Audi, BMW or Mercedes: Which is Best?

A white Mercedes car, black BMW and white Audi parked in a row under a blue sky
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When deciding on a new luxury car or high-quality vehicle to line your driveway with pride, there’s no denying that three brands stand out prominently: Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz

These German manufacturers have carved their names deep into the automotive world over the years, forging a rich and dynamic rivalry both on and off the racetrack. Each offers a blend of style, performance, and advanced technology, crafting some of the most celebrated vehicles on earth. 

If you're in the market for a vehicle where no expense is spared, this guide will help you navigate the world of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Here, we explore their exclusive features, distinct character and overall quality so you can decide on your next big 4-wheeled investment.

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Audi, BMW and Mercedes: The history of three iconic German car brands

 A black BMW parked on a dirt road with a bare tree on the left of the shot slightly out of focus

Before we compare three of the best luxury car brands and their many models, let's delve into the rich histories of these automotive heavyweights, by looking at the routes that have shaped their identities and the innovations that have put them in pole position.

Audi

Previously part of the Auto Union brand, Audi began in 1909 and was known for advanced engineering. Its engineers introduced Quattro all-wheel drive, making cars safer and more comfortable. In recent years, Audi has focused on luxury and technology, creating stylish cars and advanced features. 

It is a premium brand favoured by those with a taste for innovation and high-quality vehicles.

BMW

BMW started in 1916, making aeroplane engines during World War I. After that, it diversified into the manufacture of motorcycles and, shortly after, the cars we know and love today.

Now BMW focuses on technological innovation, with electric vehicles like the i3 and luxury SUVs.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz started in 1926, combining two famous car brands. It pioneered luxury cars with a focus on comfort and elegance. Known for innovation, it introduced safety features like airbags to the market. 

Today, Mercedes Benz symbolises prestige. It offers top-tier vehicles with cutting-edge technology and (in the eyes of some) unmatched refinement.

Which brand is best? Audi vs BMW vs Mercedes

A white Audi parked on a rooftop car park with a glass skyscraper in full sunlight behind it and a puddle reflecting both the car and part of the building

Let's step up a gear and look at some of the finer details of these iconic car models.

Here, we'll break down and explore the brands' focus on handling and comfort, speed and acceleration, safety ratings and features, fuel economy, interior detailing, exterior and bodywork, price, electric models, luxury features, and which is better for racing.

Handling and comfort

A black Audi alone on a road at sunset. The roadside is lined with brown grass/foliage and there are dark green trees in the background

When driving, handling and comfort must be at the forefront. Luckily, if you're in the market for a luxury car, you'd be making a fine investment whether you opt for an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz.

Audi

This manufacturer has honed a reputation for offering a balanced blend of agile handling and comfortable ride quality. The brand's Quattro all-wheel-drive system provides exceptional traction and stability, enhancing the handling characteristics of Audi vehicles. 

Audi's suspension balances responsive cornering and absorbing road imperfections - resulting in a confident and composed driving experience. The interiors of modern Audis offer a calm atmosphere, with attention to noise isolation and luxurious comfort.

Rating: 8/10

BMW

Known for "sheer driving pleasure", BMW's approach to handling and comfort is what makes it stand out among the rest. Its vehicles provide engaging driving dynamics, with precise steering and agile handling. 

While BMW models lean more towards sportiness, they still offer a comfortable ride, especially when equipped with adjustable suspension systems. The driver-centric design extends to the interior, where BMW offers supportive seats and intuitive controls for a comfortable and engaging driving experience.

Rating: 10/10

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz prioritises an elegant and comfortable driving experience. Meticulously designed, the brand's suspension systems ensure a smooth ride, even over rough surfaces. 

Its range of models often excels in providing a quiet and refined cabin environment, with premium materials and advanced features contributing to overall comfort. The Air Body Control suspension, available in specific models, allows adaptive and customisable ride settings to match different driving preferences.

Rating: 9/10

Speed and acceleration

A white BMW driving quickly down a road with trees and buildings blurred behind it

What's driving without a bit of revving? These newer, more intelligent models boast quiet engines; however, one can still pretend.

Audi

Audi models, particularly the high-performance RS variants, boast impressive speed and acceleration capabilities. Quattro all-wheel drive contributes to the launch and grips off the line, allowing for rapid acceleration even in less-than-ideal conditions. 

