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Old 26th September 2010, 16:57   #1
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Default Mercedes C-class vs BMW 3-series vs Audi A4

Hi All:

I am contemplating upgrading from my 2004 Honda Accord AT (which I bought second-hand) to one of the three below:
  1. Mercedes C-class
  2. BMW 3-series
  3. Audi A-4
I've seen a few threads on similar topics below so I know some of this might be repetitive but please bear with me.

I am not a huge speed merchant and this is more for style and comfort as well as general driving pleasure. I am currently in Gurgaon but am likely to be based in Bangalore by early next year. The car is likely to be used mostly for city-driving and the odd long-distance trip either to Chennai or to Kodaikanal etc. It will most likely be self-driven but I might have the driver occasionally. I will drive it about 70% of the time and my wife will drive it about 30% of the time but all these are preliminary thoughts.

I am interested in knowing the answers to the following questions:
  1. Which is the best car in terms of reliability, maintenance and general quality?
  2. Which is the best car for the use I've outlined above
  3. Within these families, which versions (petrol vs. diesel and which particular model) should I look at closely?
  4. Any serious maintenance related issues on any of these? How often do they need fixing / servicing (is it the advertised 15,000km or is it far more often?)
  5. The Audi and the BMW have a 2-year warranty, while the Mercedes has a 3-year unlimited mileage warranty so that seems to be a plus. Each of them also talk about specific insurance packages but are any of them particularly great or poor?
  6. Is there any particular benefit to the FWD of the Audi vs. the RWD of the other two?
  7. Is there a specific reason to buy new vs. used? I've heard some horror stories about how even reputed dealers mess with the odometers and that you can never be sure on the mileage - how common is this?
  8. Finally, is it easy enough to buy a car in Gurgaon/Delhi and ship it to B'lore and register it there? Or should I wait a few months and then do this when I move?
I've had some absolutely awful service at the Courtesy Honda place in Okhla and I've been very disappointed with the overall Honda service in the NCR. I've been a long-time Accord owner for about 10-years now with two in the US first and then one in India and I've loved these cars but I've been very disappointed with the service here.

Thank you all in advance for your time and responses.
Satyaki
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Old 27th September 2010, 09:24   #2
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sraghunath:
If you want unmatched driving pleasure, look at the 320d CE or Highline. BMW also offers BSI packages where they will take care of any problem and all services for a period of 3 or 5 years. I believe tyres are not covered under this.
For style, comfort and a good driving experience, look at the Audi A4 2.0T Petrol, or one of the diesels. However, not too sure of the A.S.S. and reliability.

Spares will be expensive.
Look around the forum for ownership experiences, and similar queries.
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Old 27th September 2010, 09:45   #3
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I suggest, you hold off till you move to Bangalore- you do not want to pay life time tax twice, 18% in Bangalore

Either the Audi or Merc fits your bill
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Old 27th September 2010, 15:57   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sraghunath View Post
I am currently in Gurgaon but am likely to be based in Bangalore by early next year.
As Ajmat posted, wait till Bangalore happens.

Quote:
Which is the best car in terms of reliability, maintenance and general quality?
BMW = Their reliability (though far from spotless) is better than the Mercs & Audis. Plus, the 5 year all-inclusive maintenance packages lead to trouble free ownership.

However, the 3 series is also the oldest in the group and, honestly, feels outdated. It has the smallest interiors, the stiffest ride quality and the heaviest steering. Not really a car you'd enjoy driving in the city.

Test the C Class & A4; either is better suited to your requirement. Also, I'd highly recommend a used E Class or 5 series (for the same / lower budget).

Quote:
Within these families, which versions (petrol vs. diesel and which particular model) should I look at closely?
Europeans = Diesels.

Quote:
Any serious maintenance related issues on any of these? How often do they need fixing / servicing (is it the advertised 15,000km or is it far more often?)
Make sure to choose the maximum warranty offered. BMW gives you (optional) 5 years, Audi 4 and Mercedes 3.

Don't expect Accord-like reliability though. The Germans are complicated, throw tantrums and bills are huge.

Quote:
Is there any particular benefit to the FWD of the Audi vs. the RWD of the other two?
If you are an enthusiast, you must go the RWD way. If not, it won't make a difference to you.

