Let’s be honest,
we’d all rather drive a big car. Not because you’re trying to be cool,
or because of the image, but because a big car drives absolutely lovely. They’re comfortable,
spacious, quiet… Take these two for example.
Both are almost 5 metres in length, two big station wagons,
two lovely cars. Both of them were built in 2011.
The Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A6. Both are fitted with 4-cylinder petrol engines,
so let’s find out which one is the best. When you think of such a big car,
you’ll automatically think of a big engine, right? The best thing would be a very pleasant 6-cylinder engine in the front,
but that isn’t the case in these two cars today. They aren’t diesels,
instead, they’re 4-cylinder petrol engines. Even in 2011, when these cars were built,
downsizing clearly was on the minds of manufacturers. In here,
we have a well-known engine. It’s the 2.0-litre TFSI,
also known as TSI in Volkswagen-cars, as found in the Golf GTI for example. It produces 170 horsepower and 280 Nm of torque in this car. The latter is incredibly important.
A small engine with a lot of torques, because of the turbo.
What also stands out is that the engine is positioned very far to the front. That’s because it’s mounted longitudinally,
which is the case in lots of cars in this class. Because the Audi is front-wheel drive,
the gearbox has to be mounted there as well. That’s why the engine has been positioned in front of the front axle,
which isn’t ideal for the weight distribution. Anyway,
it’s a very good engine. Then, the Mercedes-Benz.
It’s fitted with a 4-cylinder engine as well, but it’s an 1.8-litre instead of a 2.0-litre. It’s fitted with a compressor,
and it produces a tad more power. 184 horsepower to be exact,
and that’s a nice amount. On the other hand,
it produces a slightly smaller amount of torque; 270 Nm. If you put everything together,
it’s a very nice total. This car weighs 1600 kg,
that one weighs about the same, and because of the amount of torque,
there’s enough power available. What’s important in an Estate or an Avant as well,
is the size of the boot. In the Mercedes-Benz,
which has an electrical bootlid as standard… on every single version,
there’s 695 litres of luggage space available. If you want to fold down the seats,
there’s a handy little lever here. And it comes down… Incredibly easy.
The Audi requires you to open the boot yourself. It’s a tad smaller as well.
It can fit 565 litres. If you want to fold down the seats in this,
you’ll have to be at the rear seat. You can’t fold them down from the back.
Even though it still has a very good and spacious boot, the Mercedes-Benz clearly takes home the points on this area. And this is what it’s all about in E-segment cars.
Look at the amount of space I have. The front seat is set for myself,
and I’m not even touching the seat with my knees. I’ve got lots of headroom as well.
Of course, a manufacturer like Mercedes is almost obliged to offer this much space in their cars,
because they’re often used as taxi’s. There’s a nice center armrest here as well,
offering two cupholders. Everything is alright in here.
The finishing is good, good materials,
it all feels very good and it’s very spacious. It won’t come as a surprise to you,
but because this is just as long as the Mercedes, so there’s a similar amount of space.
It might be even more spacious. Anyway, my legs still don’t touch the seat,
and my head isn’t even near the ceiling. Also, this car is fitted with an aftermarket DVD-system,
which comes with two headphones. That means the kids will have something to do in the rear. In the center armrest,
we don’t find cupholders, but a first-aid kit instead. That’s mandatory in Germany.
Also, we’ve got small blinds in the side windows. There’s also a rolling blind for the rear window.
That way, there’s a small amount of coolness when the sun is shining down. When you start driving this car,
there are two things which stand out immediately. The quietness and the comfort.
It perfectly fits an E-Class. It’s a car in which you can lay back a little really.
That doesn’t mean it’s slow or anything. Despite this engine, which is is the base version,
it still does 0-100 km/h within nine seconds, and it has a top speed which reaches just above 220 km/h.
What more could you wish for? It’s quick enough.
Then the drive, it’s all about quietness and comfort. You can feel that in the steering,
the way the car drives in a straight line, it’s all smooth and nicely controlled.
Mercedes has really built a nice car. The suspension is incredibly comfortable as well.
It’s got an entirely standard chassis, so no sportier springs,
and just regular 16-inch wheels, fitted with relatively high tires.
Comfort is written with a capital C, and you can feel that in everything. That goes for the engine as well.