Models like the Audi RS7 and RS6 Avant demonstrate Audi's commitment to blending raw power with all-wheel-drive traction for exhilarating acceleration. 

Rating: 8/10

BMW

BMW's focus on driving dynamics extends to speed and acceleration. The brand's M models offer impressive acceleration and speed capabilities while maintaining precise handling characteristics. Models like the BMW M5 and M8 showcase BMW's dedication to providing a high-performance driving experience without compromising on luxury and comfort.

Rating: 7/10

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz AMG division specialises in delivering speed and acceleration that matches the brand's luxurious image. AMG models have powerful engines and advanced drivetrain technology, resulting in rapid acceleration times. 

The AMG GT, for instance, showcases the brand's ability to combine performance and style in a package that delivers thrilling speed on demand.

Rating: 9/10

Safety Rating

A white person’s hand holding a black Mercedes car key with their hand hovering over the unlock button. The interior of the car is blurred but visible in the background, including some of the dashboard and steering wheel

Safety is the most significant component of a car since it will shield its passengers and drivers from harm. Vehicles must have crucial safety features, including crumple zones, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and seatbelts.

Audi

Known for being equipped with advanced safety features that contribute to their strong safety ratings, Audi’s commitment to innovation extends to safety technology, with features such as lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and autonomous emergency braking available across the lineup of vehicles. 

Rating: 9/10

BMW

Integrating cutting-edge safety technology into its cars and bolstering their safety ratings, BMW’s safety features encompass everything from active steering interventions to advanced driver assistance systems. The brand's commitment to safety is evident through its robust construction and incorporation of safety technologies, continually contributing to positive safety ratings and overall peace of mind.

Rating: 9/10

Mercedes-Benz

Its comprehensive suite of advanced safety features reflects Mercedes-Benz's  long-standing emphasis on safety. From intelligent driver assistance systems to collision mitigation technologies, its models prioritise occupant protection and accident prevention. 

Mercedes prioritises safety with its innovative approach and reputation for producing vehicles with strong safety performance.

Rating: 9/10

Fuel Economy

A black and white photograph of an Audi car grille and its silver logo featuring four rings. Another car and its front right wheel are partially visible, but blurred, in the background

Fuel economy is vital in cars due to its impact on cost savings and environmental concerns. Improved and advanced fuel efficiency is significant during the manufacturing process for luxury car models.

Audi 

Audi offers a range of engines that balance performance with fuel efficiency. The brand's engineering expertise has led to the development of machines that provide respectable fuel economy figures without sacrificing power. 

Audi's commitment to efficiency is particularly evident in its plug-in hybrid offerings, allowing all-electric driving modes to reduce fuel consumption during regular commutes. 

Rating: 8.5/10

BMW

BMW's EfficientDynamics initiative highlights the brand's commitment to optimising fuel efficiency across its lineup of vehicles. BMW offers a range of engines with various levels of efficiency, from efficient diesel options to plug-in hybrids. 

Models like the BMW 330e and X5 xDrive45e demonstrate BMW's efforts to provide fuel-efficient alternatives without compromising on performance or luxury.

Rating: 9/10

Mercedes-Benz

The range of Mercedes-Benz models often feature advanced engineering and aerodynamics contributing to competitive fuel economy figures. The brand's diverse lineup includes efficient diesel and hybrid powertrains, catering to drivers seeking a balance between performance and fuel efficiency. 

Models like the Mercedes-Benz E 300e and GLE 350de showcase the brand's dedication to offering eco-friendly options.

Rating: 7/10

Interior Detailing

 interior of the front of a Mercedes Benz car, with red seats, a mahogany-style dashboard and steering wheel

BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi are known for sheer luxury, focusing on creating a pleasant cabin experience through the finer detailing of the car’s interior. 

Audi

Modern design and premium materials mark the internal detailing of an Audi. 

Clean lines, high-quality finishes, and innovative technology create an inviting cabin environment. The virtual cockpit and MMI infotainment system offer advanced interfaces that blend seamlessly with sleek interior styling.

Rating: 8/10

BMW

BMW's interior detailing focuses on a driver-centric design and a harmonious blend of technology and comfort. The brand's iDrive infotainment system is integrated seamlessly into the cabin, with intuitive controls and a modern aesthetic. BMW's premium materials and ergonomic design enhance the overall interior experience, reflecting the brand's commitment to luxury and performance.

