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For a used car: Audi A4, BMW 330i or Mercedes-Benz C 300?

For a used car: Audi A4, BMW 330i or Mercedes-Benz C 300?

“I’m shopping for an entry-level luxury car and hesitate betweenAudi A4there BMW 330i xDrive and the Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATICAll three are from 2017 or 2018. My criteria are, in order, reliability and driving pleasure. -Benjamin


Hello Benjamin,

You should know, first of all, that the maintenance costs related to these three vehicles are on average high. These are vehicles that offer very acceptable performance, but have a higher level of complexity than the fleet average. Therefore, when it comes time to carry out repairs, the cost is usually higher than that of an equivalent Japanese car, such as the Lexus IS 350.

2017 BMW 330i xDrive Photo provided by: BMW

Now which one do you choose? It is certainly the BMW 330i xDrive that puts more emphasis on driving pleasure. Its suspension calibration, engine response and well-adapted transmission are elements that work very well together and provide a joy that sets it apart from the other two.

On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC will prioritize comfort more. Its more comfortable interior, but also a more refined BMW design, would make it a sedan that’s a pleasure to spend time in. In terms of fun, it’s a little behind, thanks in particular to its smoother-enhancing transmission and more powerful four-cylinder engine. It’s not a bad car, but I have a feeling it won’t be able to satisfy your need for fun to the same level as the others.

Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC 2017 2
2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC Photo provided by: Mercedes-Benz

As for the Audi A4, it does not leave its place. Even if the current generation proves to be less sharp than the previous one, it nonetheless delivers a good dose of fun behind the wheel. It also offers good comfort and is assembled with a lot of seriousness, which allows it to retain a bit of an outward show.

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What about reliability now?

Now that we’ve established that maintenance costs will be high for all three vehicles, let’s focus on reliability. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are pretty much on the same level. These are well-established cars whose reliability, especially the electronics, is not impressive. Electronic faults of both products that interfere with vehicle operation have been identified. On the Mercedes-Benz side, add to those mechanical gaps, particularly with the gearbox, engine and brakes.

Audi A4 2018 3
Audi A4 2018 Photo provided by: Audi

However, the Audi A4 is slightly less bad than the other two. Its mechanics are a bit simpler, which is likely to cause less breakage. Also, historically, it’s a car that has caused owners fewer headaches than others, and a slightly lower maintenance bill, thanks to component sharing with Volkswagen. So it would be for the sake of this that I go to respond with more balance to your standards.

If you can, opt for the 2018 car to avoid the first model year of the B9 generation of Audi’s small sedan. Thus you will avoid youth points. However, be sure to have a good independent mechanical check before buying to know the vehicle’s condition in depth, as it is a vehicle that is more than 5 years old or younger.