Quote:
Is there a specific reason to buy new vs. used?
The entry-level Germans - with their 30 lakh rupee price tags - are WAY overpriced. Used = Better value. To know how to get a great pre-owned deal, search our forums.
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Old 27th September 2010, 16:10   #5
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I agree, wait till you are in Bangalore. There will be more options then.

only FOR the reason BMW will be coming up with the new 3 series, I think you should postpone the purchase if you can. Else get the 320d and forget the rest.

As I believe let the heart always win. It is more fun and mind will make up logic any which way
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Old 28th September 2010, 14:36   #6
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All:

Thank you for the responses and your views. I will wait till I relocate as you suggest. In the meanwhile, I will drive all of the versions you've mentioned to see how it feels and then see which one feels the best too.

One point - some of you mentioned a used 'E-class' or a used '5-series' - are there reliable single-owner cars of this type that I can possibly buy? Does this forum offer people like me the opportunity to possibly meet such buyers?

I've always bought used cars and am personally fine with that and had good experiences in the US but am not so sure here in India.

Thanks,
Satyaki
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Old 4th October 2010, 17:05   #7
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After getting used to the Accord, you will find all 3 on your shortlist a size smaller and not luxurious. Since your priorities are style and comfort - a Superb or Passat or Teana will get you everything else than the badge in a lower budget

7. Choice of new v/s old depends on leasing and interest rates (used = exorbitant)

8. Why not buy a Merc/BMW/Audi dealer certified pre-owned from Gurgaon or Chandigarh (cheapest) and re-register in Bangalore? This would be relatively cheaper to Bangalore used car (ridiculous) prices
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Old 5th October 2010, 13:53   #8
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WOW that is some dilemma

1. Wait till the time you reach bangalore, and then decide what car you want to buy - bangalore traffic is quiet bad these days so i heard, so buying a HUGE care won't make much sense.

2. If you are not too brand conscious, I agree with AirWind - chuck all the three out of your consideration list, and look at the Skoda Superb. Brilliant car when it comes to comfort. A.S.S. might be tacky.

3. If you want a car with a premium badge attached, then I strongly recommend you try the Audi A4. Excellent car, handles well, its more comfortable on the rear seat compared to the C - Class OR the 3 - series (if you ask me, the rear seat passengers in these 2 cars are the unwanted ones)

4. Buying a used car makes more sense as these cars depreciate a lot. And though buying one from Chandigarh/Delhi and then registering it in Bangalore would be more cost effective, but do you really want to go through that kind of hassle? I still feel that even if you end up paying a small amount extra in bangalore, for a bangalore used car it makes much more sense. You can get in touch with the pre-owned dept. of merc/bmw/audi dealership. For all you know, you can also get a warranty from them.

5. The 3 series as mentioned by GTO looks quiet out-dated now. And in my opinion the A4 looks the best. See it with it's headlamp's LED on, and you know you want that in your car!!

6. Interior wise (aesthetic), you might find the Audi A4 a bit boring as it's all black in silver - no beige to give that plush feeling we all relate to. BMW's interiors are for the big boys. simple yet they look plush. C-class looks the classiest on the inside. There is this joy one experiences when they see the 3 pointed star on the bonnet while driving.

all in all you have to decide which is your top most priority. if i were you, i would have chucked all these cars out and simply bought the Prius. IF not that, then it would have been an audi A4 hands down. subtle but still great looking. amazing to drive. comfortable interiors. and ohh those sexy headlamps!!
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Old 13th November 2010, 23:45   #9
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I had a similar choice (in US). I went for C300 4Matic Sport.

I did TD all three. All of them drove well (of course) but BMW and Audi were too harsh for my liking (may be age?!?). I really liked the C300 looks plus wifey loves the three pointed star!
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Old 30th January 2011, 08:47   #10
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Default Re: Help with buying - Mercedes C-class vs. BMW 3-series vs. Audi A-4

Nothing to add that hasn't been said already here sraghunath. Wait till you move- an HR26 registered car will attract the authorities' attention and sooner or later you will have to bear the STEEP cost of re-registering in Bangalore. And do consider a used 5 or a new Superb (the highest end fully loaded DSG variant is a masterpiece IMO!). All the best!
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Old 11th March 2011, 10:35   #11
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Default Re: Help with buying - Mercedes C-class vs. BMW 3-series vs. Audi A-4