Rating: 6/10

Mercedes-Benz

Meticulous craftsmanship and attention to luxury characterise a Merc. The brand's design philosophy centres on creating a harmonious space with high-quality materials and elegant finishes. The MBUX infotainment system takes centre stage, offering intuitive controls and a customisable digital interface.

Rating: 9/10

Exterior and Bodywork

A silver Audi parked on concrete under a pink pastel sky

Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW are celebrated for their impeccable exterior and bodywork craftsmanship. These three brands prioritise sleek and contemporary designs, showcasing elegance and sophistication.

Audi

The brand's models often showcase clean lines, distinctive LED lighting signatures, and a modern aesthetic. Audi vehicles balance sportiness and elegance, with aerodynamic considerations contributing to form and function. 

Its commitment to exterior design extends to features like frameless windows and integrated rear spoilers, which add to the overall aesthetic appeal.

Rating: 8.5/10

BMW

BMW's exterior design focuses on a balance between athleticism and luxury. The brand's signature kidney grille, sleek headlights, and aggressive stance give BMW models a distinct and recognisable presence on the road. Dynamic body lines and sculpted surfaces contribute to the sporty yet sophisticated appearance of BMW vehicles. 

The attention to aerodynamics and bodywork design reflects the brand's commitment to driving dynamics.

Rating: 9/10

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz external design language marks sophistication and luxury. The brand's models exhibit a sense of timeless elegance combined with modern elements. From the iconic three-pointed star emblem to the bold front grilles and sculpted body lines, Mercedes vehicles exude a sense of prestige and refinement. 

Attention to aerodynamics and exterior detailing contributes to both the aesthetics and performance of these stylish vehicles.

Rating: 9/10

Price

A close-up shot of the white and blue BMW logo on a black car covered in raindrops

In the world of luxury cars, indulging in opulence means the price must take a backseat to ultimate automotive extravagance. 

Audi

Audi's pricing varies depending on the model, trim level, and optional features chosen. Its current vehicle lineup typically starts around £30,000 for an entry-level model like the Audi A3 and can go well over £100,000 for high-performance and luxury models such as the Audi RS and Audi S lineups.

Rating: 8/10

BMW

BMW's pricing structure encompasses a variety of models, trims, and optional packages. The brand's range includes accessible options and high-performance models, allowing for flexibility in pricing. 

The price range for a BMW varies widely depending on the model and specific features, but it typically starts around £35,000 and can go up to well over £150,000 for a  high-performance, luxury model like the BMW 7 Series or the BMW M8.

Rating: 6/10

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz vehicles are available in a wide range of price categories, reflecting the diversity of the brand's lineup. Mercedes offers options for different budgets, from entry-level models to the famous Mercedes C Class and flagship luxury vehicles.

The starting price for some of the more affordable Mercedes-Benz models like the A-Class or the C-Class can be around £36,000 to £45,000, while its high-end models like the S-Class or the AMG performance models can cost well over £100,000 and even exceed £200,000 for specific models.

Rating: 7/10

Electric Models

A close-up shot of the silver and black Mercedes logo on the front of a black car. Part of the grille is slightly orange as it’s pointed towards the evening sun out of shot

As the automotive industry shifts toward electrification, all three brands have taken steps to introduce electric models into their lineups.

Audi

Audi boasts a commitment to electric mobility, evident with models like the Audi e-Tron. The e-Tron lineup includes all-electric SUVs that offer impressive performance and advanced technology. Audi's electric models prioritise sustainability without sacrificing the luxury and driving dynamics the brand is known for.

Rating: 9/10

BMW

BMW's electric vehicle offering includes the BMW i4 and the BMW iX. These electric models combine BMW's signature driving dynamics with electric powertrains, providing an enticing balance of efficiency and performance. The iX, for instance, offers a luxurious interior, advanced technology, and a long electric range.

Rating: 9/10

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has entered the electric vehicle space with models like the EQC and the upcoming EQS. These models bring the brand's luxury and advanced technology to the world of electric mobility. The EQS, in particular, is poised to offer a luxurious electric driving experience with cutting-edge features.

Rating: 8/10

Luxury Features

A black Audi steering wheel with the silver Audi logo featuring four rings in the centre.

When you speak to the owners of an Audi, BMW or Mercedes, you'll know they enjoy a world-class level of comfort and luxury when in the driver’s seat. 

Audi

Audi boasts luxurious interiors with meticulous attention to detail, created using premium materials with a modern design - these cars are an exceptional luxury. The advanced technology creates an inviting cabin environment. Audi owners experience the brand's commitment to innovation in features like the virtual cockpit, which offers customisable digital displays. 

