BMW v Mercedes v Audi v VW: Which luxury small car is BEST?

Thanks to everyone for providing us vehicles for this video:
1 Series:

When it comes to luxurious small family vehicles, it doesn't get better than the A-Class, Audi A3, 1 Series and .

The question is if you remain in the marketplace for an automobile such as this, which should you opt for? Well thankfully Mat's got his hands on all four and he's going to put them all to the test!

So let's take a look at how the 4 compare. Starting with the , it's recently had a mid-life facelift, so it features a few changes compared to the initial 2018 release. There's an upgraded lower bumper, a bigger grille, and a brand-new guiding wheel on the inside. Apart from the plainly phony exhausts around the back, it looks quite wise, and the infotainment & digital dial display screen is quickly the best of the four cars and trucks here. When it pertains to rate, the range kicks off at ₤ 32,000.

Next up we have the Audi, which includes a cheaper beginning price than the Mercedes, at ₤ 27,000. When it pertains to the design it looks quite smart from the outdoors, with a substantial grille up front which is flanked by 2 sharp, well-designed headlights. There are creases around the side, and it looks fairly plain around the back. Step within and although the infotainment system is quite great, there are lots of scratchy plastics to be discovered throughout the cabin.

The BMW's next in line, and it has one thing no other vehicles here have – genuine exhaust tips on program! All-in-all the 1 Series looks quite clever on the outside, although we're not a fan of the grille in advance Thankfully though the interior quality offsets this, with high-quality materials found throughout the cabin together with a top quality infotainment system on the dash. However, the very same can't be said for the digital dials, which seem a bit standard and dark. When it pertains to price, the 1 Series starts at around ₤ 28,000.

Then finally we have the least expensive cars and truck here, with the Golf range beginning at around ₤ 26,500. On the outdoors, it's clearly a Golf, and although we really like the style around the back and side, we think the front end could be the worst-looking of the 4 automobiles here! Luckily the interior looks really clever and tidy, but these looks come at a cost, with almost all functionality coming through the infotainment screen … What's so wrong with physical buttons ?!

So can you select a winner, or are the 4 too uniformly matched? Let us know which you would choose in the comments, or remain and join Mat for this brand new group test!

00:00 Introduction
00:31 Costs
01:27 Design
04:24 Interiors
08:13 Back Seats
11:06 Boots
13:47 Driving – Golf
15:13 Driving – Audi A3
16:31 Driving – BMW 1 Series
17:55 Driving – Mercedes A-Class
19:04 Verdict

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70 responses to “BMW v Mercedes v Audi v VW: Which luxury small car is BEST?”

  1. carwow Avatar

    Which of these cars is best? VOTE BELOW!

    1. carwow Avatar

      VOTE: A-Class

    2. carwow Avatar

      VOTE: 1 Series

    3. carwow Avatar

      VOTE: A3

    4. carwow Avatar

      VOTE: Golf

    5. Matthew Norman Avatar
      Matthew Norman

      What’s the difference between a i20 and a Getz? One has been on carwow day 226

  2. Romania4K Avatar

    The new Dacia Sandero, obviously

    1. FootballMad Avatar

      No doubt

    2. Car Questions Now Avatar
      Car Questions Now


    3. Anca ZZz Art Avatar
      Anca ZZz Art

      The best or nothing, Dacia Sandero

    4. Amir Hamzah Husni Avatar
      Amir Hamzah Husni

      Best of the best.

    5. David Avatar

      I never see a darcia in my entire life 😂

  3. gcm747 Avatar

    Let’s not forget that VW are bringing back physical buttons in the Golf which should lift the practicality of the interior.

    1. damian woch Avatar
      damian woch

      It still won’t fix how ugly it looks (interior and exterior )

    2. Ben Garlick Avatar
      Ben Garlick

      VW Slogan DAS Auto should be for the Golf SAD Auto instead with that front 😂

    3. hassy g Avatar
      hassy g

      wow exciting

    4. Abba Rasheed Avatar
      Abba Rasheed

      If they do that, and fix the face. That would be nice

    5. Titus Rome Avatar
      Titus Rome

      VW should not be in this discussion with other 3 competitors. It looks & feels so cheap and this will sound crazy the new car smell we all love is awful

  4. Michael Staunton Avatar
    Michael Staunton

    Finally a car test with normal regular vehicle in the real world and not from top end of market !

