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Rediff.com  » Business » In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy

Last updated on: August 8, 2012 08:38 IST


Photographs: Reuters Wajeeh Khan

R
emember the good old days when wrestling was popular on television and we would wait eagerly for our champions to get into the rings and battle it out?

I particularly enjoyed the triple tag team matches and it's no different today.

Only two things have changed-the arena and the champions.

The arena is now the roads and the champions are cars. And now the wait is over for the latest contest of strength between Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz.

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In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


With the release of the Audi A8L 4.2 TDi, all three auto manufacturers having brought their champions to the Indian roads and it is time to see how these fearsome gladiators will fare against each other.

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Tags: Audi , BMW , com , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


Let's start with the pre-existing BMW 730Ld which has been around on the Indian roads for a while now.

BMW 730Ld

The BMW 730Ld has long been favored as an executive vehicle for many Indian businessmen. Sure the hood isn't as long as one would like for it to enter that eligibility, but in other regards this car is every bit a businessman's ride to work.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


With that image, of course, comes the cost and BMW are well known for charging the customers for that extra bit that they offer (justified! No doubt).

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The 730Ld 'snub-nosed limo' affords slightly better interior comforts with a tidy and spacious cabin.

The seating arrangement is comfortable and live up to the BMW standards and claims.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


Both the front seats come with optional full recline support and can be heated, cooled or turned into your personal masseuse whenever you feel the need.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The same goes for the rear passenger seats.

In addition to this, the leg room, particularly for the rear passengers is astonishing. The dashboard holds down the limo image with sober speed dials and knobs.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The LCD screen, as well, does an excellent job of smoothly flowing into the lower dash controls.

In terms of performance the 730Ld despite being a diesel engine does not let you down.

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Tags: BMW , LCD , com , India Audi

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The uprated 3.0-litre straight 6 diesel engine makes quick work of the Indian roads. With a peak power of 218PS and flat torque of 500Nm, the BMW 730Ld renews most people's faith in well-designed diesel engines.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


I'm not saying it will give you the smooth transition or reflexes of its petrol counterpart, but it comes close and at the same time delivers an excellent mileage of 6.5 km to the litre within city limits and a little over 10 km to the litre on the highway.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


Mercedes-Benz S-Class CDi L

Next in line is the Mercedes Benz S-Class 350 CDi L; the mother of all executive saloons in India? Perhaps...perhaps... If one were to judge the book by its cover the Mercedes would certainly get that acclaim.

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In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The long gentle curvature of the 350 CDi gives off a feeling of luxurious sobriety and a sort of exclusiveness to the boot.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The interiors reflect the exteriors in terms of the looks and style that one expects from an executive sedan and the overall feel is that of regality.

The S 350 CDi L comes with suede interiors with classic wood finish, affixed to beige leather seats and covers.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The dash features classic looking controls and a modern looking LCD display and symmetrical speed gauges.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , LCD

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The 3.0-litre V6 CDi engine gives out a respectable 280PS and the flat torque curve shows 490Nm.

Considering that the S 350CDi beats both the Audi and the BMW in terms of dry weight this is a definite requirement.

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Tags: BMW , Audi , com , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


Surprisingly the mileage on the Mercedes is better than the 730Ld with 350CDi achieving 9.0 km to the litre within city limits and more than 13 km to the litre on the highway.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


That is rather good fuel economy for such a massive lumbering beast. 

So considering all these details can we safely assume the S 350 CDi to be the mother of all executive sedans on Indian roads? The answer is no...we still have the Audi A8 to consider.

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Tags: Audi , BMW , com , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


Audi A8 4.2 TDi

The Audi A8 L 4.2 TDi is Audi India's latest offering to the Indian roads and customers. In terms of looks it easily surpasses both the BMW and the Mercedes Benz.

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In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


I have always imagined Audi design engineers to be extremely savvy, sleek and composed if their cars are anything to judge by. If I were to hazard a personal opinion however, Audi has always managed to retain better looks than both its main competitors.

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Tags: Audi , BMW , com , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


You can't help but feel a certain affection towards them for giving the world such a good looking car.

The A8 L 4.2 TDi features sleek and mean looking LED head and tail lights with 3 options in terms of lamps.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , LED

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The front fascia has a vertically elongated grille design that ride well into the lower bumper area.

All in all, this car definitely has the looks to be a part of the modern executive sedan.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The interiors of the A8, however, looked a little disappointing with the hideous reddish-maroon interior that would look more at home in a toxic chemical company, but each to his own, some might actually find these chic and modern.

This colour was, of course only for the customised edition of the sporty new Audi A8 TDi (Thank god for small favors).

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Tags: Audi , BMW , com , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


However, in terms of performance the Audi wins the show. The 4.3-litre V8 engine not only sounds excellent but performs excellent as well.

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Tags: Audi , BMW , com , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


The V8 engine comes with 345 horses under its hood and shows a massive flat torque curve of 800Nm, several digits higher than both the BMW and Mercedes.

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In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


It will also do 0-100km within a whopping 5.6 seconds. The mileage on the A8 is said to be around 7-8kmpl approximately.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc

In India Audi, BMW, Merc battle for supremacy


At the end of the day, it matters less what I say about the good and bad features of each of these vehicles; when it comes to these top auto manufacturers, everyone has their own set of preferences.

And the fact remains that all three vehicles are in their own way marvels of engineering.

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Tags: BMW , com , India Audi , Merc