What does the average business want from a car? Chiefly, it’s low running costs and reliability. But the car also has to be at least a touch prestigious. And prestige and low running costs are two factors that are rarely seen together.
So the question is, has the marketplace cooked anything up to meet our needs? Yes it has, and two cars stand out.
Audi A6 2.0 TDI
The first of our two competitors is the Audi A6 two litre version. This car has been receiving five-star reviews all over the internet. And that’s not too bad going for a car that’s been around a while and that we’re used to.
So how has Audi managed to keep us excited with the new A6? Well for business, it’s a no-brainer. The car looks professional, but not too exciting. It’s a corporate car through and through. Classy lines and understated features make it something that could complement any enterprise.
Inside the car, it’s the usual high standard we’ve come to expect from Audi. The A6 features some of the interior design elements from the top-of-the-range A8, giving the car a luxury feel. There’s all the usual technology rammed into the interior too, with USB inputs and Bluetooth. This is coupled with park assist, automatic lights and wipers and Google sat-nav.
That’s all great. But what’s likely effect of the car on the bottom line? For a car of its class and size, it does very well. The entry level car, the A6 Ultra, has a 2.0 litre TDI, 186bhp engine that Audi claim does 67.3mpg. Fuel emissions won’t let you escape carbon tax entirely, but they are low. As a result, the car is in tax band B, which means a paltry annual bill of £20. Don’t bother with the petrol versions of the car for business. Fuel economy is slashed in half and CO2 emissions are almost doubled.
Unlike most executive cars, the Audis tends to retain their value. This is partly down to the fact that they’re quite hard wearing. Thanks to the A6’s larger engine and quality tyres, it manages to stand up comparatively well against its rivals. A car that needs constant work can really slow you and your business down. Things like changing tyres can be a real hassle. If you’re struggling to find the time to change your tyres at a conventional garage, you can book a time and place at Event-Tyres.co.uk. Convenience is the name of the game, and more and more, tyre services will come to you, even if your A6 is parked at work.
Audi offers a three year or sixty-thousand-mile warranty on their cars which are about the same as major rivals. However, if you are planning to do a lot of driving, BMW offers unlimited mileage cover in the first three years. So it’s worth bearing that in mind.
As for servicing, the A6 needs a minor service every year, or every 10,000 miles. And then it needs a major service every 20,000 miles. Fixed term prices start from around £159 for models that are over 3 years old.
So what does the 320d have to offer that the Audi doesn’t? Both certainly fit the bill as smart, elegant business cars. Is there anything that gives the BMW an edge over its rival?
Perhaps the standout feature of BMW’s new 3 series is the performance. And this is no different for the 320d. From the point of view of cost, the 320d delivers. With 181bhp, the car is certainly plucky, though not as fast as the top of the line 340i, the performance king. Plus, if you go for the efficient dynamics model, you’ll only emit 99g/km CO2, putting you below the 100g/km tax threshold. So, unlike the Audi A6, you won’t pay road tax. You can find out what the road tax for your vehicles is at nextgreencar.com.
Having said this, the road tax on the A6 was only £20, so it’s not a deal breaker. What might prove to be a deal breaker for the BMW is the fact that, despite the quality engine and amazing performance, it’s not all that practical. Whereas the A6 has a luxury interior and plenty of boot space, the 320d lacks in terms of practicality and comfort.
In the search for performance, BMW has had to sacrifice on interior space, which means that it might get annoying if you’re using it for business. And that’s essentially the basic choice between the two cars. Do you want a fast car that’s not particularly practical or a practical car that’s not particularly fast?