Audi vs BMW vs Mercedes: Which is Right for You?

If you’re hunting for a sporty European SUV, crossover, or car, then the three brands bound to be on your mind are Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. Germany’s version of “the big three” has no shortage of heritage, prestige, and racing trophies between them. Their constant and relentless competition against one another yields big benefits for those of us who appreciate the finer things.

How do you decide between Audi vs BMW or Mercedes when it comes to your next pre-owned sport sedan or SUV? Simple — read this Major World article to arm yourself with the facts!

Germany’s Trifecta of Luxury SUVs and Sedans

Audi has the advantage of the Volkswagen Group’s huge war chest and access to Bentley and Lamborghini technology. From one of the industry’s most sophisticated AWD systems to the most enviable parts bin in the automotive industry — there’s a lot to like about Audi. 

Of course, BMW has the distinction of being the only truly independent, family-owned European car manufacturer left, which means they never have to compromise and get to do things their way. BMW continues to lead, rather than follow. They were the first of the three to get serious about the EV revolution — yet they’ve never forgotten to stay true to their roots. 

Finally, we have Mercedes-Benz, the most storied of all European car brands. The three-pointed star is perhaps the most recognizable car logo in the world. That symbol stands for not only luxury but cutting-edge engineering and uncompromising quality. Mercedes never forgets its history, but they don’t stay stuck in it either — forever pushing the envelope of automotive tech. 

There is a lot to think about when it comes to buying a used Audi, BMW, or pre-owned Mercedes. Where do you begin? Right here! 

Pre-Owned Audi Sedans, Coupes, and SUVs

Audi put itself on the map when it introduced its legendary Quattro AWD system to the U.S. in 1982. This rally-proven all-wheel drive system helped to distinguish the brand from BMW and Mercedes and cut its own path to the hearts of Americans seeking a used European sports sedan with a character all its own. A lot of Audi aficionados appreciate the brand because it offers something a little different from all the other luxury car brands on the block. 

Today, Audi’s sedan and coupe lineup is full with the A4, A5, A6, A7, and A8. But the used Audi SUVs are incredibly popular as well. You will find exceptional value in a pre-owned Audi Q5 or Q7 as well. Pre-owned and used Audi SUVs deliver as much practicality as they do performance and that’s a huge part of their charm. 

Pre-owned Audi crossovers also come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, much like pre-owned Mercedes crossovers. As part of the larger Volkswagen Group — Audi also benefits from very deep pockets for R&D. That has helped keep them ultra-competitive in the fire-hot trend towards in-vehicle technology and EV power. 

Audi SUVs and Sedans:

  • Offer Quattro all-wheel drive option on every model.
  • Include the high-performance S4, S5, S6 and S8.
  • Feature some of the best fuel economy of any Euro luxury vehicle.

Pre-Owned BMW Sedans, Coupes and SUVs

BMW is credited by many with inventing the sports sedan with its outstanding 2002ti. Most Americans know BMW best for the BMW 3-series, 5-series, and 7-series sedans though. In the 1980s, they established the gold standard for European sports sedans. At the time Audi was still warming up and Mercedes was more focused on cosseting luxury features than scintillating performance. 

While Audi and Mercedes were competing, it’s fair to say BMW is a forefather of the luxury performance sedan trend. BMW more than earned its seat at the table and logged many firsts in the book. They have kept up the competitive fire and today the BMW stable is full of as many thoroughbreds as any other German automaker. If you come to Major World for some test drives — you’re bound to find a BMW that fits you well. 

BMW also hasn’t been shy about introducing new models and jumping into the red-hot performance SUV sector with the BMW X3, X5, and X7 luxury performance crossovers. BMW is always looking forward to the future as well — they build some of the most modern European sports sedans you can get and are actively pursuing the EV market too. 

BMW SUVs and Sedans:

  • Deliver superb handling in every model.
  • Offer best-in-class performance in many segments of the market. 
  • Feature everything from hybrids to manual transmission and AWD. 

