Team-BHP > What Car? > Luxury, Imports & Niche

View Poll Results: Your choice?
Mercedes C-Class 26 9.42%
BMW 3-Series 162 58.70%
Audi A4 31 11.23%
Volvo S60 5 1.81%
Lexus ES - Larger, but similarly priced 21 7.61%
Audi A6 - Larger, but similarly priced 30 10.87%
Other - Please specify in your post 1 0.36%
Voters: 276. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 19th May 2022, 12:25   #1
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Default Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-mercedes-cclass-comparo.png

Mercedes C-Class

What you'll like:

• Stunning looks & design . Matched to solid build quality too
• Premium quality interiors, supportive seats, filled with technology
• Useable rear seat, with better legroom than before
• Wide range of engines; powerful 265-hp C300d for enthusiasts, workhorse C220d and a C200 for sedate drivers
• Smooth & competent 9-speed AT gearbox
• Well-damped suspension offers mature ride quality
• Fun to drive (with the right engine)! Communicative chassis & excellent high-speed manners
• The C220d (especially) & C200k are reasonably fuel-efficient for the segment
• Equipment such as seat kinetics, latest-gen MBUX, panoramic sunroof, memory seats, electric steering adjustment…
• Top notch safety kit, runflat tyres, powerful brakes & a suite of electronic aids to keep you safe

What you won't:

• C200 petrol’s 1.5L drivetrain feels just about adequate. Best for chauffeured use or for calm owners
• There is no bigger or more powerful petrol engine option (like the C300d)
• Rs 55 - 61 lakh ex-showroom pricing is stiff! We find it overpriced
• Boot space (already at a premium) is drastically impacted by the spare wheel on the floor
• Better as a 4-adult seater than 5
• BMW’s 330i is the more fun-to-drive petrol sedan
• IMHO, the faux leather seats just don't cut it at this price point (3-Series gives real leather). No ventilated seats either
• Styling is more of an evolution than a revolution. Also, looks very similar to other sedans in the Mercedes range
• While it’s not unusual for premium sedans, you need to be careful on bad bumps. This car with 4 people and luggage bottomed out a few times during our Mussoorie drive

Link to Official Review

BMW 3 Series
Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-img_3409.jpg

What you'll like:

• Just the right size for a luxury sedan for India
• Punchy rev-happy engine & well-tuned gearbox deliver superb performance
• Great combination of ride and handling; just how a 3 Series should be
• Big step up in interior quality & design (from the F30)
• Loaded with tech, new style speedometer & more. iDrive 7 is nice to use

What you won't:

• Sad boot space with the spare wheel underneath
• Features like keyless entry, HUD, Adaptive LEDs are expected at this price
• Rs. 47 - 53 lakh price is stiff, although fat dealer discounts are available
• Fake engine noise piped in; tad too fake for our taste

Link to Official Review

Audi A4
Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-audi-a4.jpeg

Link to BHPian sauravpat's Ownership Review

Volvo S60

What you'll like:

• Astonishingly handsome styling! The Volvo S60 looks absolutely fabulous
• Solid build quality is very satisfying
• Sweet-looking cabin that’s loaded to the gills with features. Has sufficient room too
• Spectacular Harman Kardon sound system. Easily the best ICE in the segment
• Smooth & peppy 2.0L turbo-petrol engine mated to a competent 8-speed AT
• Sorted ride & handling. The S60's high speed stability is excellent too
• Euro NCAP's 5-star safety rating & loads of tech like adaptive cruise control, pilot assist, lane-keeping aid, collision mitigation support (front) etc.
• Depth of engineering that is as good as the best from Germany

What you won't:

• A FWD car in a segment where RWD is the norm
• Power & torque figures are lower than the competition
• No diesel engine on offer with the Volvo S60. Those with high running will look elsewhere
• The rear seat is placed too low, under-thigh support is poor and the floor hump is too big
• The S60 is missing some features like paddle shifters, 360-degree camera, cooled seats...
• Volvo's thin dealer network in India
• To many people, the Volvo brand doesn't have the badge cachet of the German marques
• Not as exhilarating to drive as the BMW 330i which is the segment benchmark

