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View Poll Results: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?
Yes 376 52.15%
No 345 47.85%
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Old 25th February 2024, 08:08   #1
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Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

The German trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes are the first brands that come to one's mind when someone considers purchasing a car from a luxury brand. All three brands are known to build cars with excellent build quality, luxury, style, performance and handling.

Mercedes is usually synonymous with comfort, while BMW is with driving pleasure. Cars from these two brands have flamboyant styling and then, there is the badge value. For many, the 3-pointed star of Mercedes has a massive pull. It's the best way to make a statement in India. The technology that we see in Mercedes cars is generally an industry-first too. For driving enthusiasts, the BMW badge is a way of saying, "I know my cars." They have some fantastic engines & gearboxes. Audi offers a mix of both, depending on the model (at least it did earlier). Not too long ago, in India, Audi sold more cars in a year than both BMW and Mercedes. But now, that's no longer the case. The brand has fallen way behind its rivals in recent years.

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?-q3.jpg

Audi's cars are not as flamboyant as their rivals when it comes to styling. But the brand's clean, timeless styling has many fans (especially since the time BMW went all weirdo). Because they stopped giving larger engines in the A4, A6 etc. it can be said that Audis aren't as fun to drive as BMW cars and not quite as opulent as Mercedes cars. Besides, they do not have any diesel cars on sale like their rivals. This limits the brand's appeal. That company which was once the leading luxury carmaker in India has lost a lot of ground to Mercedes and BMW from 2015 onwards (be sure to read this article).

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?-q5.jpg

That being said, Audi still has a lot going for it. Many owners actually prefer the understated and timeless styling of Audis. Then, there is no doubt about the technology on offer and the quality of the materials used in their construction. There is the legendary Quattro AWD system that helped Audi become a big name in the world of rallying. Audi has also made quite a name for itself at the LeMans 24-hour race. Additionally, Audi has (arguably) some of the most appealing EVs on sale in India.

Not to forget, the massive discounts that Audi & its dealerships offer on the model range.

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?-qe.jpg

In CY 2023, Audi saw a massive jump in sales. It registered a growth of 89% and sold 7,931 units in the period January - December 2023. The company registered a 174% growth in SUV sales, while its performance and lifestyle cars, including the e-tron range, grew by 40%. One of the reasons behind this jump in sales is the pricing of Audis cars in India. They are priced a lot lower than offerings from BMW and Mercedes which makes them excellent "bang-for-your-buck" cars. With the available discounts, an A6 can be bought for the price of a 3-Series or C-Class and a Q7 can be bought for GLC money! That's serious value for money.

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?-a8.jpg

That said, for many, the Audi brand is not quite on par with the other 2 German luxury marques. What about you? Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with BMW and Mercedes in the pecking order?

Last edited by Aditya : 25th February 2024 at 08:10.
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Old 25th February 2024, 08:09   #2
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- Count me in as one of those who is in love with Audi's styling, especially its sedans like the A6 which I think is one of the most beautiful ones out there.

- Would I buy an Audi? Depends on the model. A4 = no. A6 = yes over the C-Class, but not the 3-Series. A8 = yes because it's a hell of a lot of fun to drive with that wild motor under the hood. Q7 absolutely yes and a top-pick at the kind of prices it is going for. It was being sold for prices comparable to the new GLC & far lower than the GLE!

- Audi does have its work cut out. It sells FWD sedans vs the competition's RWD. No diesels on offer or big petrols in the affordable range. No one buys Audis without discounts and the brand just can't command the kind of prices that the other two German marques do. That being said, I am very happy to see almost 8000 sales in 2023 for brand Audi. We need more competition in the market...more choices...more marketplace fights only make things better for us customers.

To answer the poll question though, I will vote no. Audi is half-a-level below Mercedes & BMW in my eyes because of the reasons above (heavy discounting, no big petrol engines in the A6 & A4, AWD discontinued in sedans, no 6-cylinder diesels). As an example, a lot of BMW's image has been built on cars like the M340i, 530d, 330i etc.
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Old 25th February 2024, 08:34   #3
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

Most entry level mid end Audi's are jumped up VW's so no, not on par with Mercs or BMW's. Higher end Audi's on the other hand are great - I absolutely love the Audi RS6 Wagon and is my fav ever. Nothing from Merc or BMW is close.
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Old 25th February 2024, 09:04   #4
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

I personally think it is the age that plays a role when it comes to choosing the 3 Germans.

All 3 are capable cars and I sometimes think they are all owned by one entity but made to have their own unique brand following fan groups. It is like comparing between the ME3 carriers ( Emirates ,Qatar, Etihad) and asking to choose the best of the three.

