Buying my first entry-level luxury car: BMW vs Merc vs Audi

The Jeep Compass ticked all my boxes, however, the Audi Q2 being offered at mouth-watering prices became hard to resist.

BHPian Luke1972 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Well, I have joined this forum quite recently and am pretty eager to get the knowledgeable opinion of fellow members regarding my dilemma.

Currently, I drive a Honda City 2007 model and due to our environmental laws, it would not be possible to continue driving the same from next year onward. I embarked upon a hunt to change my vehicle and got drawn in by various posts in this forum about the various vehicles and having read umpteen reviews of the different vehicles started my journey of vehicle finalization for the last 6-7 months.

Initially, I was waiting for the Kushaq and Taigun. The launches have left me underwhelmed, especially the Kushaq with the fit and finish and omission of the safety kit. I paid a visit to the nearby Jeep dealer and was reasonably impressed by the fit and finish and the safety equipment on offer. Though the Jeep Compass ticked all my boxes however since I was taking things leisurely, I came across several posts regarding the availability of the Audi Q2 at mouth-watering prices. Lured by the prices I started on thinking about the Q2.

Further on visiting the showroom saw the Q2 and there were some minor points like:

  • CBU unit so there may be long delays due to parts unavailability (again fewer nos sold).
  • No rear AC vents or grab handles (felt that this should be standard equipment), MY 20 model.

Next to the Q2, the A4 was being showcased which felt like a nice executive sedan (I felt that it was a little large for use on as a daily commute). The interiors were top notch and it surely felt luxurious. After considering the A4 and with the BHPian's buying the A4 at good prices I really looked long and hard at the A4. Since the OTR had now stretched out thought to have a look at the competition i.e. the Mercedes A-class and BMW 2 series before taking a call.

Visited the dealership and the 2 series and the A-class seem to be a perfect size (a wee bit smaller perhaps, but I was happy with the size). The 2 felt sporty and the frameless doors left me drooling. The A class in my opinion had the better interiors and looked like a more complete package. Well now with the above shortlist and with the family members throwing the X1 and GLA into the mix I am pretty confused (I like sedans however the ingress and egress of the SUV's are easier).

The dealerships have informed us that they would send across the offers in a couple of days as the October offers are awaited. I have not test-driven any of the vehicles, will do so in the coming days.

Here's what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

I’ll say it bluntly. Nobody should ever waste their money on the 2 Series or A-Class. They are cramped, they are uncomfortable, they are massively overpriced and are not proper Mercs or BMWs. Why even bother? You can buy the far more spacious and premium Audi A4 for about the same price. It’s the best car you can get for Rs 40 - 45 lakh.

Here's what BHPian ajmat had to say on the matter:

Agreed with Shreyans_Jain, I have been looking to upgrade from the Jetta

  • BMW 2 Series- nice car but not worth the money. Not seen any on Bangalore roads. That says a lot. Everything aft of the B pillar is a joke.
  • Mercedes A-Class - Surprisingly good but not 54L worth. Again, petrol is bound to run out of breath on a highway. Also, during a morning walk, while bleary-eyed, I wondered why the rear of a Verna looked bloated, it was an A-Class.
  • Audi Q2 - looked at it- it is a capable hatch but not worth it unlike the price is reduced
  • Audi A4- Best of the bunch - still expensive in Bangalore. Great in town but when we “over” ran in Manson's new car in Belgaum, we found it was rather bouncy at speed and it understeers. Okay to drive calmly though.

Here's what BHPian rahulkumarin had to say on the matter:

We were in a similar quandary just a fortnight back. You can read more about it Here (The 'Garage dilemma' thread: Buy / sell / keep / shuffle my cars).
Replacing a Honda City is not an easy thing to do in my own experience. I have TD'd most of the above cars you have mentioned and here are my observations

  • Q2 and A4: Q2 was the most cramped car amongst all we tried and A4 and Q2 both being the only petrol we tried did not have the initial torque we experienced in the other cars. With a lot of city driving that was an important factor for us, it might not be for you. If the backseat is of less importance and you are fine with low ground clearance and petrol performance, A4 is one of the most compelling buys. The 39-40L OTR that was publicised on the forum might not be available through but still even at 1-2L more it is still a good value for money buy.
  • 3 Series: We got the TD the 3 LWB (D version) which due to the length we were not very comfortable with. It was still a pleasure to drive and with steering which was very light at regular speeds, it also is easy to drive in the city. My mother however rejected its basis the fact that she found ingress at back extremely uncomfortable. ( She is 5'2" for reference).
  • A Class: Besides the badge value and the better interiors ( A4 is much better by the way) A class did not feel like much of an upgrade to us from the Honda and even the salesman agreed to it.
  • GLA220d: The best of the lot hands down for us. It drove well, was spacious enough for 3 at the back and the overall drive was silent ( for a diesel) and drama free. Body roll was the only thing observable that can cause discomfort at times but that too is manageable. If it was not for the absence of rear hand rest and that our ride would be chauffeured a lot we would have ourselves gone for it even at a huge premium to our selection.
  • BMW X1 20d: While it does not have the looks of the GLA both inside and outside ( personal opinion) and rides a bit harder than the GLA it feels like the perfect tradeoff between comfort, drive characteristics and space. Oh, and the steering I felt was the heaviest of the lot as well on the X1.

Our experience in BMW has been very good so far. We asked for fast delivery and between the (booking)RTGS transfer and getting delivery of the vehicle, it was just 1 day in between. We chose black this time for our vehicle, though white was in close consideration as well. The family did not like the blue.

One thing to note is that we replaced our 3rd Gen Honda City with a 5th Gen one and this was an additional heart overhead purchase. Though the booking for City was made before the X1 we are still to receive the car yet (it is scheduled for tomorrow).

PS: Personally, if you ask me after having driven these cars, I would say a Honda City offers almost 80% of what these cars offer at 1/3 the price. The rest you are paying for the badge and the 20% extra. The tradeoff with luxury I felt is in the size department as to when you move to E class/ X5 etc that is where you really get the pampered feel, to begin with. Like yourself, we wanted something more manageable to drive (size-wise). Hope the above helps but test-drive everything and then let your needs determine what you get.

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