Link to Official Review

BMW M340i xDrive

What you'll like:

• Ferocious 6-cylinder turbo-petrol motor with 382 BHP on tap! Lives for 7,000 rpm
• All-wheel-drive gives the BMW M340i leech-like grip & solid stability levels
• Sporty, well-tuned exhaust note is addictive at high revs
• The ZF 8-speed AT is the best gearbox in the segment. Fast & smooth
• 0 – 100 in 4.4 seconds with 4-door everyday practicality. Go touring with the family!
• Lovely cabin, premium build, very supportive seats & a fab driving position
• BMW’s strong track record for reliability (among the luxury marques)
• 5-star NCAP rating, awesome brakes & a laundry list of safety equipment

What you won't:

• Ride is much firmer than a regular 3-Series. Liveable, but you feel everything on the road
• Sad boot space with a spare wheel
• We don’t like the radiator grille, same rim design (as the 330i) and gunmetal-coloured ORVMs
• Rear floor hump is enormous! Car is better as a 4-seater than 5
• Your fuel costs will be a lot higher than say, a 530d
• Runflat tyres come with many compromises, wear out soon & are expensive to replace
• We hate the all-digital instrument console. Also, the rev counter is weirdly inverted
• Some irritants such as the lack of keyless entry (!!!), w-i-d-e 6 meter turning radius & annoying speed warnings

Link to Official Review

Lexus ES

What you'll like:

• Funky styling stands out from the crowd. Decently priced for a CBU too (imported as is from Japan)
• Hybrid powertrain with good low-end torque and a butter-smooth CVT gearbox
• Very good for city usage due to mileage and comfort offered
• Loaded with kit (heated and ventilated front seats, 17-speaker sound system, heated and reclinable rear seats)
• Lexus' track record of reliability & exemplary customer service

What you won't:

• Weird front styling not to everyone's taste
• Not as much fun to drive as its German competitors
• CVT can get lazy & noisy with a heavy right foot
• Unintuitive infotainment system with a touchpad that is poorly positioned for a right-hand drive vehicle
• Tiny sales network. Period

Link to Drive Report

Audi A6
Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-a6-side-mod.jpg

Link to BHPian hrk997's Ownership Review
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Old 19th May 2022, 14:15   #2
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Lots of good choices for sure in this segment now! And every car brings something unique to the table. My vote is simple:

Diesel = C300 AMG. Absolutely love what Mercedes has done with the new C-Class. The styling, interiors, it's more fun-to-drive, adults can now actually sit on the rear seat and that 9-speed gearbox. I drove the C300 and it is a w-i-l-d car. Perfect suspension tune + sharp brakes + nice steering.

Petrol = M340i for just 5 lakhs more than the C300. This car is a monster; more power than you'd ever need on Indian roads, leech-like grip and daily-driver usability.

If my running was a lot (2000+ km / month), I'd get the C300 as powerful diesels give you the best of both worlds (performance + efficiency). But my running isn't that high and I can live with 4 kmpl, hence it's the M340i for me.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd May 2022 at 11:58. Reason: One more thing
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Old 19th May 2022, 14:44   #3
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
But my running isn't that high and I can live with 4 kmpl, hence it's the M340i for me.
Wait a minute ! With almost 14 months of ownership of the M340i I have NEVER witnessed a 4 km/l figure. In Mumbai City, with mixed driving / mild traffic one can easily achieve anywhere between 6.5 to 9 km/l. In fact on highways when driven well it can achieve 14 - 15 km/l too.

