Audi A4 Avant vs BMW 3 Series Touring vs Mercedes C-Class Estate

In estate form, the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are all practical and stylish load-luggers. But which is best?

Words By What Car? team

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Audi A4 Avant with BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class Estate

Our verdict

There isn’t a great deal to separate these estates. However, four years is a long time in the car world and, despite some recent updates, the BMW 3 Series Touring’s age puts it at a disadvantage, not only because the bar has been raised since its debut, but also because older models tend to depreciate more heavily.

The 3 Series Touring is quick, fun to drive, reasonably practical and, perhaps surprisingly, not uncomfortable on standard M Sport suspension. But its comparative lack of standard-fit luxury and safety kit, along with its noisy engine, are glaring shortfalls.

If arriving at your destination as fresh and stress-free as possible is your priority, the Mercedes C-Class Estate is an attractive proposition. The supple ride, interior comforts and healthy roster of labour-saving gadgets that come as standard work in its favour. It also makes financial sense for company car drivers and private buyers. Improved engine refinement and better steering would have pushed it even closer to winning this contest.

The Audi A4 Avant, meanwhile, combines distance-devouring motorway composure with the most refined engine, peerless interior quality, the largest and most usable boot and reasonable ownership costs. Our only reservation is that the 3.0 TDI 218 model is even smoother and punchier, emits barely any more CO2 and costs just Β£1700 more.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that none of these estates is the last word in boot space. If that’s your priority, you could buy a BMW 5 Series Touring for not a lot more.

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1st – Audi A4 Avant

For Cruising refinement; biggest boot; stunning interior; slow depreciation; safety

Against Low-speed ride on 19in alloys; could do with more standard equipment

Verdict A fine estate, but there are bigger alternatives for similar cash

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Audi A4 Avant review

Find a great Audi A4 deal

2nd – Mercedes C-Class Estate

For Generous equipment; performance; supple ride

Against Steering; engine refinement in town

Verdict Luxurious, quick and decent value for money

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Mercedes C-Class Estate review

Find a great Mercedes C-Class deal

3rd – BMW 3 Series Touring

For Most accomplished handling; big discounts

Against Long-term costs; noisy engine; standard kit

Verdict Still the keen driver's estate of choice

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full BMW 3 Series Touring review

Find a great BMW 3 Series deal

Also consider:

Specifications: Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TDI 190 S line S tronic

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price Β£36,590

Target Price Β£33,105

Power 188bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-60mph 8.5sec

Top speed 143mph

Fuel economy 65.7mpg

CO2 emissions 113g/km

Specifications: BMW 3 Series Touring 320d M Sport auto

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price Β£36,340

Target Price Β£31,951

Power 188bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-60mph 7.6sec

Top speed 140mph

Fuel economy 62.8mpg

CO2 emissions 119g/km

Specifications: Mercedes C-Class Estate C 220 d Sport auto

Engine size 2.1-litre diesel

List price Β£35,620

Target Price Β£31,684

Power 168bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-60mph 7.5sec

Top speed 142mph

Fuel economy 64.2mpg

CO2 emissions 114g/km

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