There is always, undoubtedly, a fierce competition in the entry-level luxury sedan segment with all the three German's- Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi- coming to the party. Mercedes-Benz offers the C-Class sedan, its most sold and popular product in this segment, while BMW has 3-Series sedan at its front, followed by Audi A4 which is as gracious and luxurious as one can feel for. Merc has rolled out the updated 2015 C-Class at a sticker price of Rs 40.90 lakh with an array of technological advancements and best-in-segment elements, albeit in the petrol trim only, for the time being. Lets have a look at all of the three exquisite sedans over dimensions, engine, transmission, fuel efficiency and acceleration to figure out the best.
Dimensions: The newly launched C200 AVANTGARDE petrol variant is longer, wider and lighter than its predecessor. It has the best-in-class wheelbase as well, which subsequently results in enhanced legroom for the rear seat occupants. The sedan is lighter by 100kgs than the previous generation model due to extensive use of aluminium and it improves the overall performance significantly. The C-Class sedan measures 4,686mm in length, 1,810mm in width and 1,442mm in height, with an extended wheelbase of 2,840mm. Also, the boot capacity of 480L is icing on the cake. Coming to the BMW nut, the 3-Series sedan, it measures 4,624mm in length, 1,811mm in width and 1,429mm in height with a wheelbase of 2,810mm. Last but by no means the least, the Audi A4 is the longest and widest in the segment with 4,701mm and 1,826mm of length and width, respectively. The A4 measures 1,427mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2,808mm, both of which are the least in the segment. It too, like the Merc marvels, come with a boot space of 480L.
Engine & Transmission: As for the time being, the company has only introduced the petrol version of the C-Class sedan, hence we would be comparing the petrol specs of all the three cars. Fondly addressed as Baby S-Class, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in-houses a 1991cc, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which is being claimed to be the most powerful petrol motor in the segment. This engine generates a massive power of 181 bhp at 5500rpm and peak torque of 300Nm at 1200-1400rpm. It is paired to a 7G-Tronic Plus auto transmission to maximize the power and performance of the sedan. On the other hand, the BMW 328i Sport Line - the lone petrol variant in 3-Series sedan - comes loaded with a 1997cc, 4-cylinder powertrain, which generates an enormous power of 241 bhp at 5000-6500rpm and top torque of 350Nm at 1250-4800rpm. Being the ultra-powerful in its segment, as BMWs are always known to be, it is mated to an eight speed sports automatic ZF gearbox. Coming to Audi A4, it has the lightest petrol engine of all the three sedans. Under the bonnet, it has a 1.8L, 4-cylinder, turbocharged TFSI motor which rakes in a maximum power of 168 bhp at 3800-6200rpm and peak torque of 320Nm at 1400–3700rpm. The power is transmitted to the front wheels of the sedan via a multitronic transmission.
Acceleration & Fuel Economy: Being the most powerful sedan in its segment, the BMW 3-Series touches the 100kmph mark from standstill in a mere 6.1 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 250kmph. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class doesn't lag too behind as it crosses the 100kmph barrier from zero in just 7.3 seconds while clocking a top speed of 235kmph. Audi A4, being the least powerful, takes around 8.3 seconds to touch the 0-100kmph mark with a top speed of 225kmph. Now, coming over to our last but the most significant aspect of fuel economy, which is an indispensable ingredient of any car as buyers in India looking out for it even while buying an entry-level luxury sedan. Although, the Audi A4 tops the chart in this aspect with its fuel economy of 15.64 kmpl, but BMW 3-Series deserves all the bells and whistles because of its incredible fuel efficiency of 14.79kmpl, despite having such a powerful engine and brisk acceleration. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class lags behind by decimals from its BMW counterpart as it has a mileage of 14.74kmpl. (ARAI Certified fuel economy)
Prices: While Mercedes launched its new C-Class at Rs 40.90 lakh, BMW sells its 3-series 328i at a sticker price of Rs 42.50 lakh and Audi A4 35 TFSI comes at Rs 31.3 lakh.