Hyundai or a VW.
But I believe in the Indian context, the gap is quite substantial because most of the mainstream brands are heavily watered down with the so-called made-for-india configurations whereas the luxury models are fairly same as what you get in International markets, probably because almost all of them are either CKD or CBU.

From a driving experience point of view I feel the brands that has a defined set of values and have their models aligned to that does make a difference. It’s hard to match the driver engagement with reasonable luxury of a BMW 3-series, or the sense of occasion and luxury which a Mercedes C (or even the CLA) can provide. On that note, I actually felt that Audi A3 did not feel any better than the VW Jetta.
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Old 21st February 2017, 10:28   #5
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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.
I drive a Toyota Altis/Nissan Sunny/Honda city and the BMW 320d. So my experiences are limited to these.

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)?
Power: The difference is substantial. As already mentioned it will ofcourse depend on which exact models you are comparing. For instance it is day and light between a Honda city/Altis and BMW. But on the other hand a manual Cruze feels more fast in straight line compared to the BMW. But as a general statement, it is safe to assume still that a difference is there.

Features: Mine is the prestige model and hence it doesn't even have BT connectivity. But even the higher variants and higher models might fall short in this department as today most of the B and C segment cars are fairly well kitted. The difference might only come with top of the line S class/ 7 series segment. Otherwise I feel, the mainstream brands win in this regard.

Ride Quality: I am sorry but the mainstream cars win here again. But then my experience is just limited to the 320d and things might be different with other premium cars. But regardless, on our pothole ridden uneven roads, the Japanese have a far better ride quality according to me. Everyone in my family finds the Altis extremely comfortable.

Build quality: The premium brands definitely take the lead here. You feel really safe inside one. There is no real comparison here. Again VW and Skoda might be quite close but rest of the mainstream cars are far behind in this regard.

NVH: Its again very close. The BMW in my case does make quite a ruckus if the music is off. In comparison the Altis is pretty silent inside. No clear winner here for me.

Acceleration: The premium cars win here hands down. Whether it is 0-60 or 100-160 or beyond, the car just pulls effortlessly. You do not realise how fast and easily you can be moving unless you really look onto the speedometer. The 8 gears might be the reason for this as at even insane speeds the RPM needle is usually lazying down at below 3k rpm since the car just upshifts to the next available gear.

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?
Intracity runs and everyday commute is much better achieved in a mainstream car. The reason being a total lack of driving etiquette that is prevalent on our roads. Getting small dings and scratches repaired on a 10-15L Rs car is cheaper and less painful than on a 30L+ car. Moreover heavy traffic ensures that you are barely crawling and hence all those horses amount to nothing.

The fun begins on open roads, expressways, ghats, good stretches of roads in the city etc. You need not drive at 150 kmph. Even sometimes those short bursts of 0-60 or 0-80 kmph put a smile on your face. The feeling of knowing that "you can" is amazing at times. Even today after owning this car for 3+ years now, I am grinning whenever I find myself right at the front of the traffic on a signal. regardless of how tired I am from work or otherwise. Put the car in sports, music off as the only music you want to hear that time is from the car, give a cunning look to the drivers along side you, ensure there are no bikers crawling around and blocking your launch, and then wait for the signal to turn green! Just makes you feel like you are on the front line of a F1 race waiting for the lights to turn green.

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.
Yes. I still remember the time when I was TD these premium cars before buying the BMW. BMW was the last car that I drove and there was no discussion about features, comfort etc post the TD. This was the car I wanted.

So yes once you should definitely drive these beasts to really understand what power really is!

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?
Yes there is a difference. As I mentioned before, I have driven the manual Cruze. It's tag line was "Diesel rocket" and it surely is one. Infact driving it and the BMW back to back, I felt that the Cruze might be faster and it had that feeling of pushing you back in your seat. But then things end there. The overall stability and how you reach those speeds is what matters. The cruze was a rollercoaster ride whereas for the BMW it was akin to a morning out of the bed Yawn and stretching kind of a feeling. And this is just in straight line driving. Bring in some corners and turns and the BMW is just miles ahead.


Quote:
5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
Actually yes and by a considerable margin. Fatigue levels were similar though.

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?
Plenty. Almost all D segment cars ( barring the Diesel Altis and Hyundai Elantra perhaps). And in terms of features, a humble Tata Tiago might put some of these cars to shame. I remember Audi launched a Q3s variant for its Q3 which did not even have Auto folding mirrors ( and of-course a host of other features).

