Your preferred luxury car brand in India: BMW, Mercedes-Benz or others

Apart from the three Germans, there is also Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, Lexus, Porsche & a few more.

BHPian Aditya recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Audi vs BMW vs Mercedes vs others

Mercedes-Benz

General Pros: Luxury status & instant recognition, drop-dead gorgeous exterior styling – Mercedes is at the top of its design game, extremely wide model range, nice engines & gearboxes, 6-cylinder diesel available, interior & suspension tune are usually on the comfortable side, impressive cabin designs, LWB E-Class is perfect for the chauffeur-driven, special attainable models like the C300d + A35 + A45, loads of AMG models on sale in India, Maybach trims for those who want more luxury, widest dealer & service network in India, new electric car range is convincing (EQS is top-class)

General Cons: Not as much fun to drive as the equivalent BMWs, outright reliability isn’t as good as the BMWs, a few mediocre engines (the 1.3L & 1.5L turbo-petrols have no place in a luxury car), no bigger & powerful petrol (even in C-Class & E-Class), some of their cars don’t get dedicated spare wheel wells thus killing boot space, air suspensions are prone to failure, discounts reduced since Mercedes HQ took over pricing, prices have really shot up on all their models

BMW

General Pros: The most fun-to-drive luxury brand, enthusiast-tuned engines, fast gearboxes, great suspension balance between ride & handling, surprisingly top-class reliability, big 3.0L 6-cylinder diesel available, electric power steerings are well-tuned, special cars like the M340i & 530d, fair range of ///M models in India, cabins usually boast low NVH levels & very supportive seats, majority of BMW owners are satisfied with the after-sales service quality

General Cons: Ugly & obnoxious radiator-grille design on new launches, regular wheelbase 3-Series discontinued (was the default enthusiast’s choice), prices have really gone up in the last 2 years, some models miss features like keyless entry + 360-degree cam + front ventilated seats, BSI packs have become very pricey, the worst 80 / 120 km/h speed warnings in the luxury car segment, the brand remains stubborn with run-flat tyres which have their own cons, poor boot space with no dedicated spare wheel well (some models), lower SUVs don’t get powerful engine options (new X1 has 1.5L motor, X3 doesn’t get 3.0L engines)

Audi


General Pros: Timeless & classy styling, lovely interiors, lots of discounts, fast & smooth dual-clutch ATs, neutral suspension balance between ride & handling, AWD (on some models), very competent crossover & SUV range (they are usually all-rounders)

General Cons: No diesel since BS6, lots of FWD cars in RWD segments, fewer engine options even among petrol (e.g. no more powerful petrol), not the most exciting to drive, electric power steerings are “comfort” tuned, a few models have lower-priced VW & Skoda equivalents

Jaguar Land Rover

General Pros: Unbeatable styling & presence, sheer brand panache, exceptional offroad capability & technology, plush cabins, Range Rovers are usually satisfying to drive, Jaguars have sorted dynamics, exclusivity (not as common as the luxury Germans)

General Cons: Many overpriced cars in the JLR range, Jaguar’s model range is tiny + outdated + irrelevant, smaller dealer network, many customer complaints about the after-sales service quality & long vehicle downtimes, some models suffer from terrible reliability, a few powertrains are not perfectly tuned (e.g. ZF in the XE)

Then of course, there are other luxury brands in India such as Volvo, Lexus, Porsche, Mini & more. Which is your preferred luxury car brand & why?

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

My first choice is BMW because of the best engine & gearbox combinations, pleasurable-to-drive nature & excellent reliability. My sole deal-breaker with the new BMWs is that ugly design direction with the weird radiator grilles at the front. Would find ways to fix it in the after-market (e.g. buy a black car and make the grille all black). That being said, all the BMWs I currently love (3, 5, M340i, X5) have grilles that haven’t gotten obnoxious. Yet.

A very close second is Mercedes for the brand allure, styling, much-improved engine & gearbox tuning and acceptable reliability.

Honestly, though I’d buy based on “car” rather than “brand”. I don’t blindly go for brands. E.g.

  • Between the 3-Series (M340i) and C300d, I’d buy based on low or high running.
  • Between the 5-Series & E-Class, I’d buy the 5-Series.
  • Between the 7-Series & S-Class, I’d buy the S-Class.
  • Between the X7 & GLS, I’d buy the GLS.
  • EV, I’d go for the EQS. It blows any BMW EV out of the water.
  • And so on. Cars from other brands that are my top choices include the A8 (Audi), Macan & Cayenne (Porsche) and Range Rover flagship (despite the reliability). For a variety of reasons, no current car from Volvo would make it to my garage, although I do respect how the brand has evolved. Ditto for Lexus, good cars, but not my type.

Here’s what BHPian CEF_Beasts had to say on the matter:

Everything depends on the use case!

Want brand value/snob value (the I’ve arrived status), fancy interiors and rear-seat comfort for those who are chauffeured: Mercedes-Benz

Want top-quality interiors, a very comfortable ride and discounts vis-a-vis competition: Audi

Want driving pleasure irrespective of whether it is a Petrol/Diesel: BMW and Porsche (one/two levels above BMW)

Want proper SUVs that even though are monocoque offer supreme solidity and off-road capabilities: Land Rover

Want something unique, safe (14 airbags in the LS, 9 airbags as standard in other models), comfortable, reliable and hybrid powertrains: Lexus

Want a very impressive safety suite, decent reliability and quality interiors: Volvo (the XC40 simply punches above its weight with a very high-quality interior that none of the Germans can match in the same segment!)

My personal vote goes to “Sheer Driving Pleasure” (BMW) for their potent engines mated brilliantly with the 8ZF torque converter. The X5 40i, M340i and 530d are some of my favourites. Porsche deserves the top spot if Driving Pleasure is the preference but even a Macan 2.0L 4cyl costs over 1Cr (simply out-of-reach pricing) and is equivalent in space to the X3, GLC and Q5. Of course, my dream car is none other than the Porsche 911!

Here’s what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

I’m a 90s kid. Which means, luxury car = Mercedes. End of discussion. I still remember the first time I saw a W124 E Class. I must have been 5-6 years old. That was it. It was everything a car could possibly be. I was instantly smitten, and continue to be almost 3 decades later. Even today, nothing says that you have arrived quite like the S Class.

Now brand preference is one thing. Actually shopping for a car is something entirely different. In that scenario, the product will have to fight on merit. This is where modern-day BMWs seem to have an edge. Better powertrains, better ride and handling balance, better practicality (spare wheel) and cheaper asking prices. And they are generally more reliable too.

Here’s what BHPian AYP had to say on the matter:

As GTO has pointed out, I’d choose on the basis of the ‘car’ and not just the ‘brand’. However, if someone puts a gun to my head and asks me to name only 1 luxury brand, I’d say, ‘Mercedes’. It is difficult to ignore the allure that the 3 pointed star has in India. Similarly, it is difficult to imagine going for a Lexus or a Volvo in India since brand recognition is lacking vis-a-vis the Germans.

Voted for Mercedes-Benz.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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