BMW 3 Series competition- Trial by fire

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Audi A4

It was our favourite premium executive saloon but things have changed as the A4 is now almost five years old. But it still puts up a fight. Apart from two diesels and a petrol, you also get the option of the S4, the most powerful car in its class. Assembled at Aurangabad and with prices ranging from ~27 lakh to 46 lakh, the A4 borrows its underpinnings from the last-gen VW Passat, which isn’t such a bad thing. Quattro is optional, but the rest of the kit is exhaustive, quite a bit of which is standard. Space is decent, the overall build quality is good and it has the best media interface of the quartet. It’s the only other front-wheel driven car in the pack (when not quattro) but it displays good confidence and road manners. The 2.0 TDI diesel is slow, the 1.8 TSI petrol is an average performer and the 3.0 TDI will blow your socks off.

 

 

 

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

While the A4 and the C-Class did get a facelift not too long ago, it’s the Merc that somehow manages to do a better job of it. It has shed its conservative looks for something that’s a bit more svelte and sinister at the same time. The interiors have a good selection of textures while the overall colour treatment is pleasing to the eye. With a choice of a petrol and diesel motor, the latter offered in two states of tune, the C is easy on the pocket and reasonably quick too. The facelift has also meant some changes to the running gear, which have helped make the C-Class somewhat tighter and a more evolved car to drive. It won’t put a very big smile on your face around the hills, but will, however,  enthrall you with its comfortable ride. A bit short on space in this company, the C-Class is for those who like the best of all worlds.

 

 

 

Volvo S60

A well known brand in India, Volvo makes some pretty competent cars that somehow don’t get much mention in the upper strata. Volvo’s S60 is a car that breaks from the traditional mould, one that screams style and panache. On offer is the 2.4-litre diesel motor with 163 bhp (D3) and 204 bhp (D5) while a belter of a petrol, the 3.0-litre T6 with 304 horses, is also on offer. The S60 boasts of the best seats in its segment and the best NVH levels too, which is something we can vouch for. The diesel motor is reasonably refined and returns good fuel economy. It offers a solid, pliant ride and is, overall, a very good car from a brand that could do with some aggression in the market place.