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TALKING TORQUE Feel free to discuss your Driving Experience in all other models as well!

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Old 23rd March 2008, 05:14 PM
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Default Mercedes and Audi

For a number of years, both Audi and BMW have been nibbling away at the quality mantle worn by Mercedes for many years. One needs to ignore the poor reputation that some Mercedes models acquired in the early and late '90's, and for the last few years word has been out of the improvements that have been effected by Mercedes both interior wise and in the quality control achieved.

My story relates to a 2001 Mercedes 220CD (Diesel), now with about 45k.s on the clock, and an Audi A4 Station Wagon, with at least 150k.'s showing. The Audi is about twelve months older. Both cars have been garaged all their life within twenty metres of each other in a small Austrian country village situated some 45 kilometres north of Salzburg and both owned by members of the same family.There is a third car involved, namely a 1.9 litre Citroen Diesel of about 2001 vintage which I drove extensively during my stay in Austria in 2005. This Citroen is also owned by the same family.

The suggestion came up just recently that both the Citroen (free of rust !) and the Mercedes (both owned by two sisters) be jointly traded on one new car - make not known. I suggested to my sister-in-law (owner of the Citroen) that she purchase the Mercedes from her sister and just have the one car between them (still) as the Mercedes has hardly been used - judging by the mileage.

It turns out that the Mercedes has some significant rust issues. I understand that at least one door has already been replaced (not repaired !), and that some floor areas are now badly affected by rust. Apparently, labor costs as far as rust repairs are concerned, are huge in Austria.

The Audi, on the other hand, has absolutely no rust whatsoever, and is still in perfect mechanical condition. This to me indicates that the cars from Ingolstadt (Audi) have had their act together for some years now. It is no denying that some of today's Audi offerings are top-notch and also quite exciting in their specifications-just take the S4 and S5 variants as an example. On the other hand, Mercedes seems to rely on South African built C-Classes and Chinese built E-Classes (I think but stand to be corrected) and it is only AMG built models that enjoy a healthy performance reputation, with tuning firms like Brabus, Kleeman, Carlsson having a field day offering all kinds of performance modifications.

On the other hand, all Audi performance orientated products are built in-house, and there appears to be a total absence of after market tuning firms. I would be very much interested in comments from fellow members. Regards, Styria

Last edited by Styria; 23rd March 2008 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 23rd March 2008, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: Mercedes and Audi

Styria, with my TT now sitting on 3,312k's I am more than happy with the build quality and overall fit and finish of the interior, its speaks of quality, nothing cheap about the interior, nothing squeals, rattles or is poorly fit.

As you know VW has owned audi since the 1960's and VW is renowned for their rust protection of cars, my car has an 8 year rust and paint policy.

Didn't Mercedes a few years ago try and out do VW/Audi with a 30 year rust protection policy?

Audi has come a long way in 20 years, from pretending to make cars with passion and soul to now actually achieving that goal.
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Old 23rd March 2008, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Mercedes and Audi

If they did, Des, they certainly missed their mark with that particular example. I drove the car when I was in Austria, and handling wise I was not particularly comfortable with it. Unlike the Citroen that cornered as if on rails, with the Mercedes I found myself 'cutting' corners - would you believe, a bit like 6.9's ? ..but we must not forget, twenty years of difference in date of manufacture, and the 220CDi has the much vaunted 5 link rear suspension etc. etc.

Interior wise, I could not fault the Mercedes - it exuded quality and comfort. Performancewise, I could not help but be impressed with the power (!) and torque of the Diesel engine - it was quite remarkable. I believe that Diesel technology , especially with the advent of common rail technology, has come on in heaps and bounds in the last ten years or so.

Incidentally, I believe it is Mitsubishi that holds the patent for the common rail Diesel - does anyone know more about this ? Regards, Styria
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Old 23rd March 2008, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Mercedes and Audi

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Originally Posted by Styria View Post
If they did, Des, they certainly missed their mark with that particular example. I drove the car when I was in Austria, and handling wise I was not particularly comfortable with it.

I haven't driven any other recent model Audi's but I really like the way the TT drives, have you driven a w123? To me it is a natural progression of that sort of handling, turn in, hold your foot on it and it just holds to the road. Its an easy car for someone like me, who really isn't a good driver to drive well.

For me I like to think Audi, Auto Union is on the comeback, give me the good old days. steamliners on the Avus circuit, just outside Berlin. Graf Zeppelin overhead.



A time when names like Bernd Rosemeyer amd Hans Stuck where national heroes.

Audi has made some serious racing moves in recent times with their Le Mans cars. Lets not write them off as a by gone racing legend, destroyed by the Second World War.
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Old 23rd March 2008, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Mercedes and Audi

One good thing about Audi's is a fully galvanised shell, something I think Mercedes considered, but dismissed as it was a waste of money. Mercedes went with whats called Mobilo-Life in Europe, if you bought a new Mercedes and kept it serviced within the official MB agencies for the 1st 2 years of its life, it was covered for 30 years. This is what I found on the U.K forum about it.
http://www.mbclub.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=33410

The W124's were the 1st candidate of early rust in the bodies and outer panels. They tried to fix the problem in the W210, but those too had rust problems as well. This was where the "slip" in quality came from, it's rare to see anything european around 5 yrs of age start to rust that baddly.

Audi's on the other hand have moved the game on in terms of interior warmth, quality of fittings etc. I drove a really lovely A4 2.0 Multitronic (CVT auto box) and was really surprised. The only slight blot on the copybook was that resale on their sedans over here is still slightly lacking.
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Old 24th March 2008, 05:37 AM
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Default Re: Mercedes and Audi

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Originally Posted by 116Benz View Post
The only slight blot on the copybook was that resale on their sedans over here is still slightly lacking.
Resale value on Audis has improved and will continue as the "marque" is more in people's mind.
Audi is spending stupid in terms of brand awareness and promotion.

I will be going to the launch of the new A4 early next month...
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Old 24th March 2008, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Mercedes and Audi

Having owned a 1995 Audi S2 (well, partner's) I can say it was built like a brick dunny and quality control was superior in all senses. 5 cylinders, turbocharger, Quatro drive and 6 speed Getrag box made it an angry little beast that would rattle windows in neighbouring houses just at idle. It was rock solid on the road at 240 kph and a total pain in the butt to drive around town. The S2 was a homologation special and when panel parts were required after the altercation with the box trailer, Audi scratched their heads and said things like - 'err - maybe' and 'dunno...'
It had a fully galvanised body and so did my Alfa 164...
One of the problems facing M-B has been the twin evils of lowering weight to achieve EU mandated consumption figures and achieving recycling targets. Having said that, the build quality of the Audi was more solid than any Benz I saw from the same era.
When the Audi died we approached the Audi dealer to look for a new one and a pimply faced youth demanded a deposit before we took a test drive. We left his manager in no doubt that same youth had cost them a sale. M-B on the other hand were accommodating to the point of arranging an interim car while the CLK was built to special order.
I understand that Audi AG is taking back control of Audi distribution in Australia to ensure customers have better experiences.
Regards,
BenzBoy
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