It’s a fact that Germans are the masters in the field of prestige automobiles. From the very beginning, they have always been at the forefront of performance, luxury and on-board technology. And among this elite, three brands make up THE sacrosanct trio: Mercedes-Benz, BMW and, finally, Audi. And for several decades now, they have been battling it out for supremacy in this segment of the industry. But for 2020, Audi is the one that’s doing the best job. Find out now with Audi Blainville, your Audi dealer of choice in the city of the same name, how the Ingolstadt manufacturer is ahead of its competitors below!
Mercedes, the pure and simple automotive veteran.
Let’s start with Mercedes-Benz. Created in 1926 by the merger of Benz & Cie., Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft—DMG—and Mercedes, the “star” Brand has much older origins. Indeed, it was in 1886 that Benz & Cie. released their Benz Patent-Motorwagen Nummer 1, often considered the very first automobile. The second mentioned manufacturer, DMG, is the work of two pioneers in the field of internal combustion engines: Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.
But the current name “Mercedes” comes from Emil Jellinek, a major car dealer at the turn of the 20th century. This one, inspired by the name of his daughter, Mercédès Jellinek, will officially register it in 1902. That same year, he also signed an exclusive commercial contract with DMG for several European countries and the United States. In 1909, he also registered the famous star as the manufacturer’s logo, which was supposed to symbolize the three areas in which Daimler wanted its engines to evolve (land, sea and air). From 1911, the star will appear on the models of the brand.
However, it was in 1924 that Mercedes began to take the shape that we’re familiar with today, with a first rapprochement between DMG and “Benz & Cie.” The merger of the two previous manufacturers with the brand of Emil Jellinek will take place two years later (June 28, 1926). In the same year, the new company, Mercedes-Benz AG, began producing vehicles, including the W01, the first car in a long list of charismatic models. Mercedes would also manufacture less prestigious vehicles early on, as well as more than 64,000 commercial vehicles during the Second World War. The nomenclature of models that we know today will be born after this one with the creation of the E, S and SL series. These will pave the way for a diversification that will intensify especially in the 1990s, with the arrival of the C-Class, the ML SUV, and finally a convertible coupe, the SLK.
Currently, the manufacturer with a star has a wide range of vehicles from luxury subcompact (A-Class), to exotic two-door and four-door super sports cars (Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe and 4-Door Coupe), to a wide range of sedans (C, E and S-Class), and SUVs (GLA, GLB, GLC, GLE, GLS, and G-Class).
The Digital Archives of Mercedes-Benz Classic
BMW: An old-time player and just as diverse as its long-time rival, Mercedes.
Historically, this rivalry between manufacturers from across the Rhine has long been confined to the legendary BMW-Mercedes competition. And this is understandable when you consider the history of the Bayerische Motoren Werke (roughly “Bavarian engine works company” in English), abbreviated to BMW. Officially founded in 1916, long after the first Benz vehicle was launched, BMW initially produced engines for the aviation industry. However, following the German defeat in the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, BMW had to forcibly convert, no longer being able to produce anything for aviation. The Munich-based company began manufacturing engines for motorcycles, cars and trucks.
But it’s from 1928 that BMW will strengthen its presence in the automotive sector with the acquisition of Dixi, a company which then had the rights for the production of the Austin Seven. Following this acquisition, the 3/15 PS model was born in 1929. This model already included modifications to the original model (changeover to metric thread pitch). Thereafter, BMW will innovate with a growing audacity, in particular with the 303 model of 1933, which housed a noble six-cylinder engine. However, the typology of “Bimmer” models as we know it will come later than that of its long-time rival, Mercedes. Indeed, it will be only from the 1970s that the “Series + number” structure (ex. Series 3, Series 5, Series 7) will appear.
In the 1980s, BMW’s famous Motorsport branch, symbolized by the famous “M” preceded by the two characteristic blue and red stripes, was introduced. In comparison, it wasn’t until 2005 that AMG, then an independent tuner specializing in Mercedes models, became a division equivalent to BMW’s Motorsport division at the “star” manufacturer. The “M” division is best known for its extensive work on BMW’s inline six-cylinder engines, work that established the Munich-based manufacturer as a true specialist in this type of engine architecture.
Like Mercedes, the 1990s and 2000s were marked at BMW by an increase in the number of models, with the launch of various SUVs, including the famous X5 (in production since 1999), and roadsters following the short-lived Z1, first with the Z3 (1995–2002), then the Z4 (produced since 2002).
2001 BMW X5
Audi: youngest in the premium segment from the Laurentians to Montreal’s North Shore.
