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Audi vs. BMW vs. Mercedes: Battle of the Brands

Audi, BMW and Mercedes are three of the most coveted car brands on the market – but which is the one for you?

A comparison of the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes logos

If you’re in the market for a luxury car, you've likely encountered Audi, BMW and Mercedes models in your search.

These are some of the most popular premium car brands and have a brilliant range of models to choose from.

Not sure if you’re Team used Audi, used BMW or used Mercedes? Read our comparison review to see which one meets your standards.

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Audi launched its first car – the Type A Sport-Phaeton – back in 1910 and followed that up with the Type B the following year.

The name ‘Audi’ comes from the surname of August Horsch, one of the founders of the brand. Meaning “listen!” in German, the name was translated into Latin to form the brand name we know so well today.

Mercedes-Benz was originally known as ‘Benz & Cie’ back in 1900, only getting its current name after a merger following the First World War.

The founders of Mercedes-Benz worked on the invention of the internal combustion engine, so they really know their stuff.

BMW came along a little later, starting as an aircraft engine manufacturer in 1916. The brand moved into the automobile sector in 1928, rebadging Dixi cars as BMWs after purchasing the original manufacturer.

They’ve been producing sports and luxury cars ever since then, but the BMW logo still represents the aircraft propellors from the brand’s beginnings.

Trim levels

Once you’ve decided on which manufacturer and model are right for you, you’ll need to choose between a range of trim levels.

Different trims come with different features and let you determine how kitted-out you want your car to be.

Audi trims

A blue Audi A1 driving on an empty road

In the Audi range, you’ll start at the Technik entry-level trim. These models include standard tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, MMI Navigation Plus infotainment and LED headlights.

Other models might have SE as their entry-level offering. Features in this range can include rear cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity, depending on the model you choose.

Further up the range, you’ll usually find Audi S line models. These come with sportier styling that includes lower suspension, sports seats with S line detailing, and larger alloys.

If you like the S line but prefer a darker look, the Black Edition does just this. With this trim, you’ll get the standard S line package but with darker alloys and glossy black details.

For something even sportier, the Audi S models feature that impressive quattro all-wheel drive and some fiery performance engines.

You might also want to look at RS models for something really performance-based.

The exact features of each trim vary depending on the model you choose. You can see the features included in our used Audi models by checking our vehicle descriptions.

BMW trims

A white BMW 2 Series driving on an empty road

Most BMW models start with the SE trim level for entry-level features. You can expect touches like a colour infotainment display, rear parking sensors and cruise control, depending on the model.

For some extras, the Sport trim is the next option on offer and adds upgraded wheels and suspension, plus sportier styling.

With features like adaptive suspension, digital driver display, and full parking sensors, the BMW xLine models are the next trim on offer.

At the top of the list are the M Sport models. These feature impressive engines, an even sportier design and a lower ride on chunkier wheels.

Check out the descriptions on our used BMW models, as the exact features available will depend on the model you choose.

Mercedes trims

white mercedes eqa driving on a countryside road

In the Mercedes lineup, most models start in the SE trim. Features here can include keyless start and heated front seats.

The Sport model is the next level up, offering standard kit like 17-inch alloys and sportier styling.

On the Sport base but with extra upgrades is the Sport Executive Edition. Features here can include an MBUX touchscreen setup with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus larger 18-inch alloys and privacy glass.

The next one up is usually the AMG Line Executive Edition, with the iconic AMG styling and even bigger alloys. You’ll also get a sportier grille style that’s fierce and eye-catching.

For a large digital driver’s display and panoramic glass sunroof, the AMG Line Premium Edition is the one to pick. You can also get tech like a Burmester sound system.

The AMG Line Premium Plus model is usually the range-topper. Offering features like upgraded safety tech and a panoramic sunroof, it gets all the bells and whistles you could need.

Take a look at our used Mercedes models and read the vehicle descriptions to see the exact features in each model.

You can also use our on-page filters to sort by the trims that appeal to you.


All three manufacturers have been highly rated for both reliability and safety. Consumer reliability surveys show positive findings, and many models receive a full five-star Euro NCAP rating.

Out of the three, Audi seems to be the weakest link in terms of reliability. These are still dependable cars that are well-built and high-quality, but Mercedes and BMW seem to score higher.

Many Audi models, such as the A3 and A6, get the five-star Euro NCAP rating but they generally sit below BMW and Mercedes when it comes to reliability.

BMW models usually get high safety ratings and receive positive reviews from drivers. Models like the BMW 3 Series and X5 get that full five-star NCAP rating.

Mercedes models such as the A-Class and GLA score well and are positively reviewed, with models receiving high ratings on the Euro NCAP safety test.

It’s worth noting that all models are luxury and therefore slightly pricier when it comes to maintenance. As parts are up to premium standards, they’re usually more expensive and you might also want to visit a specialist to have any work done.

Verdict: Audi, BMW or Mercedes?

When it comes to deciding if Audi, BMW or Mercedes are better, it will mostly come down to personal preference.

Each manufacturer offers high-quality vehicles with plenty of tech, style and impressive engine options.

While Audi sits in third in terms of reliability, models are still high-quality and offer luxe interiors with decked-out trim options.

BMW seems to be the one to pick for an impressive drive and fiery engines, while Mercedes models prioritise sleek and timeless styling.

Take a look at our full range of used Audi, BMW and Mercedes models to see what’s on offer, and read our in-depth reviews to learn more about the cars.

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