This is a comparison test almost no American buyer will ever care about. The traditional American buyer, that is. We know you gearheads love wagons and why shouldn’t you? They offer up the same chassis dynamics of their sedan counterpart while also adding family-friendly practicality. Want that sports car but the ole wife says no because you’ve got kids and a dog and stuff to carry around? No problem, get a sports wagon. Two of the best sports wagons in the business are the Audi A4 Avant and Mercedes C Class Estate.
If you’ve read this site before, you’ve probably seen our incessant ranting about why Audi Avants should come to America. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never see them here again. But that won’t stop my bitching. And bitch I will, especially about the new Audi A4 Avant, as it’s excellent. Being that it’s essentially a standard Audi A4 sedan, just with more cargo space, it has everything one could want in a car. It’s good looking (especially so in Avant form), quick, handles great and has an incredible cabin. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, the Mercedes-Benz C C250d Estate also packs the same set of qualities. It’s a great looking car, has a ton of cargo space and a wonderful cabin. It’s hard not to like. So Top Gear pit both of these excellent wagons against each other in a quick comparison test to see which is better.
In terms of cargo space, the Benz is the winner. While the Audi A4 Avant actually boasts more cargo space on paper (505 liters), the Merc actually has more usable space (450 liters). The Benz has a lower, almost flush load lip, making it easier to load objects and has more usable cubby space. The C Class Estate also has more space with the seats folded down (1,600 liters to the Audi’s 1,510).
When it comes to the interior, it’s the Audi that wins it though. The new A4’s cockpit is a wonderful place to spend some time. With excellent ergonomics, a minimalist design that somehow manages to seem luxurious and better build quality, it’s simply better than the Merc’s. However, the Mercedes-Benz C Class does have a wonderful cabin, it’s just not as intuitive or as well made. Its design is lovely and more luxurious than the Audi’s, but it doesn’t have the fit and finish nor the impressive technology of the A4.
As far as driving goes, the Mercedes takes the win. The new Audi A4 Avant is probably the best driving car in its model’s history. It really does drive really well. However, it can be a bit lifeless at times and its start/stop system is frustrating. But its 2.0 liter turbocharged diesel engine is a gem and silky smooth. The Merc, on the other hand, has a somewhat coarse diesel engine that isn’t as refined as the Audi’s. But its steering is better, its ride is more supple and its dynamics are a bit sharper. Credit its rear-wheel drive, compared to Audi’s all-wheel drive, for that.
Overall, Top Gear gives big props to the Audi A4 Avant. It’s a handsome, stylish and fun-to-drive wagon that combines some sports car athletics with family-car practicality all while allowing its passengers to enjoy its wonderful cabin. But the Mercedes-Benz C250d Estate takes the victory. Its blend of better chassis dynamics, more cargo space and nicer design make it the winner here.