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New age face-off

autos Updated: Dec 16, 2009 20:30 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Luxury car showdowns don’t come tougher than this. Here’s a look at how Mercedes’ E350, BMW’s 5301 and Audi’s A6 models stack up against each other.

The look: In the new E-Class, the sharply defined nose, the suggestion of the four-headlamp arrangement, the exaggerated tipped-forward stance and the W120 ‘ponton’-like flying bulge over the hips help the car stand out.

Unlike the Merc, which majors on comfort, every molecule of BMW’s 5301 goes into making it a driver’s car. It has a sporty suspension setup, near-perfect weight distribution and a unique braking system, too.

Audi’s A6 looks the least alluring of the lot. The carmakers have added new LED lamps to both the front and rear lights and there’s a new A4-like split chin, but the basic design with its classic inverted bathtub shape remains. Power: The A6 has the most power and the most sophisticated motor. The direct injection, supercharged V6 pumps out a very strong 290 bhp and while the Merc and BMW send drive to the rear wheels, the Audi sends power to all four.

The ride: For relaxed and leisurely driving, the Merc is ahead of the others.

The steering gives great feedback. The V6 motor is honey-smooth and the effortless manner in which the E-class eats up poor roads immediately puts you at ease.

The BMW 5-series’ ride is absorbent but not as relaxing to drive. With its heavy steering, it makes the driver work harder at low speeds.

The Audi, with its supercharged engine and cannon-shot throttle responses, is at the other extreme. You’ve to be very precise in modulating the throttle — the car lurches forward if you push the pedal only slightly harder.

Performance: When you want to get a move on, the E-class doesn’t fail to impress. But when it comes to ultimate handling, the E-class is no BMW.

The BMW’s steering delivers a very connected feel and is brimming with information.

With its sledgehammer throttle response, manic acceleration and huge grip, the Audi is the barbarian among the bunch. Put pedal-to-the-metal, and your face muscles will instantly respond with a smile.

— Autocar India

Mercedes e350

Fuel type: Petrol
Engine: 6-cyls in-vee, 3,498 cc
Power: 272 bhp at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 35.6 kgm at 2,400-5,000 rpm
Bore/ stroke: 92.9/ 86 mm
Specific output:77.75 bhp per litre
Gearbox: 7-speed auto

BMW 530i

Fuel type:
Engine: 6-cyls in-line, 2,996 cc
Power: 258 bhp at 6,500 rpm
Torque: 30.5 kgm at 2,400 rpm
Bore/ stroke: 85/ 88 mm
Specific output: 86.11 bhp per litre
Gearbox: 6-speed auto

Audi a6

Fuel type:
Engine: 6-cyls in-vee, 2,995 cc
Power: 290 bhp at 4,850-6,800 rpm
Torque: 42.8 kgm at 2,500 to 4,850 rpm
Bore/ stroke: 84.5/ 89 mm
Specific output: 96.8 bhp per litre
Gearbox: 6-speed auto