Battle of the Giants: Which European Automaker Comes Out Tops

European automakers are renowned all over the world for the premium, high-quality vehicles that they manufacture. There are scores of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi SUVs all throughout the USA because of how exceptionally these premium cruisers hit their marks. Even the most affordable offerings from each brand, such as the BMW X1, the Mercedes A-Class Sedan, and the Audi A3 sedan offer nothing less than premium. Though these brands do reside in the same classification, each one offers its own, unique appeals in the design, technology, and value of their cars. Here, we briefly go over what these three European brands are about, the best qualities each has to offer, and the general drawbacks each may possess, too. 

BMW

BMW’s cars are known for their aggressive demeanors and sporty, highly capable performance proficiencies and handling characteristics. They are cars designed specifically for car and driving enthusiasts alike, but they aptly cater to those that seek a certain level of comfort and luxury, too. Along with those qualities, BMW’s are also known for their solid all round reliability and top-notch safety standards. There are a vast array of models to choose from in the range, too, from sports cars, coupes, and convertibles to crossover SUVs, sedans, and even a hatchback, all ranging from compact to executive full-size.

Pros

  • Menacing and combative aesthetics
  • Enjoyable and poised performance
  • Modern and well-built interiors

Cons

  • Some BMW’s are restricted to FWD
  • Options and packages are pricey
  • Practicality is low on the priority list

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has been around for nearly a full century and has over all those years mastered the craft of automobilia. The German automaker is best known for its focus on class and luxury with its array of premium and expensive vehicles in just about every segment. Today, there are a variety of specializations in the automakers range – from performance-focused to pure luxury and even utility purposed vehicles. There is also the AMG division of Mercedes which focuses on developing high-performance versions of certain nameplates. Whatever the case, Mercedes-Benz’ cars are some of the best on the road and well-worth their high MSRP’s.

Pros

  • Prodigiously sophisticated aesthetics
  • Refined and ultra-luxurious ride quality
  • Extensive variety of options

Cons

  • Even the base model of the cheapest line is expensive
  • MBUX infotainment system isn’t the most user-friendly
  • Optional cosmetic add-ons and features are expensive

Audi

Audi’s stand out from its premium competitors for being a little more affordable while offering the same level of class, luxury, and quality. The brand also has a good selection of options in its range though nothing in the utility (pickup truck and van) segments. Audi even offers a selection of supercars such as the R8 coupe and RS e-tron GT. Audi’s cars are also praised for their contemporary and classy cabins and high-grade technologies, particularly the digital driver display found in the TT line and newer nameplates.

Pros

  • Sporty yet still very classy aesthetics
  • Fun-to-drive and well-balanced ride
  • Contemporary and well-specced interiors

Cons

  • Like any luxury car, Audi’s depreciate very quickly
  • Not the most durable or reliable cars out there
  • Options and additional packages are pricey

Not for Everyone

These premium cars from all three these European automakers may be some of the more expensive options out there, but they really do have a lot to offer when it comes to driving pleasure and luxury. They’re not perfect, however, and their cars may just not be for everyone.

All three of these brands are dropping manual gearboxes in favor of automatic transmissions. Yes, this is happening throughout the industry with the electrification of cars and the massive improvements in electronic transmissions, but there are some automakers, particularly from Asia, that are still obliging to the traditionalists. For some, there’s just nothing better than a burly engine and the raw, mechanical feel of a manual gearbox.

These brands also don’t offer the most economical cars out there, with even some of the budget-friendly, mainstream automakers offering cars that deliver better fuel economy figures, whether it’s their electric, hybrid, or gasoline-run offerings. Cars from these brands, with their focuses being on performance or luxury, are equipped with powerful engines for either competitive or easy driving, both come at the cost of gas mileage.

Finally, with just how much these vehicles cost and considering their penchant for on-road performance – whether it be for competitive driving or for delivering as much a luxurious ride quality as possible, nobody is going to want to take them off of the beaten path. They are simply just not designed for off-roading and those who like to tackle rough terrain will want to spend their money on something that can handle that sort of challenge.

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