Ask BA

June 12, 2012

Audi or BMW?

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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So BA: Audi vs. BMW?


The short answer… MERCEDES!

Here is some background:

Audi, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are all German automakers. Of the five, only BMW and Mercedes are independently owned; Volkswagen AG is the parent company for Audi, Porsche and VW. Having said that, there are a number of caveats to consider…

Every German car I’ve driven has been solid and a joy to drive – more-so than any other carmaker. But, they’re also one of the most difficult cars to service. Not sure if the problem is unskilled mechanics or the technology, but, they just can’t seem to get it together.

They’re also the most costly to maintain. So, combine being extra costly with not being able to fix them and you just end up with bad service. The only saving grace is that Mercedes takes its position as one of the premier luxury carmakers seriously. They understand that if you pay big money for a car, you expect to be pampered. VW Group doesn’t get that at any level.

So, imagine having paid $75,000 for an Audi and having a service adviser tell you they can’t figure out what’s wrong and then arguing with you when you insist on a better answer than that. At $75,000, you deserve a better answer than that.

I’ve owned a VW and while the car was great, the experience was a nightmare. I love Audis and Porsches, but, I’ll never buy either because they’re owned by VW.

BMW, while independently owned, treats their clientele as if they’re doing them a favor. BMW’s are also the most watered-down German car. Not completely a sports car and not completely a luxury car. It’s German mediocrity – the Honda of German cars. Often, when Honda owners decide to upgrade, they go to BMW. So average…

I always tell my friends, “If you want a German sports car, buy a Porsche… If you want a German luxury car, buy a Mercedes – you won’t really get either if you buy a BMW.”

Therefore, Mercedes is my choice. Especially now that Mercedes offers AMG versions of many of their models. AMG is a more performance driven trim level, so, they look a bit sportier and have a slight better sport tuning.

Of course, some of this decision is personal preference, but, If you’re like me, you’ve arrived at a place where you now buy SERVICE instead of buying vehicles. I won’t buy a vehicle that doesn’t guarantee me luxury service. Buy the most expensive vehicle you can afford – the convenience is worth every dime.