Last edited by drmohitg : 21st February 2017 at 10:35.
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Old 21st February 2017, 10:59   #6
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Default re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Obviously the basis for comparison should not be too different. (ie. we should not compare a Honda City to a Merc E Class - but may be we can compare the Honda Accord/Toyota Camry to the E Class)

The last luxury car I owned was the Acura TL (270hp - 0-100kph in ~6 seconds). This was in the US.

In India, I have rented the Mercedes GLA from Zoomcar 4 times, each for a duration of ~2 days (long weekend trips) for a cumulative driving experience of ~8 days.

I am going to leave aside interiors and the "feel" of the luxury and just talk about ride and handling and speed.

1. The Acura, and the BMW before it - and other sports sedans that are setup for handling - have very precise chassis setup that lets you get a better feel of what the tyres are doing. They were much better than other brands I have owned in the handling department. However, they were not as good as a Toyota Camry in the ride department. The razor thin tyres and large wheels did not help the ride. So over long distances a car like the Camry was more relaxing than the sports sedans.

2. In India I have gone to the same destinations from the same origin on the same roads in both the XUV and the GLA (6-7 hours of driving). I have reached in approximately the same time in both. Although I have reached slightly more refreshed in the GLA, I chalk it down to the automatic in the GLA vs the manual gearbox in the XUV. However, my 6 year old daughter complained of nausea and car sickness in the back of the GLA each time and is much happier in the back of the XUV (same car seat). The GLA's steering is more communicative than the XUV but that may again be down to thin profile tyres on the GLA.

For me 2 things (other than the "feel" of premium) set luxury brands aside from their mainstream cousins.

1. Features that are not found in mainstream brands (but this feature-gap is narrowing by the year)
2. Performance (outright power, and handling where they have an edge, ride is where the difference is not so much)
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Old 21st February 2017, 11:28   #7
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Default re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

It's a myth that the more expensive a car, the more fun it is to drive.

Give me an Alto K10 with grippy fat tyres and I'll show you how to permanently smile down the Lonavla ghats. For 10 lakhs or in the whereabouts, the erstwhile Polo 1.6 TDI, Liva 1.5 (LOVED that car), Punto Abarth and others are as much fun to drive as any of the mainstream luxury cars (not counting dedicated sporty cars or the likes of the Cooper S here). Power is just right, these cars exhibit good / excellent poise and have a manual shifter .

Of course, the ridiculously overpriced 530d is an awesome machine. Especially on highways & the open road, it offers unmatched driving pleasure. But at slower speeds, in the city and on narrow winding roads, some of the cars listed above offer equal / more pleasure. What will you do with 250 BHP & 500+ NM of torque on a narrow mountain or rural road? Remember, it's better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.

Driving pleasure is not all about the power or handling either. I find immense joy & satisfaction from driving Jeeps, whether it's my ol' Classic 4x4 or the fantastic Thar. These make me smile every time. If I didn't own a Jeep already, a nicely modified Thar would've been parked on my driveway right now. Vintage car enthusiasts derive the same pleasure from classic cars, and nostalgia addicts love taking their Padmini / Ambassador for a spin.

For 4 lakh rupees today, I can build you an immensely fun-to-drive car (used Civic for 2.5 lakhs + mods for 1.5 lakhs). For a handful of lakhs more, I can find you a Laura vRS that will put a 45-lakh rupee C-Class to shame (in terms of driving pleasure)....at <20% of the cost.

I can draw an analogy between cars & food. I relish a 500 rupee meal at Bade Miya (kebabs) or 150 rupee Misal @ Aaswad as much as I would a fine-dining experience at a luxury hotel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
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)?
Astonishing difference in power (6-cylinder diesel), acceleration (0 - 100 of 6 seconds), refinement, the sheer quality, handling, braking, safety tech etc.

No difference in ride quality. The Hexa rides better than my 530d.

Driving pleasure = already addressed at the start of my post.

Quote:
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?
Luxury cars feel 'special', whatever the driving condition. They just have this ability to make every drive an occasion - this is something you won't ever feel in a mass market car. Even in city traffic where I'm perhaps using 5% of the power & torque of my 530d, it's still a pleasurable car to drive and an amazing cabin to be in.