A grey haired senior person who has a chauffeur always wants to tell the society that he has arrived would go for the BLACK Mercedes S class with the star glaringly visible to all.

A middle aged petrolhead who wants to tell the world that he enjoys driving his car for sheer driving pleasure even though he can afford a chauffeur would go for BMW.

A young guy who just came out of the campus and is new to the corporate world and would want to start career and look successful would go for Audi as first car.

Pls check the below ad:
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Old 25th February 2024, 09:52   #5
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

Interesting thread and timing! I recently drove the A4 and was genuinely impressed with it. It's bigger and more powerful than an A Class (a car that's similarly priced) and costs a lot less than a C Class. And a Q7 at the price of a GLC is a no-brainer.

Yet, the perception of brand value (and to some extent the VW group horror stories) mean that the overall brand experience is not on par with Mercedes here in India.

I think the salaried class would prefer Audi for the VFM factor. And that includes me.
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Old 25th February 2024, 10:07   #6
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

For a salaried class well-off person who plans his expenses, Audi is the best bet. He can get models of Audi in respective segments at 8-12 lakhs bargain in comparison to Mercedes and BMW.

In recent times Mercedes and BMW have raised their prices very much which I don't think is fair.

I will seriously consider Audi when I am in the market in the future for buying a luxury car.

Last edited by vattyboy : 25th February 2024 at 10:33.
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Old 25th February 2024, 10:50   #7
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

Excellent thread. This is something I've thought over and at times discussed with a few as well.

Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?
If I buy an Audi as my next car tomorrow, and I may, It will only be for the significant discounts over their peers. Knowing for fact they build as good If not better quality parts only makes this decision certain for me.

It is my opinion that Audi is on par with Mercedes and BMW in every imaginable way If not exceeding them, especially on the earlier mentioned interior quality and general build point, better in every way all except brand equity.
Even for someone who is said to be not as brand conscious as myself I feel at this price point 'image' starts to matter. Whether a person admits it or not..

A good point was mentioned in your post Aditya, either is known for some thing. Driving pleasure or associated with comfort and Audi isn't known for either of them.. perhaps the jack of all trades? I'm not even sure.
If tomorrow Audi got cocky and there was price parity I would absolutely lean towards either Mercedes or BMW as my next vehicle. No doubt about that.

What does one summise the state of Audi in India? a complete and utter failure in marketing?
Would be interesting to hear peoples opinions.
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Old 25th February 2024, 10:51   #8
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

Voted No.

In my opinion, Audi started consistently lagging behind from around a decade ago (not just in India, but globally). There was a time when Audi was last word in luxurious clean lines and elegance, when it comes to interiors (among the German trio). Since then Mercedes and BMW have constantly improved on, and now BMW interiors feel an entirely different level, with Mercedes closely keeping up. And the so-called timelessness and understated elegance have silently transformed into boring and uninspiring (this I see as a common problem with VAG cars from Audi range and below). With exteriors Mercedes is going pretty well with its designs, and BMW have gone even further to create some heavily polarizing designs (mostly wacky).

In their current line-up the sedans are comparable to Toyota – efficient, comfortable, and mundane (the entry-level A3 probably is an exception). And in the closely contested small/mid SUV space, they are seriously lacking. Q2 I think may not see another generation, Q3 and Q5 lugging along as ageing warhorses, without any specific USP. I feel now Volvo and Lexus are much ahead of Audi when it comes to the luxury space.

One area where Audi has probably got it right when compared to its German rivals are in the EV space, at least on the design front.
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Old 25th February 2024, 10:59   #9
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

Voted Yes:

No matter how good the car is, if at the end of the day it's priced beyond the reach of mid level general populace, then all positives seem moot.

What i love about Audi first and foremost is Price and Maintainance. Their portfolio has cars for almost every need. They have some cars as comfortable as a Merc, some cars as fun to drive as a BMW(almost).
And due to VAG part sharing, the Maintainance is also easy on the pocket compared to other duo.

If I'm getting close to 80% Merc and BMW, the same safety and quality and cost accessibility to many people, Audi takes the cake.
And it's still counted as the big three despite all against it
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Old 25th February 2024, 11:15   #10
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

No. Audi, at its best, can be regarded as a 'discount-luxury' brand in India. They ruined their positioning way back in 2015.

The current hierarchy in India looks something like this.
  1. Range Rover = Porsche
  2. Mercedes > BMW > Land Rover
  3. Audi > Volvo
The brand that punches above its weight in India is Toyota in the luxury space, with products like the Vellfire and the Land Cruiser.

The best barometer is to look at what celebrities are buying today. Audi Q7 was the darling of A-list celebrities in India when the first generation was launched. Now it is the Range Rover and the Mercedes GLS Maybach. However, for airport runs, no one can beat Toyota Vellfire, 'luxury on wheels', not even Mercedes S class.