Here are a few examples;

Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-4ad5455de9284833911ac7fe8b4000f0.jpg

14 km/l on a 200 kms stretch achieved by a M340i owner in our group;

Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-photo20220513114706.jpg

Another one of our group cars achieved 15.6 km/l over a 250km stretch;

Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-photo20220402160559.jpg

^ Note: Its an M340i but has an Alpina cluster coded.

Note: Didn't mean to go off topic but that 4 kmpl figure can be misleading hence thought il contribute/clarify.

Last edited by karan561 : 19th May 2022 at 15:10.
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Old 19th May 2022, 18:42   #4
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
Wait a minute ! With almost 14 months of ownership of the M340i I have NEVER witnessed a 4 km/l figure.
Am speaking with her continuous on the redline, bud. I've seen 4 - 5 kmpl when continuously redlining the M340i.

it can achieve 14 - 15 km/l too.
17.xx kmpl on my 530d too, when driving easy on the highway. But with my regular hard driving style, the 530d gives ~6.xx kmpl in the city (max 7).
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Old 19th May 2022, 18:55   #5
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

As someone with an Audi A4 MY2022 in the family, I can declare that the 3 series and C Class are definitely a little better equipped and snazzier to look at. They are also better for snob value. When driven hard they will likely be more fun as well.

The only area where the A4 is definitively superior according to me is the ride quality which is perfectly balanced and specially tuned for Indian conditions.

That being said, factoring in the discounts that Audi is generally offering, the OTR Maharashtra pricing for the A4 is 47/51/54 for the three variants, all of which have the same drivetrain. This means that the A4 is around 10L cheaper than the equivalent 3 series and around 15L cheaper than the equivalent C class.

The A4 is competing with these two on every front except the price Even the 2 series and A class cost more than the A4 Mid Variant. I can objectively say that these RWD competitors (3 and C) are better than the A4 which is sadly only FWD but are they worth the extra 10-15L? Definitely not.

The price difference has become so big that there will almost be no cross shopping. For instance when we bought it, our upper limit was 45L OTR and hence we didn't even bother checking the C and 3 series since they would cost a minimum 55 OTR. Anyone shopping in the 40-55 range should pickup an A4 while someone in the 55-70 range will go for the latter two.

Will include a likes and dislikes section like the other cars for everyone's convenience here. For more details of course you can go to my review linked above.

What you will like:
  • Suspension and ride is perfectly suited for our roads
  • Technology variant has every single feature expected at this price point for Rs. 6-10L cheaper than competition
  • VFM compared to competition
  • Boot space much better than competitors
  • Build quality is amazing. No squeaks and rattles.
  • High Fuel Efficiency for a large turbo petrol

What you won't like:
  • Understated looks. Will not stand out during the day among competition
  • Similarity to Octy, Superb with respect to the parts bin
  • Understeer when driven hard due to heavy front end
  • Oldest generation amongst all its competitors. B9 was launched in 2016 internationally.

With regards to the perceived similarity between the Skoda sedans and the A4, it is pertinent to note that the similarities end with the part origins. The smoothness of the gearbox and responsiveness of the engine along with the design of the interior and feel of plushness is much better. Link to Hormazd Sorabjee's review detailing the same -

The A4 looks like it is aging gracefully with its elegant proportions and minimalist design.

Last edited by sauravpat : 19th May 2022 at 18:58.
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Old 19th May 2022, 19:04   #6
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Not that I can afford one, but since this is a hypothetical poll (I took the liberty to assume so ), my choice, without a doubt, would be BMW M340i.

The performance of that car is astounding. But that is just one of the many strong points. This car is very practical (except for that small boot space), and is surprisingly robust even on all sorts of typical bad roads we face in our driving conditions. It also amazes me how reliable this car is for the kind of power and the technology that it hides under the hood. And to top it all, it looks great too. Very sleek, modern, and yet clean & proportionate design! The car is a looker from every angle.