Pre-Owned Mercedes Sedans, Coupes and SUVs

Mercedes-Benz has a reputation for quality and prestige going back to the brand’s inception in 1926. Cofounder Carl Benz built the first gasoline-powered automobile. When you more or less invented the car, your name comes with some cachet. Mercedes’ history is marked with some performance sedan milestones, like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 and the homologation special 190E 2.3-16 which brought the heat to the BMW M3. 

Driving a Mercedes tells the world that you’ve got discerning taste and you won’t settle for less than you deserve. Used Mercedes ML320s and other pre-owned Mercedes SUVs and sedan models offer an attractive value proposition. That’s the beauty of buying a used luxury SUV or sedan. Someone else has already knocked 30-50% off of the new price for you. 

If you’re clever — you can buy a pre-owned or used Mercedes and get 90% of the vehicle for 50-60% of the price. That’s pretty appealing no matter how many digits are on your bank statement. It should be no surprise that Major World sees a lot of well-heeled individuals shopping out stock of used Mercedes SUVs and sedans. 

Mercedes-Benz SUVs and Sedans:

  • Feature the prestige and elegance that only a Mercedes can bring.
  • Offer best-in-class luxury accouterments and interior space.
  • Boast the smoothest ride and quietest cabins in their respective classes. 

How to Decide Between Audi, BMW, and Mercedes

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Which one of these legendary German marques is right for you? We think it’s only fair to consider them all — which one is your perfect fit is likely to come down to what body style and features you’re after. 

For example, if you’re looking for a used European sports sedan with a manual transmission, your best bet is BMW. Manuals are hard to find in the U.S. period, but BMW has kept the faith longer than Audi and Mercedes. You may have to opt for an M performance model to get a stick shift, but that’s hardly a compromise now, is it? 

On the other hand, if you’re after a pre-owned luxury SUV with 3-row seating, Mercedes-Benz has the edge there with more SUV models that feature 3-row seating offered over the past few years. 

It’s a lot to think about, we get it — That’s why the Major World team put our heads together, reviewed all the data and our personal experience to come up with a list for you

The Best European SUVs and Sedans by Category

Best Small European SUV

  • For performance: BMW X3 xDrive40i (but the 3.0i is quick too!)
  • For fuel economy: Mercedes GLA 250 4Matic
  • For roominess:  BMW X3 (any model)

Best Mid-Sized European SUV

  • For performance: BMW X5 M50i SAV
  • For fuel economy: Audi Q5 Quattro 2.0T
  • For roominess:  Mercedes GLE SUV (any model)

Best Full-Size European SUV

  • If performance is your priority: Mercedes AMG GLS 63 4MATIC+
  • If fuel mileage is your priority: Audi Q7 Quattro 2.0T
  • If roominess is your priority:  BMW X7 (any model)

Best Small European Luxury Sedan

  • If performance is your priority: Audi S4 3.0T
  • If fuel mileage is your priority: BMW 330i (36 mpg!)
  • If roominess is your priority:  BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-Class (tie)

Best Full-Size European Luxury Sedan

  • If performance is your priority: BMW M760i XDrive
  • If fuel mileage is your priority: Mercedes S500 4Matic
  • If roominess is your priority:  Mercedes S500 4Matic

Major World for the Best in European Luxury Value

At Major World, we don’t just love selling cars. We love cars, period. We think everyone deserves to have the experience of owning a fine European car or SUV at least once in their life. There’s nothing quite like taking on a windy road in the Catskills in your Audi A4 or picking up your date in a gleaming, freshly waxed Mercedes GLE SUV.

Whether you have performance or prestige in mind — Major World has the low-mileage high-end used car or SUV you’re looking for at a price that will make you smile. 

Check out our unparalleled inventory using our online search portal. We offer an ultra-simple, no-BS financing process that you can start online before you even get here (it won’t affect your credit at all, BTW). 

Don’t settle for less than the very best used car dealership in Long Island. You deserve the Major World standard of customer care. Give us a call now at (866) 614-2884.

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