Want to add that most 4-cylinder premium cars are just lame. For true driving pleasure, look at the 6-cylinder diesels or the turbo-petrols. The 4-cylinder diesels are more show than go.

Quote:
So, is there a significant difference between a 130 BHP (mainstream) car and 180 BHP (premium) car in real world city and highway conditions?
H-u-g-e difference. Drive a Hyundai Verna and Octavia 1.8 TSI back to back - you'll know. The acceleration of the latter is brutal. Can make a corpse grin.

Quote:
5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
Have to say yes to the point on fatigue. Wherever we have driven, we always step out feeling as fresh as when we started. The journey is overall more enjoyable in a luxury car (power, refinement, 5-star ambience etc.).

Reaching slower or faster is irrelevant in Indian traffic conditions and on highways. A Honda City can beat a Ferrari in usual highway traffic. If there is a difference, it'll be on arrow-straight roads like the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

Once drove alongside a Cayman which is a far more accomplished car for about 50 km. There was no difference in the real-world performance of either car. In fact, in mid-range acceleration, the Cayman couldn't keep up with the 530d. On a track, the Cayman would murder the 530d. Not so on actual Indian roads.

Last edited by GTO : 21st February 2017 at 11:46.
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Old 21st February 2017, 12:24   #8
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium Vs Mainstream Brands / Models

Very interesting topic. I was reminded of one of my old posts (quoted below) which had a similar underlying thought. I agree on the perspective that with the right set of engine, gearbox, chassis, steering, brakes and tyres combo, even an ordinary car can be fun and feel special. Same goes for ride quality - there can be better alternatives. But if we look for the ambience, some additional features and that extra level of finish, premium is the way to go to feel special. There is no replacement for badge value too. It's like iPhone vs. a top end model from any other manufacturer.

My take away from the above discussion: since premium is not that premium, we can always hire a self-drive car once in a while to keep us happy. For daily use, a regular car which meets our important needs, is sufficient.

PS: My experience with luxury cars has been limited to a ride in an E-class and some extensive travelling in my uncle's Q3. While I loved the quality of interiors, I would to stretch my legs and travel comfortably in an Innova or a City.

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Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
.......
How much of a difference does it make to be driven in a Q7 and an Innova, if I put aside the snob value of those 4 rings? Condition being good city roads and occasional highway runs. If the roads are good, those air suspensions (if the expensive car has one) can't bring in much of a difference to the overall ride experience. If the roads are bad, one may think twice before driving (or being driven) through it in a Q7 vs. an Innova.

Now, what else is better in a Q7 if one is not driving himself/herself? Features and safety. For the former, some of it can be added after-market (sunroof, rear audio-visual screen, window shades, leather seats, etc) while others are difficult/impossible (ventilated seats with electronic adjustments and memory functions, multi-zone climate controls, etc). If one can ignore the second set of features, he/she will find Q7 and Innova to be similar value.

But we still have the safety concerns. Innova had 2 airbags and ABS even on the top model and you couldn't fit additional ones aftermarket. But now, the Crysta has 7, Hexa has 6. They have additional help for their respective ABS equipped braking system. So, this point is no more sour.
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Remember, it's better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.
Isn't it better the other way around? While driving a fast car slow, you are well within (or below) the limits of the car and are safer. While driving a slow car fast, you are near its limits of the machine and are at greater risk (though I agree that it is more fun near the limits). Please correct me if I got you wrong.

Last edited by ashis89 : 21st February 2017 at 12:30. Reason: Multi-quoting
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Old 21st February 2017, 12:40   #9
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Have to say yes to the point on fatigue. Wherever we have driven, we always step out feeling as fresh as when we started. The journey is overall more enjoyable in a luxury car (power, refinement, 5-star ambience etc.)
Would be interesting to know...
1. Why there's less fatigue with 530d & say why more with, say Octavia 190 HP?
2. Assuming all cars are driven with windows up, A/C ON, why there's a feeling of freshness with say 530d & not with say a car like Fiat Linea 125 PS? The roads I'm talking are say from Pune to Bangalore, NH4.

What is that ONE factor that can be attributed to point #1 & #2?
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Old 21st February 2017, 12:48   #10
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Isn't it better the other way around? While driving a fast car slow, you are well within (or below) the limits of the car and are safer.
On typical Indian roads, I can redline regular cars and still be well within the speed limit. Not so in the 530d.