It goes without saying that the car is crazy fast on tarmac. But in addition, it can take you to even a beach like this:
Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-20220416_124925.jpg

And can even find a place next to an SUV even in a jungle:
Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others-dsc_14632.jpg

It would be hard to find another car under Rs. 1Cr budget that offer such combination of performance + practicality + reliability + clean and classy looks. Therefore, this is my vote.
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Old 19th May 2022, 23:19   #7
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Great comparison Aditya, definitely lots of choices. I'm in the midst of finalising my first car in this segment and its not easy. Perfect choice would be the interiors and equipment of the Merc with the engine of the 3 series. Any such options?

Last edited by Axe77 : 20th May 2022 at 12:28. Reason: Minor formatting edit and removing “…..”
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Old 20th May 2022, 06:57   #8
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Let me start with excluding options first:

Volvo XC 60: Deal breakingly cramped back seat. Ruled out.
Audi A4: I would consider this only as a step up if I was buying a Superb / Octavia - not as an alternative to 3 or C.
Audi A6: I’d rather buy the LWB 3 in petrol or diesel.
Lexus ES: At that price, I’d rather buy the LWB petrol or diesel 3 series, if seeking comparable back seat comfort to the ES. If petrol hybrid is important, I’d buy a Camry instead (differential money saved can buy a 20 - 25L superbike or a Thar or an EV hatch, just for some giggles on the side - an option that’s hard to ignore)

Now coming to the real comparo - the 3 and the C.
I LOVED the new C and it is absolutely stunning. From an interiors standpoint it is head and shoulders above the competition and the entire ride and handling package is also VERY mature. BUT, to me, the two biggest deal breakers are - price; and spare wheel lying loose in an already cramped boot - (been there, living through the wheel in boot irritant, albeit without the size problem because my GT boot is ginormous!).

For every C class out there, I can imagine a variant of the 3 series that makes more sense.

C200 petrol: Hands down, any day I’d rather buy the regular 330i - lower price and MUCH better performance. C will win notably on better fuel efficiency (FE). If FE is very important I still get better performance and FE by picking the regular 320d

C220 diesel: Regular 320d; for better performance and lower price. Long wheelbase (LWB) 320d; for better performance, MUCH better comfort and (presumably - I haven’t checked exact on road prices —>) comparable price.

C300 diesel: I’d either pick STONKING, completely different league performance via the M340i instead. If FE / diesel is a BIG factor, I’d buy save “SOME” money / a “LOT” of money and buy the petrol 3 series in LWB or regular guise. Gets me a product that’s not far in the performance metrics from the 300D and saves enough money in the bargain to neutralise the fuel price difference.

The C has priced itself into a very narrow band of use case. It will be picked by those who’re not looking at this thread. They want a Mercedes and Mercedes alone and they are shopping, perhaps, either only for a C class - price no bar - or for different Mercedes models at various price points. On any performance vs space vs value metric, there is some variant of the 3 that makes more sense than the C - period!

Last edited by Axe77 : 20th May 2022 at 15:45. Reason: Minor drafting edits. Typos in C class variant nos.
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Old 20th May 2022, 07:21   #9
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Always liked the BMW, but this time have taken an exception and voted for the C. The car looks stunning interiors, classy and modern exteriors, and oozes quality all over. That 1.5L C200 may sound extremely inadequate for its class, but if I am buying this in say Kerala, that 200bhp output is more than sufficient I guess. The sense of occasion is much higher in the C when compared to any other cars in its segment.
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Old 21st May 2022, 13:45   #10
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Off the lot, I will take the BMW 340i.
Audi A4:
For: Best overall package, decent engine, good interiors.VFM
Against: Staid, dated styling, engine hardly exciting in the category.

For Style, refinement, interiors.
Against: C200 is again just sufficient in power. 300d, while exciting, costs much a lot and still with lower performance numbers. Why not 340i then?

For: styling, reliable, luxurious interiors and decent engine
Against: Did you say it's FWD?

For: Composed and refined ride, reliable.
Against: I believe they lack sportiness and handling of rivals. CVT in this category? Seriously?