Hi guys, am a new member here and based in Sydney though from Goa.
To your queries, I can speak for a 3, the build quality is especially striking and the driving dymanics across all the 3 models is really good. As for petrol v/s diesel, in India I would say go with the 320d diesel to lower fuel costs plus has more torque and can be tuned to achieve amazing power if mods are of any interest to you.
Else the petrol 320i too packs quite a punch and is not too thirsty plus has good low end take off power since is a petrol engine. Both the 320i and 320d should be low on maintenance compared to a 6 cyl engine ona 325 and up. As for servicing, the car has condition based servicing by which the cars computer determines the service timing of so it will pop up codes on the console when parts get worn out or a major service is due. While dealership servicing costs are dear try taking the fixed price maintenance plans since electronics can go bad and there can be some nasty bills when things go wrong, you'll never have the reliability of a Japanense car but the driving pleasure is a class apart. As for tyres, I recommend replacing them with cheaper non-runflats both for a better ride and since a single punture on a run flat usually means you have to replace the tyre with a new one which costs about 15-20K.
Also check if you can import genuine parts and give to your dealership to install, will save you heaps. Not an Audi fan since out here in Australia they are usually refered to as hairdressers cars giving them a feminine hue, not sure what the brand image of an Audi is there though. As for the new v/s used, a BMW is a tough car so as long as it has not been thrashed by the owner you should be fine even with a used one if get a good deal with extended or current warranty still on. All the best in your decision, sorry if I sounded one sided but am a BMW fan.
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Old 11th March 2011, 11:00   #12
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Default Re: Help with buying - Mercedes C-class vs. BMW 3-series vs. Audi A-4

Wow... Battle between the three germans...
If Bmw was not coming out with the new 3er.. i would have suggested it right away.. but i am sure you dont want to buy a luxury brand car and six months later there is a new model out.
The problem with audi is that their base models are FWD. And Quattro is way expensive for a compact four door car(you can get a 520d for almost the same price). Moreover Audi's diesel powerplant only produces 140hp against bmw's 184 and merc's 177.
Merc C is the best option if you are hell bent on buying the car right now. Its luxury, comfort and powerful. Not the best driver's car though.
I would suggest you to wait for the new 3er to launch. It looks promising from the early renderings. But don't expect the CE too soon as BMW will try to skim the market with the highline models.
I would recommend not to consider superb as it is not in the same league and most importantly not a driver's car.
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Old 11th March 2011, 11:21   #13
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Default Re: Help with buying - Mercedes C-class vs. BMW 3-series vs. Audi A-4

True Mike89, waiting for the F30 makes the most sense I guess since he'll get 7 years to enjoy the model before he can think about upgrading again and wants to keep it that long. The Merc C again is a great car but a bit for old at heart types, car choice is an expression of ones personality I guess.
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Old 14th March 2011, 18:59   #14
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Default Re: Help with buying - Mercedes C-class vs. BMW 3-series vs. Audi A-4

I would agree that if you do not mind waiting the f30 would be the best option. After doing a reasonable amount of research, I gather the new 3 will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012. I am guessing it would take at least 3-4 months to get here and by the time you really get your hands on one (6-8 weeks)it should be Sept 2012.

That said, When you are just waiting to get your first BMW, its difficult to be so sensible and wait that long. (although that would be practical) I had booked a 3er CE last month. I just switched to the highline this morning and expect delivery in about a week. I could not wait .

I think the other option is getting a pre owned 5 or even a 3 for two odd years makes perfect sense as well. I came across some sweet deals.
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Old 25th March 2011, 07:34   #15
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Default Re: Help with buying - Mercedes C-class vs. BMW 3-series vs. Audi A-4

I'd suggest going in for the Mercedes. The new C is an awesome car, and we've had C-classes from the first time they were introduced in 1994. Dad has bought and sold about 7 C-classes till now and he has enjoyed driving everyone of them. The latest one we have is the 2010 C220 CDI. Very very economical to drive and maintain, and excellent comfort (go for the Avantgarde edition with leather). I can tell you from experience and a very long ownership history that the Merc is the way to go.

(I've never driven an Audi A4, but have been in one..I prefer the Merc over the Audi). I have driven a BMW 320d..it is a nice car but the interior is not as classy as the Merc or the Audi.
Sorry if I sound like a C-class fan but after having owned and driven one for such a long time (even though they have all been my dad's cars..I still 'owned' them haha as I used to drive it all over and never let my dad drive)..I don't think I'll feel comfortable in any other car
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