Rating: 9/10

BMW

BMW's interior detailing exudes sophistication. The brand's commitment to driver-centric design is evident in features like the metallic steering wheel and the intuitive iDrive infotainment system. BMW's luxury features enhance the driving experience and provide a harmonious blend of technology and comfort.

Rating: 8/10

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz sets a benchmark for luxury with its high-quality materials, exquisite craftsmanship, and attention to interior comfort. Showcasing the brand's commitment to advanced technology through the MBUX infotainment system, which integrates seamlessly with the luxurious surroundings.

Rating: 10/10

Which Brand is Better for Racing?

A close-up of the back of a red Audi racecar, with the black spoiler, black logo and left tail light visible

Each brand showcases a variety of models that are well-equipped to deliver exhilarating performance for those seeking thrills on the track.

Audi

Audi's performance-focused RS models, equipped with the Quattro all-wheel-drive system, offer exceptional grip and agility on the track. The brand's reputation for all-wheel-drive excellence translates well to performance-oriented driving, making it a solid choice for track enthusiasts.

Some notable models include:

  • Audi R8 GT3: This is a popular choice for GT3-class racing worldwide, known for its impressive performance and aerodynamics.
  • Audi RS3 LMS: This model is a popular option for touring car racing, known for its balance of power and handling.

BMW

BMW's M division is synonymous with high-performance driving. M models are engineered for precision and handling prowess, providing an unmatched driving experience on the track. Rear-wheel-drive dynamics, advanced suspension systems, and raw power characterise BMW's approach to performance.

Some notable models include:

  • BMW M4 GT3: Designed for GT3 racing, this model boasts a powerful engine and advanced aerodynamics.
  • BMW M6 GTLM: If you enjoy track racing, you might recognise this model in endurance racing, including the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Mercedes-Benz

While Mercedes-Benz is known more for luxury, its AMG division and Mercedes Benz C class bring a dose of high performance to the lineup. AMG models offer powerful engines, agile handling, and sport-tuned suspensions. These models testify to Mercedes' ability to balance performance and luxury.

Some notable models include:

  • Mercedes-AMG GT3: A highly successful GT3 racer known for its power and aerodynamic performance.
  • Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM: Used in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM), this model showcases the brand's racing prowess.

The verdict: What car manufacturer is best?

The front-facing view of a black Mercedes car, with silver detailing around the grille and headlights.

If you're seeking the epitome of luxury, Mercedes models should be your top choice. On the other hand, if prioritising driver comfort is your goal, a BMW could be the perfect match. However, if you prefer a balanced blend of both worlds, Audi offers sleek styling and a wealth of advanced technology to satisfy your needs.

However, the choice between Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz ultimately comes down to personal preference and priorities. Each brand offers unique qualities, whether it's Audi's technological innovation, BMW's driving dynamics, or Mercedes-Benz' refined luxury. 

The best option of modern models from all three manufacturers combines advanced technology, luxurious interiors, and impressive performance, ensuring you'll experience the utmost driving pleasure no matter which brand you choose. 

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FAQs

Which is better; BMW, Mercedes or Audi?

Determining which brand is better among BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi largely depends on individual preferences and priorities. Each brand has its strengths and weaknesses. BMW is often associated with sporty performance, while Mercedes emphasises luxury and comfort. Whereas Audi combines modern design with advanced technology.

Is Audi as luxurious as BMW?

Both BMW and Audi are known for their luxury features and interior quality. Audi offers a range of high-end models with luxurious amenities, making it a comparable luxury brand to BMW.

Which brand is more reliable; BMW, Mercedes or Audi?

Reliability can vary between models and years, but generally, all three brands have a reputation for producing steadfast vehicles when adequately maintained. It's essential to research specific models and consider factors like maintenance history and customer reviews when evaluating reliability.

Is Audi more luxurious than Mercedes?

Both Audi and Mercedes-Benz are considered luxury brands, and the level of luxury often depends on the specific model and trim level. Mercedes-Benz emphasises traditional luxury and comfort, while Audi often focuses on modern design and advanced technology.

Who sells more: Audi, BMW or Mercedes?

The sales performance among these luxury cars can fluctuate yearly and by region. Historically, Mercedes-Benz has been a strong contender in terms of global sales volume, often surpassing BMW and Audi.


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