Have to agree BMW ticks in almost all categories.
Even 330i is very quick. If budget is not a concern, M340i is good choice but one has to find roads to justify that engine in India.
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Old 21st May 2022, 18:10   #11
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Given my driving style : a decent amount of cruising with the odd bursts of speed - I would either pick up the 330i or the A6 (just for the added practicality given dad and I are both 6' + it's something I wouldn't mind handing over to the driver too - at the moment, I prefer taking the S Cross / Corolla when being driven around over the C & 3).

That being said, while I have voted for the A6 - the M340i if in budget would be the pick - a short drive in one was fun enough to continue using the other cars when with chauffeur / family.

The ES, though not something I would want to wake up at 5am on a Sunday morning, is a good all round family car. Far better than the 3GL and the C Class.
Perfect for the chauffeur to ferry everyone around the city in!
Just a few months back the ES was more expensive than the pre-facelift E Class and still had its takers with minimal discounts, etc.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 10:03   #12
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Looking from the perspective of the average buyer in this segment (a professional with a young family like me), and especially a first-time luxury car buyer, what the C has going for it are badge/ snob value, styling, and better interior layout for the major major part. But the 1.5 L petrol and fake leather are let downs. The diesels though are good enough.

What the 3 has in its favour is the driving dynamics. And this generation has better styling and interior quality than the last one.

A4, though amazing value has styling that feels a bit dated now and the badge value has slipped. In fact the A limo and 2 series are similarly priced to the A4 now.

If I were to decide alone, I would but the 3 for myself. But if I take my family along to test drive these cars, my hunch is they will definitely choose the C for its badge and the nicer feel inside-out.

I think despite being quite over-priced, the C will continue to be segment leader.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 10:48   #13
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

BMW have simply nailed it with the current G20 3 series. The design, the balance and the performance is next to none in this segment. Interiors are subtle yet beautiful, amazing choice of engines and reliability. My choice would be the M340i. Period.
I was in the dilemma to go for it but head ruled over heart and I bought the 530d M Sport LCI face-lift for 7 lac more a few months ago.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 11:16   #14
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Out of all the cars here there is almost no competition, the BMW M340i xDrive is the best car here by miles.

Sure other cars do other things better but all of that is irrelevant with what is under the bonnet of the M340i, the magnificent 3.0 Turbo B58 Inline 6 cranking out 380hp and mods can easily push that number well past 500. When choosing a car or a motorcycle I always ask myself two questions. "Which one of these will make me giggle the most when I get on the gas?" and "How does this car/motorcycle connect with me on an emotional level?", M340i does that better than any car on the list.

I would avoid the A4, Volvo and Lexus. The A4 is more of an upgraded Octavia/Superb rather than a proper 3 Series or C-Class competitor, the Volvo is a good car no doubt but I feel like the others (*cough* BMW 330i Sport *cough*) are just so much better, if you want the comfort and reliability of an ES300 you can get it with a 20 lakh discount and it's called the Toyota Camry and I'd use that 20 lakh to buy a Thar or a nice Adventure bike (Africa Twin or the Multistrada V4) or a Sportsbike (ZX-10R or the Hayabusa). Won't comment on the A6 as I don't know much about it.

The only other car I would consider here is the C300D but that fills a very specific niche of the Diesel drivers car but otherwise I would take Bavarian Inline 6 Turbo 11 times out of 10.

Last edited by GreasyCarb55 : 22nd May 2022 at 11:22.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 11:21   #15
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Default Re: Mercedes C-Class vs BMW 3-Series vs Audi A4 vs others

Audi A6 handsdown for me.

It has way better road presence than all the other entry level german cars mentioned.

It's way bigger too in terms of size, the feel when you get while sitting in the driver's seat of A6 > 3 series, c class. Rear seat space is generous too.


Excellent equipment level.

Great engine and gearbox.

Value for money when compared to C and 3 series.
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