Thursday March 3 2016

Which of the three is macho?

The Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz are all

The Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz are all powerful cars and have almost the same qualities. However, the Merc is preferred for its higher resale value. NET PHOTO 

By Paul Kaganzi

Some of the “heavy weight” car makes on the Ugandan market are Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi. Paul Kaganzi reviewed the popular models of these cars; the BMW X5 (E70), AUDI Q7 and Mercedes ML 320 CDi.

Some of the “heavy weight” car makes on the Ugandan market are Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi. Paul Kaganzi reviewed the popular models of these cars; the BMW X5 (E70), AUDI Q7 and Mercedes ML 320 CDi.

Handling and safety

Stability on the road: The BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML are designed and built with the best safety, performance or handling enhancing features and technology available in Germany at the time.
Anti-locking Brake systems (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Programmes and Traction control, Hill descent control.

These three SUVs come with multi-link independent front and rear suspension to reduce body roll or sway when driving fast around sharp bends. BMW X5 feels more solid and firm on the road during extreme performance driving fast through tight corners with limited body roll.

This is attributed to BMW’s X Drive technology which integrates the all-wheel drive, better engine power and braking response to the body suspension and design.BMW puts these features at your disposal for sheer driving pleasure.

The bigger Mercedes ML and the weightier Audi Q7 give a spirited challenge in the handling segment with the combination of electronic Air suspension and the above dynamic safety electronics.
When manoeuvring at high speeds the Audi Q7 feels somewhat lofty because it is heavier while the ML slightly pitches in a rather uncomfortable way.

Safety
The three rivalling models offer an array of safety enhancing features like multiple airbags with intelligent seat, child door locks and ISOFIX child seat harnessing points.
They also have door side intrusion beams, crash crumple zones, electronic park assist, blind spot assist, tyre pressure monitoring systems, roll over sensors which cut off power and fuel supply in the event of an accident, adaptive head lights which move with the steering, adaptive steering which stiffens when a driver over steers at high speeds.
The driver and passenger safety standards on both cars are very high and competitively close. They all score highly in the safety segment.

Performance
Engine size
The BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML come to the fight with 3.0 litre turbo diesel engines, Doubleoverhead camshafts (DOHC), four valves per cylinder with common rail piezo diesel direct injection.

Engine performance
These engines boast variable geometry turbo charging with intercooler (TDi) and meet Euro IV emission standards. This gives the trio a lag-less and better response to throttle, quieter with refined and subdued diesel clutter.
The BMW, Mercedes and Audi SUVs provide equally impressive and close power and fuel economy.
This is the age of the new diesel engines smoother, more powerful with cleaner emissions.

Pick up speed
When it is time to play, the X5 proves to be nimble and leads the pack with better pulling power and faster acceleration of 0-100 KPH in 8.3 seconds while the ML follows closely with 8.6 seconds and Audi trails behind with 9.1 seconds.

Fuel consumption
BMW X5’s 3.0 litre engine is slightly bigger, it tips the performance scales narrowly with better engine power and fuel economy in the urban traffic and on the highway.
It is closely followed by the MercedesML. BMW’s line six engine works seamlessly with the smooth shifting 6 speed automatic transmission to make it more efficient than its V6 counterparts. ML 320 CDi with 7 speed automatic gearbox follows closely on the heels with better fuel economy than the 6 speed Audi Q7.

Reliability and resale value

The BMW X5 2007 comes with no spare tyre or wheel changing tools. The run flat tyres on the X5 allow you to drive the vehicle at 80 KPH in case of a puncture.
Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML routine service parts are readily available at a high cost with declared dealers and independent parts outlets in Uganda. The slow-moving engine or body parts are not readily available but can be ordered by the independent parts dealers in a few days.
Mercedes Benz has a better parts presence both with dealership and independent shops. There has been an improvement of car repair facilities, the technical know-how and tooling to handle these cars.
The three vehicle models have a security system with anti-tamper or intrusion warning alarm and engine immobiliser. Mercedes has a better resale value because the brand has a stronger status symbol and the stronger after sales facilities.

Verdict
BMW X5, Mercedes ML 164 and Audi Q7 are locked in a close contest. Whereas the X5 scores two points for a slightly better engine performance and road handling, the gap is narrow. Audi Q7, BMW and the ML score three points each due to equally good credentials for safety, convenient features and security.
Mercedes ML scores one point for better maintenance reliability and resale value compared to its two rivals. The BMW X5 and Mercedes ML 164 tie with the same score in this contest.


weighing scale
BMW X5 E70 (3.0L) AUDI Q7 TDV6 (3.0L) Mercedes V6 ML320 CDI
Engine capacity cc: 2,993 2,967 2,987
Fuel system: Common Rail diesel Common Rail diesel Common Rail diesel
Transmission: AWD Automatic 6 speed AWD Automatic 6 speed AWD Automatic 7 speed
Engine power: 232 BHP@ 4,000 rpm 233 BHP @ 4,000 rpm 221 BHP @ 3,800 rpm
Engine Torque: 1521NM /383ftib@2,000rpm 500NM/369ftib@1,750rpm 510NM/376ftib@1,600rpm
Acceleration 0-100 kph (sec): 8.3 9.1 8.6
Maximum speed KPH: 216 216 216
Fuel economy urban : 10.19 km / Litre 6.84 km / Litre 8.06 km/ Litre
Fuel economy highway: 13.88 km / Litre 12 km / Litre 13.51 km/ Litre
Ground clearance mm: 211 206 211
Height mm: 1,765 1,730 1,816
Length mm: 4,854 5,085 4,788
Width mm: 1933 1049 1,910
Cargo volume litres: 620 670 552
Cost price for used 2009: Shs120m Shs120m Shs120m
Resale value locally: Shs70m Shs70m Shs80m
Star rating out of 7 : **** *** ****
Coefficient of drag: 0.34cd 0.37cd 0.34cd

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