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Why there's less fatigue with 530d & say why more with, say Octavia 190 HP?
1. Refinement / NVH. It's unreal. You are cocooned from the outside world.

2. BMW makes the best seats in the business. They are incredible.

3. Interior quality & ambience. Think of a 5-star hotel room vs a 2-star.

4. Superb highway ride quality.

5. Car is relaxed at speeds that others would be working hard.

6. The 'feeling of occasion' that I mentioned earlier. It's hard to describe, but very obvious to your senses.

7. A gearbox whose shifts one cannot feel.

Then, there are other things like the roll-up window blinds, ergonomically-perfect headrests, rear entertainment screens, superb sound system, soft leather & surfaces and more.
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Old 21st February 2017, 12:59   #11
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4. Superb highway ride quality
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
ergonomically-perfect headrests
Not to disagree, I think, the above 2 points are the KEY things that is unmatched with any other car.

NVH, seats, ambience improvement (say from 2* to 3.5* if not 5*) are something that can be improvised from after market parts. And car relaxed at high speeds (add to that SPEED MASKING) is something that most cars can do like Superb, Octavia etc.

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The 'feeling of occasion' that I mentioned earlier. It's hard to describe, but very obvious to your senses
This feeling of occasion is what I'm looking forward to understand & yes its hard to describe, but, will be good to understand

Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2017 at 10:59. Reason: Small typo :)
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Old 21st February 2017, 13:14   #12
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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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.
Being an owner of the 2016 Skoda Superb, I can tell you that it is easily 90% + of a Merc E / Audi A6 / BMW 5. I test drove all these cars and finalized on the Superb simply because it offered the same driving experience and space at half their price. It even has the largest boot!

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
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)?
I also own a used 2015 VW Jetta. While on the look out for a used Jetta, I came across a 2012 Audi A4. Same engine but definitely lesser interior space than the Jetta. The driving experience was similar but overall satisfaction came with the Jetta.

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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?
This similar experience will only be felt with a Skoda or VW when comparing to the Merc & Audi. BMW has the best driving experience.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
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.
Well if you are an auto enthusiast and drive yourself; you will automatically be either owning or wanting to own one of these cars. My first car was a Premier Padmini followed by a Maruti 800 & Maruti Swift. After the Swift, I bought my first German car the VW Polo 1.6. After that, I couldn't see myself driving a non-German car. The driving experience is un-comparable.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
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?
Yes you have to take into account the torque figures too which will make a significant difference.

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5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
I can swear by this. I have done multiple Mumbai-Igatpuri-Mumbai trips which is ideally around 2.30 hours one way in my Polo 1.6 and 1.45 - 2 hours flat in my Skoda Yeti / VW Jetta.
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Old 21st February 2017, 13:16   #13
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium Vs Mainstream Brands / Models

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
The fun begins in the 100-250 dash
aah, dark side of the Force. I almost never go there. If I've ever crossed 110 kmph, it was by mistake (not looking at speedo, for example).

Can cruisers like me enjoy a powerful premium car? I do enjoy the 20 to 100 kmph dash.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

I find immense joy & satisfaction from driving Jeeps, whether it's my ol' Classic 4x4 or the fantastic Thar. These make me smile every time. If I didn't own a Jeep already, a nicely modified Thar would've been parked on my driveway right now. Vintage car enthusiasts derive the same pleasure from classic cars, and nostalgia addicts love taking their Padmini / Ambassador for a spin.
I can relate to this - in my case, I find driving the 60 BHP A-star quite an enjoyable experience. Initially, I was quite surprised about this as my 1st and 2nd cars were 120 & 130 BHP sedans.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
we can always hire a self-drive car once in a while to keep us happy.
I'm not sure I trust Zoomcar/Myles enough to drive their cars at 100 kmph on our highways. What's the guarantee that the car has been maintained well?

I would rather plan ahead and buy a pre-owned/new premium car if I want that premium experience.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Would be interesting to know...
1. Why there's less fatigue with 530d & say why more with, say Octavia 190 HP?
2. Assuming all cars are driven with windows up, A/C ON, why there's a feeling of freshness with say 530d & not with say a car like Fiat Linea 125 PS? The roads I'm talking are say from Pune to Bangalore, NH4.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

1. Refinement / NVH. It's unreal. You are cocooned from the outside world.
2. BMW makes the best seats in the business. They are incredible.
3. Interior quality & ambience. Think of a 5-star hotel room vs a 2-star.
5. Car is relaxed at speeds that others would be working hard.