The gearbox has two settings; you’ve got Sport and right now we’re driving in Economical. That means the gear changes are quieter.
It’s more laid back. No matter what setting you’re in though,
it keeps the revs nice and low. There isn’t a lot of interior noise either.
The quietness stood out immediately by the way, almost no rolling sounds,
almost no engine sounds, it’s a lovely travel car. I mentioned the steering before,
but it’s very comfortable. It isn’t too sharp or with too much feedback,
but you can feel what the car is doing. You can clearly read the car.
The handling is very good as well, thanks to the weight distribution of the car.
I can’t really think of any other flaws. It’s an incredibly pleasant car for driving long distances. What stands out as well,
is the relatively small turning circle. It’s rear-wheel drive,
so the front wheels can turn even further, because there isn’t a propshaft connected to them. That means it’s got a remarkably small turning circle,
compared to front-wheel drive cars of the same size. That’s an advantage in the city,
and when you’re parking. It’s fitted with a pretty basic trim level.
It doesn’t have automatically dimming mirrors, but it’s fitted with satnav,
cruise control, an automatic gearbox… It has all of the important stuff,
but according to Mercedes-Benz-standards, it’s a pretty basic car. When you get in the Audi,
you immediately notice it’s a whole different car than the Mercedes. It’s a lot sportier,
and that’s mostly because of the S Line-package it’s fitted with. That means it’s got a lower chassis,
and it’s fitted with 18-inch wheels. The tires don’t process the imperfections as much. The steering is completely different.
It’s lighter and it feels more synthetic. The steering in the Mercedes feels heavy and massive,
but this is a lot lighter. It’s got a good response to steering movements though. It’s a sportier car to drive. Then, the engine performance.
We just mentioned it with the Benz, but this car can reach 220 km/h as well,
and it also does 0-100 within nine seconds. The only thing you should get used to in here,
is the transmission. It’s fitted with the so-called Multitronic-transmission,
which is a sort of CVT-gearbox. So if you think about it,
there’s a small bit of Dutch machinery fitted in here. What’s great about this CVT however…
If you pull this lever backwards, you’ll put it in Sport-mode. With that,
you can change gear with these flappy paddles. And that grants you seven pre-selected gears. That gives the whole car a different personality.
It doesn’t produce a loud bellow when you put your foot down, instead you can change gear with the flappy paddles.
It gives a DSG-kind of feeling. If you do that,
it’s actually quite a pleasant transmission. However,
if you’re just driving around and you’re not in Sport-mode, a CVT-gearbox has its advantages.
If you’re travelling down a flat road for example, and you don’t need lots of power,
you can see the revs dropping. The engine will be in such a quiet mode,
and it’s incredibly fuel efficient as well. Then, the towing weight.
That’s what big cars like these are often being used for as well. Think of caravans,
or even for horseboxes for example. This car is allowed to tow 1500 kg,
but if you’d take the Mercedes, you’re allowed to tow up to 2100 kg.
That’s a huge amount for a car in that segment. The impression this car gives,
is that it’s a tad sportier, it’s more nimble,
and it’s all a tad smoother. It is a tad louder as well,
when it comes to the chassis and engine. It’s feels slightly bitier than the Mercedes.
Even though it has a different personality, it’s still a very pleasant car to travel in. This Audi also isn’t filled to the brim with options,
but it’s far from basic as well. You’ve got a multimedia system,
which is controlled by a turning knob just like in the Mercedes-Benz. There’s satnav as well,
so it’s all here. What stands out is the air conditioning,
which is controlled by turning knobs. This car doesn’t have an automatically dimming mirror neither,
and that’s kind of strange for a car in this class. However, because of the S Line-trim,
it feels a tad more complete than the Mercedes. Two big, German station wagons.
But which one is the best? That’s actually quite a hard decision to make.
The Mercedes-Benz feels and looks like it’s the better car. Back in the day, they we’re about as expensive,
but the materials feel better, just like the drive. That doesn’t mean the Audi is a bad car,
or even worse than the Mercedes. Nevertheless, the Audi looks more worn.
It might be used more intensively. That’s where the differences are.
One of them is sportier, the other one is more comfortable. In short,
there’s a lot of calculation to be done. The Mercedes is a tad more expensive,
despite its higher mileage, but I’m going to tally up.
You can find out the results pretty soon in the magazine.