The history of Audi is more complex and intimately linked to Karl Benz and his company, Benz & Cie. August Horch previously worked there as a production manager, but left his position in 1899 to create his own company, soberly named A. Horch & Cie. Motorwagen Werke. But this adventure will only last ten years. In 1909, he also left the company in 1909, following disputes between him and the board of directors. But he persevered, and founded a second manufacturer in Zwickau, Germany on July 16 of the same year. Naming the newly created manufacturer proved to be more difficult. Indeed, the name “Horch” was already registered. Regardless, he will use the same term, which in German means “listen”, but in Latin this time (Audi).
Audi will quickly take its stripes in terms of prestige, especially through competition (several victories in the Austrian Alpine Rally from 1911 to 1914). Building on this success, Horch launched flagship models in the 1920s, including the iconic Audi Imperator, powered by an eight-cylinder engine and unveiled in 1927. But this incredible epic was unfortunately short-lived. Indeed, two years later, the 1929 crisis hit, and greatly slowed down the sale of cars powered by a six- or eight-cylinder engine. This led to pressure from the State Bank of Saxony to merge several car brands. This was quickly accomplished with the formation of Auto Union AG in June 1932, after the interests of Audi, Horch and DKW were combined. Later, the automotive branch of Wanderer Werke would join the trio to form a quartet. The four Audi rings, which each represent a brand in the new company, are the result of this period.
However, it was mainly after the Second World War that the group’s strength increased, and it moved to Ingolstadt in 1945. As early as 1954, businessman Friedrich Flick acquires shares in Auto Union while actively seeking a solid business partner. He found one in 1958. And this partner was well known in Ingolstadt: Daimler-Benz AG, which took an 88% stake in Auto Union. But in 1964, Volkswagen took over Auto Union and decided to rename the group “Audi”. In 1969, Audi further strengthened its position by merging with the NSU manufacturer.
The result was phenomenal growth and recognition for the company, which led to what it is today: a brand with cutting-edge technology. The first Audi five-cylinder in 1976, crushing rally victories for the Coupe quattro, and finally, in the 1990s, development of the Audi S range, then the RS range from 1994 with the iconic RS 2: although it was recognized later than its competitors, the four-ring manufacturer has demonstrated a strong capacity for innovation. And this is still very visible today, notably with the introduction a few years ago of the Audi Virtual Cockpit, and the almost systematic use of all-wheel drive on its roadster cars. The former has since been adopted on the current Mercedes A-Class, while the latter has been adopted by BMW for the current M550i xDrive sedan.
Mercedes-Benz vs. BMW vs. Audi: Comparison of the most popular vehicles of the three brands.
Thus, after studying the heritage of each of the above-mentioned manufacturers, certain characteristics can be identified for each of them: Mercedes-Benz represents the archetype of the luxury car, while BMW is leaning more towards the sporty premium car. Finally, for Audi, the situation is even clearer: the manufacturer with the four rings creates luxury cars the prestige of which is primarily due to the large number of advanced technologies they incorporate and the advantages they offer to their driver, from Blainville on Montreal’s North Shore to the Laurentians.
Let’s see how this translates into a comparison of the most popular vehicle categories among the three manufacturers mentioned above!
2020 Mercedes C-Class vs. 2020 BMW 3-Series vs. 2020 Audi A4: the Audi that performs better in all conditions.
Historically, the core business of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi was first and foremost that of luxury sedans. And even today in Blainville, this type of vehicle is still very successful, especially when it comes to compact sedans. But who’s currently dominating the debate? That’s what we’ll see in this brief comparison between the 2020 Mercedes C-Class, the 2020 BMW 3 Series and the 2020 Audi A4.
First of all, the exterior design. On this point, the three manufacturers differ greatly. For Mercedes-Benz, for example, a luxury sedan must display flowing, elegant lines, and this is apparent at first glance in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan. With its rounded front grille and headlights and curved taillights, the Mercedes compact luxury sedan has reassuring, classic lines, but perhaps less dynamic than desired. At BMW, the 2020 3 Series takes up this aspect, while at the same time seeking to include a certain amount of sportiness, with headlights and taillights that combine curves and sharp angles. Some may see in these lines a certain heaviness and hesitation on the part of BMW on the style chosen for its flagship sedan. However, for the Audi, there’s no doubt about it. Indeed, the 2020 A4 has chosen the simplicity of sharp edges and a taut profile to display its sporty and highly technological vocation. Beveled headlights, iconic gaping single-frame grille, finely sculpted side panels and taillights with a characteristic lighting signature: the Audi shows that it has deliberately chosen athleticism in terms of design.
