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Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series vs Mercedes C-class shootout 1 web

Threatened by their more affordable siblings, the three German luxury sedans reinvent themselves.


The luxurious Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class executive sedans had been reaping good numbers for the three German automobile manufacturers till they were the most affordable way to own these prestigious brands. However, once more pocket-friendly models like the A-Class, B-Class and 1 Series hatchbacks and the Q3 compact SUV entered the market, the executive sedans started to feel the heat. This time the pressure wasn’t just from rival brands, but from within the stable itself. The three executive sedans had to justify their Rs 40 lakh (OTR) tag, and just a bigger body shell wasn’t going to be enough. Thus in came special editions and new variants with better features and more powerful engines. The time is ripe to pit the A4 2.0-litre TDI with improved performance against the BMW 320d and Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI, which until now was less powerful than the other two.



Perhaps, one of the most important aspects for this segment is to look the part. Apart from being upmarket and dynamic, the main job is to distinctly personify the brand. One look at the silhouette and it should clearly reflect the brand design, thereby adding to the pride of ownership.

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series vs Mercedes C-class shootout 3 web

The A4 remains true to this definition the most, as the Audi family design can be easily identified and it closely resembles its elder siblings, the A6 and A8. The clear-cut hexagon grille and a sleek pair of headlamps with snazzy day-time-running LEDs give the A4 distinguishable Audi facial features. The simple alloy wheels shod with fairly tall 225/50 R17 tubeless tyres may not enhance the aesthetic appeal, but, more importantly, improve the ride quality to a great extent. Its sharp creases and high shoulder-line give the car a classy yet understated appearance, which majority of the Audi aficionados appreciate.

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series vs Mercedes C-class shootout 2 web

I find the BMW 320d to be the spunkiest here. Little details like the slight bump on the hood, sleek headlamps that remind me of frowning eyes and narrow kidney-grille make the most aggressive face in this lot. The five twin-spoke alloys look smart and come with 225/50 R17 run-flats. These along with deep shoulder-lines that meet the flared tail-lights give the BMW a unique character. It’s definitely the sportiest design.

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series vs Mercedes C-class shootout 4 web

In terms of design, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class looks a bit dated now and pretty soon the all-new ‘C’, with strong design influence of the S-Class, will replace this one. It’s a sober design with fairly elegant lines. The car we tested was a limited edition, ‘Edition C’, which comes with AMG style front and rear apron and side sill panels, along with a massive star on the front grille flanked by darkened headlamps. The two-tone 17-inch five-spoke alloys and low-profile 225/45 R17 tyres in front and wider 245/40 R17 on the rear wheels lend a bit of sportiness to the ‘Edition C’.


About the author: Jim Gorde


Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia


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