Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Comparison: Audi A6 - BMW 5 - Mercedes Benz E-class

In the class of the executive cars, the German car manufacturers fight a fierce battle against each other. Audi pitches its A6 against BMW with the 5-series and Mercedes Benz with the E-class. This blog is aimed at making a small comparison between the contenders accompanied by a short text.

In its nomenclatura, Audi calls its 4th generation A6 the "C7 or 4G". It was launched in Europe in April 1011, while it is produced in the German city of Neckarsulm, but also in Mexico and several Asian plants. Its new design featured an increase in wheelbase by 76mm (3 inches) and width by 18mm (0.7 inches). Apart from that, the redesign also reduced the drag coefficient to 0.26 Cd.

In March 2010, BMW introduced the 6th generation of the 5-series, called the F10 (or F11 for the Touring). The wheelbase was increased with 100mm compared to its predecessor, while the car is 4cm longer. BMW produces the 5-series F10 in the BMW-factory in Dingolfing, but it is also produced in the Chinese city of Shenyang.
Mercedes Benz has introduced the current generation E-class in March 2009. It is built in Sindelfingen in German, but also in Egypt and in several Asian countries. With a drag coefficient of 0.25 Cd it is amongst the lowest in its class.

Exterior design

In these pictures, the headlight units of the cars can bee seen, which are all fitted with xenon headlights. As LED daytime runnings lights have become a popular feature, each manufacturer has incorporated them in their own style.

BMW was the first (of this three manufacturers) to introduce daytime running lights on the 5-series E39, when this car received its facelift in 2000. Informally called "angel eyes" or "corona rings", they are two rings per headlight unit that serve as daytime runnings lights. Although often attributed to BMW, this technology was actually developed by "Hella" and was called "Celis-Technik". As the years progressed, this technology was also introduced in other BMW-models.

In order to develop their own design feature, Audi introduced LED daytime running lights on the Audi A4 back in late 2007, while the A6 followed suit when it was facelifted in 2008. Audi has taken a different approach, using many small seperate LEDs in order to create a line. However with the introduction of the new generation Audi A8 and A6, they switched from small seperate LEDs to a fluent LED "glow stick".

And in contrast to Audi and BMW, Mercedes Benz has decided not to incorporate the LED daytime runnings lights into the headlight units, but to replace the foglights with a row of seperate LEDs. This was first introduced on the E-class in 2009, only being available for the Avantgarde models. Currently they are available as an optional extra also for the Basic and Elegance line. 

Interior design

Driver information system

Audi A6 standard display
Audi A6 extended display

BMW 5-series standard display

BMW 5-series extended display

All three cars have a driver informations display in or around the speedometer. Mercedes Benz has the simplest one, with only a standard one color display showing both information about the car or the arrow for the navigation system.

In contrast, both Audi and BMW offer a standard display and a display with extented features. In the Audi A6 the coloured driver information system includes a bigger screen with many colours in the center. BMW has moved the extended display downwards, using the blackpanel technology, in order to offer more information compared to the standard display. 

Navigation System

BMWs "Navigation Professional" and Mercedes Benz' "COMAND" navigation system both employ a fixed screen on top of the center console. Although Audi has located its MMI Plus screen also on the center dash, it folds out when the ignition is switched on. All the satnavs are able to display extra information next to the map, while the graphics of the Mercedes Benz COMAND navigation seems to be outdated. Apart from that, all satnavs combine the map with (optional) exta information in the speedometer.

Gear shift lever

Audi A6
BMW 5-series
Mercedes Benz E-class

When fitted with an automatic gearbox, the gear shift lever is often located near the center armrest. Mercedes Benz is an exception, as only the 4-cylinder engines had its gear shift lever located in this position, while the 6-cylinder engines had a gear shift lever that was located next to the steering wheel (which now is incorporated in almost every type E-class).

Multimedia connection

Audi A6 MMI
BMW 5-series USB-connection

Mercedes Benz E-class AUX-connection
All three cars offer connection for multimedia devices. Audi offers a Multi Media Connection with cables to attach a range of different units (iPhone / iPod / USB stick) in the center arm rest, while Mercedes Benz offers a similar interface in the glove compartment. When connecting a phone to the car this might cause some nuisance, as the phone will be out of reach in the glove compartment, as opposed to the center arm rest where Audi and BMW locate their connection. BMW only offers a USB-connection, but with a adapter cable every unit can be connected to the cars entertainment system.

After having attached the phone to the car, usually the music list can be scrolled by using the cars system. However, Audi and Mercedes Benz are not able to distinguish between different folders in the (Blackberry) smartphone, hence the music only can be connected by using the bluetooth connection (for both phone conversation and music tranfser). Only a standard USB-stick that only has music files on it is recognized. Yet all three cars charge the phone when it is connected to the car.

1 comment:

Mamun said...

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bmw 5 series

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