Then, there are other things like the roll-up window blinds, ergonomically-perfect headrests, rear entertainment screens, superb sound system, soft leather & surfaces and more.
That's why I specifically mentioned DRIVING EXPERIENCE (all the things GTO mentions in the above post plus driving pleasure) in the thread title and not just DRIVING PLEASURE (power, steering, suspension, handling etc)

Last edited by smartcat : 21st February 2017 at 13:19.
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Old 21st February 2017, 13:21   #14
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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)?
Ans:
Power - big difference (except for the cases of vRS, octy 1.8 tsi)
Features- Moderate but still perceptible
Built quality- significant
NVH- huge (when you compare D to D and P to P; P cant be compared with D)
Acceleration- significant in 100-200 range ( octy 1.8 tsi and vRS are exceptions)

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?
Ans:
Premium cars ( Europeans mainly) make you feel great in all conditions except on broken roads where they make you little worried.

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.
Ans:
With 6 cylinders diesels and above, turbo petrols, the driving experience is completely in different leagues but with 4 cylinder diesels and non turbo petrols (not v6s and above ) its not much different performance wise.

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?
Ans:
Yes with higher powers, performance is also maybe 25% higher but it's my philosophy that if we are going for premium cars get the 6 cylinder and above to truly get the experience worthy of the prices.
For example i will settle with Outlander/Koleos/X trail 4x4 AT for <30 L than getting a Q5/x3 2.0 at 50+ but will definitely buy X3 3.0 or Q5 V6 if budgets permit.

Quote:
5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
Ans:
On smooth 4/6 lane highways with less traffic, premium powerful cars are typically 20%-40% faster in time while giving you higher sense of security and much lower fatigue levels because of cumulative effects of much lesser NVH, great supporting seats/cabin insulation and superior ride / handling setup.
In all other traffic conditions, traveling times are more or less same.

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?
Ans:
1. Octavia 1.8 tsi, laura/octy vrs: These cars will provide 90% of experience that premium cars at 45-60 L provide, maybe at 50-60% prices.
2. Koleos 4x4 AT, Outlander (i own both) and X trail, CRV give 80-90 % of Q5/X3 2.0 experience at 50-60 % prices and koleos even betters them in ride quality and ICE ( bose).
3. Tata Hexa if proves its reliability, should be a good practical alternative at 40% prices for 2.0 D premium cars/suvs for chauffeur driven people to whom brand value doesn't matter.
4. Skoda Superb: 90% of E/5/A6 2.0 and even better rear legroom at 60 % prices.
5. Punto Abarth: i find its braking, handling and stability even better than Octy vrs that i used to own and very much comparable to previous generation 3 series.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2017 at 12:03. Reason: Moving answers outside the quote for better readability
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Old 21st February 2017, 14:05   #15
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
This feeling of occasion is what I'm looking forward to understand & yes its hard to describe, but, will be good to understand
You walk to the car, the puddle lights come on invitingly. Keyless go lets you open the door effortlessly. ORVMs open out. Ambience lights come on to reveal the fine interiors. Seat and steering move to position for easy entry. Push the engine start button and the star trek console lights up. Headlights do a bit of calibration dance. Motorised AC vents and gear shifter open up. Seat belt presenter helps you with the belt. As you put the belt on, it gives you a gentle hug to make sure it is holding you in comfort. Everything around you feels soft and expensive and touch operated. Time slows down. Eventually you start the car and waft along the road fully aware that your lights shine differently than 99% of other vehicles on the road. You are vaguely aware that the air is toxic outside and the noise is maddening but you couldn't be bothered as your best song is playing through dozen speakers.

Finally you arrive at that expensive hotel for a fancy dinner. You are greeted by the valet who smiles more pleasantly than usual. You walk through the impressive lobby to the restaurant. Someone greets you warmly, guides you to your table. Pulls the chair for you. Linen is spotless as you expect and the decor is tasteful. You are particularly impressed by the beautiful flowers on the table. You get appropriate level of attention depending on whether you are with business guests or your spouse or kids.

And then you are woken up by your stupid Moto G phone. It's your boss asking why you are not at work yet.

Last edited by androdev : 21st February 2017 at 14:12.
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