Last edited by pqr : 25th February 2024 at 11:32. Reason: More content.
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Old 25th February 2024, 12:24   #11
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

The problem with Audi is that it just shares too much with its lesser VW siblings. While this was not a problem pre-dieselgate, as the superb quality was maintained thru and thru in all VW products, post-dieselgate things turned for worst.
Severe cost-cuttings, heavy un-reliability, FWD drive-train and increasingly cheap feeling interiors where a lot of soft touch materials has been replaced with hard plastics, is the reason i do not feel Audi is now at par with Mercedes or BMW.
Don't get me wrong, all manufacturers are cost cutting, but the shear scale of VW group is second to none, not even sparing their premium brand.
They still have fantastic designs, but have lost their individuality. They have become more of a glorified VW than anything.
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Old 25th February 2024, 12:28   #12
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

I've voted no. The most fundamental difference that prevents me from considering them as equal to Mercedes and BMW is the fact that Audis (with the exception of cars like the R8 and those with full-blown quattro) are front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive, making them resolute understeerers.

However, the line between these characteristics is blurry today. From reviews, the new 5-series seems terribly prone to understeer, despite being RWD based, while also having a very vague steering. Additionally, many cars which built BMW's reputation in my eyes are now discontinued in India (and some globally).

The traditional "Audi=sensible+understated, Mercedes=opulent+exquisite and BMW=engaging+tasteful" really doesn't seem to hold true for these current generations, necessitating a fresh start for comparisons. While I adore the W212 interior, I'm really not a fan of the swathes of gloss black plastic and gigantic screens in today's Mercedes.

I know the poll isn't about whether I'd prefer them over Mercedes and BMW, but looking at the way BMW's designs (exteriors and interiors) and Merc's prices (and interior quality) have gone, I might actually prefer buying an Audi (in India at least). So despite not thinking of them as equals, a decision in my best interest would be in Audi's favour. Peculiar situation indeed!

Last edited by GForceEnjoyer : 25th February 2024 at 12:37.
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Old 25th February 2024, 14:41   #13
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

I think this question needs to be divided into two parts.

1. Comparison in India: Despite our family owning an Audi, I do agree that it is half a notch below BMW and Mercedes in India owing primarily to the half-baked product lineup which includes lesser (read - less powerful) engine tunes, lack of diesels, lack of Quattro in the sedans which contributes to the lower prices and high discounts.

While BMW and Mercedes launch new generations of their mainstream products in India within a year of the global launch, Audi takes its own sweet time. Currently, the A4, A6, Q5, A8 are all the last generation models as compared to BMW and Mercedes.

2. Comparison across the World: All across the world, all three brands have an equally strong following and fan-clubs because of the availability of the more exciting Audi models. As a result, they are also priced on par with BMW and Mercedes.

For example - The A4 in India is 10 lakhs cheaper than a 3 series but in Europe, you get a 245 hp A4 with Quattro for the same price as a 330i.

All in all, they are considered peers everywhere in Europe and most of the world.

With regards to part sharing with VW: I find the Audi bashing because of part sharing to be highly hypocritical and biased.

A 2 million dollar Bentley Batur has the same Steering wheel switches and Layout as the modest Audi A4.

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?-picsart_240225_100928622.jpg

How does it matter if they are both of a very high quality? The Audi RSQ8 and Lamborghini Urus share most of their parts. No one is bashing Lamborghini for it. It is well known that you can buy pre-owned Bentleys and Lamborghinis and then use spare parts from VW because even the part numbers are same.

If Bentley and Lamborghini think these parts are good enough for them, why shouldn't Audi think so? It is only natural that the VW group will use the economy of scale.

When Lexus shares its parts with Toyota, that is seen as a positive instead of cost cutting. But when Audi shares it with VW, it becomes a reason to bash them. If it is of a good enough quality, does it matter that some other car also uses it?

When the new generation of the Audi lineup is launched in India, it will be closer to the BMW and Mercedes prices for sure. So enjoy till the discounts last
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Old 25th February 2024, 15:18   #14
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

No, for the same reason Volvo sedans aren’t considered : They are all FWD or FWD biased. Once you move above the 2 series and A class, they are not comparable.
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Old 25th February 2024, 18:13   #15
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Re: Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?

To my eyes, Audis look as flamboyant as its German peers. And we can no longer use the adjective 'timeless' designs either - thanks to big gaping chrome grille and angry looking headlights.

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?-new-audi-q7-2.jpg

The last clean/timeless Audi designs were in early 2000s:

Do you consider brand Audi to be on par with Mercedes & BMW?-audi_a6_c5_front_20081009.jpg
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