The same goes for the innovations proposed by the three automakers, starting with the technical specifications. If we look at the “standard” versions that will make up the bulk of sales (i.e. non-AMG, non-Motorsport and non-Audi S models), we notice that it is still Audi that takes precedence. Audi’s luxury compact sedan is powered by a powertrain with characteristics similar to those of the C-Class (2020 A4 45 TFSI quattro S tronic: 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, 2020 C-Class 300 4MATIC: 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque), allowing it to deliver an identical 0–100 km/h (5.9 seconds) with nearly 7 less horsepower. Compared to BMW’s luxury compact sedan with 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (2020 BMW 330i xDrive), the gap to reach 100 km/h is only 0.3 seconds (0–100 in 5.6 seconds, according to BMW). However, it’s worth remembering that the performance of the BMW will be poorer as soon as grip conditions deteriorate. Indeed, if in its aforementioned variant the Munich car has a respectable all-wheel drive (the xDrive), it is less efficient than the 4MATIC system of the 2020 C-Class Sedan, which is itself inferior to the quattro system, developed in competition. Thus, the Audi will provide you with all of its performance safely, whatever the weather!
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC vs. 2020 BMW X3 vs. 2020 Audi Q5: the most versatile SUV in Blainville.
Currently, while compact sedans are still very popular, it’s really luxury SUVs that are experiencing a dizzying rise. So it makes perfect sense to compare the SUVs offered by these brands and more specifically the ones that buyers prefer, premium compact SUVs.
At Mercedes-Benz, it’s the 2020 GLC that does just that. As with the C-Class, the design is once again very round, especially at the top of the front grille. But with less dynamic side window surfaces than its two competitors, and a straighter rear window, the Mercedes premium compact SUV may seem massive to some. The BMW, for its part, uses the same recipe in the 3 Series to face the C-Class: a line alternating curves and sharp corners for the front and rear ends. The BMW contrasts with its “star” rival on the side, where the flanks are very pronounced. The hesitation between flowing and athletic design, already seen on the BMW sedan, is found again here for the X3. As for the 2020 Q5, very geometric and simple lines were again chosen in Ingolstadt. Very geometric headlights, the very airy single frame grille, a pronounced but flowing beltline with a double wave pattern, and distinctive taillights: the lines are dynamic without overdoing it, and make us feel right away that we’re dealing with a real Audi premium compact SUV.
And this is confirmed by studying the technical specifications of the Audi SUV. In its 45 TFSI quattro S tronic variant, the Q5 can count on a 1,984-cc turbocharged engine to deliver 248 horsepower for 273 lb-ft of torque. The Mercedes offers 255 hp for 273 lb-ft of torque (2020 Mercedes GLC 300 4MATIC), and the BMW sticks to 248 hp for 258 lb-ft of torque (2020 X3 xDrive30i). As with the sedans of all three brands, performance is virtually identical, with similar accelerations (0–100 km/h: 6.3 seconds for the Q5 and X3, and 6.2 seconds for the GLC). Again, it’s in the standard all-wheel drive system that each of the protagonists makes the difference. Audi’s quattro system is once again in the lead, followed by Mercedes’ very good 4MATIC drive. BMW’s xDrive system for the premium compact SUV is still a strong third. The fact that all capacities are safely available at all times is therefore still to the advantage of the Q5. Thanks to rally racing!
When it comes to technology inside the cabin, finally, it’s once again the Audi that rules. Indeed, depending on the model, you can count on the inescapable Audi Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard (the BMW can offer an equivalent iteration but less well executed, while the GLC still uses needle counters), or on an incredible B&O sound system that will transform your interior into a private concert hall near Blainville.
Conclusion: Audi, the ultimate in technology and performance at all times. Period.
There’s no doubt that Mercedes-Benz and BMW are premium manufacturers with a rich and interesting past, and still offering products of the highest level. However, their longstanding rivalry has led them to look at what works in each other’s business and repeat it in their own way. Audi, for its part, has decided to chart its own course, focusing its notion of automotive luxury on innovation. This brings together all the aspects of a prestige vehicle by offering the best in terms of exterior style, performance and technology to the driver. The result is vehicles that offer the ultimate in luxury while being consistent and enjoyable to drive at all levels.
Hence, you must have guessed: if you’re looking for the best in premium automobiles, only Audi will satisfy you! So drop by today at Audi Blainville, your Audi dealership of choice on the North Shore of Montreal, to discover all that the four-ring manufacturer’s range has to offer, even in the Laurentians! You can also, by the way, see the Audi offers and the Audi leasing and financing programs that will allow you to get back home behind the wheel of YOUR own vehicle from Ingolstadt. We look forward to meeting you soon at the dealership!