    1. Hairy Vince Avatar
      Hairy Vince

      go watch that 5th gear crap if you are interested in consumer friendly advice. Besides, considering the prices of these shitholes, one would have to be bonkers to buy them instead of a proper 2nd hand vehicle.
      The video of that title should be: “What to get if you want to spend too much money on too little of a car, but are too cocky to have a Dacia Sandero”

    2. Taras Buria Avatar
      Taras Buria

      @Hairy Vince that sounds like what a Dacia Sandero owner would say

    3. Louis Ullrich Avatar
      Louis Ullrich

      @Hairy Vincewow hes maaaad 😂

    4. hassy g Avatar
      hassy g

      real world cars still the german crap

    5. tim fagan Avatar
      tim fagan

      The merc is the most expensive even with 90% off coming in at £3,190.50 I still can’t afford it 😂😂😂😂

  5. fatbelly27 Avatar

    I didn’t realise VW had become so expensive compared to equivalent German models. And in that colour the Golf looks like it’s still waiting for its top coat.

    1. Purwanti Allan Avatar
      Purwanti Allan

      At least the models dont lie.

    2. PlanetCaravan Avatar

      Thats why many switch to skoda

    3. fatbelly27 Avatar

      @PlanetCaravan An Octavia with the same engine as the Golf will be around 5k cheaper – and more spacious

    4. PlanetCaravan Avatar

      @fatbelly27 and with better equipment

    5. mastodon Avatar

      @PlanetCaravanand exactly the same tech

  6. RJAVD Avatar

    Can we just appreciate the fact that the Golf has a spare wheel

    1. Purwanti Allan Avatar
      Purwanti Allan


    2. mastodon Avatar

      @Purwanti Allan well u can get a spare wheel in every car u just need to pay the extra € , its also not standard in a Golf u pay about 500€ …for it 🙂

    3. Plup Avatar

      @mastodon it is standard

    4. Michael Undefined Avatar
      Michael Undefined

      Mine golf 8 doesnt have one because of the Harman Kardon sound system with subwoofer

    5. Kory Avatar


  7. Thijn T Avatar
    Thijn T

    Could you also do this test with less-posh family hatchbacks like the Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, Opel Corsa and Seat Ibiza?

    1. joe ward Avatar
      joe ward

      I wish they added the Megane in this test sadly they didn’t add it.

    2. mr V Avatar
      mr V

      They said premium. The megane isn’t a premium car.

    3. Oskar Skalski Avatar
      Oskar Skalski

      @mr V Neither is Golf.

    4. Pavan Jawanda Avatar
      Pavan Jawanda

      @Oskar Skalski the golf is a premium hatchback for its MK8 versions now. The price is in the same range as the other three now, compared to before where it used to be one of the cheapest out of the four and some models being a completely lower price bracket

    5. Oskar Skalski Avatar
      Oskar Skalski

      @Pavan Jawanda Yes I agree that regarding price it’s closer to Audi or BMW but when you spec Audi or BMW (not to mention Mercedes) to Golf’s level they are still more pricey. Nevertheless if you look at VW’s interior, quality of materials (horrible hard plastic in the back), it is nowhere near premium brands. For the lower price Octavia has the same build quality, more space etc. Or look at seat, they are not far off (if at all) from VW Golf. And that is what I was saying, I know it’s price tag may try to position it among the premium brands but the quality doesn’t.

  8. Neville Williams Avatar
    Neville Williams

    Matt I know that you have a thing about fake exhausts and I fully agree with you. I would like to point out that I have a 2014 CLS and can guarantee that both exhausts produce emission!

    1. OR298_Gaming Avatar

      Same here!

    2. jaffffart Avatar

      I think the fake exhausts are there so they are clean all the time. I have a w204 c63 and boy those quad exhausts are completely blacked out now and impossible to clean. Mercedes are smart there’s a reason they use fake exhaust tips now.

  9. G M Avatar
    G M

    Matt, why haven’t you told us exactly what engines they have, Including horsepower, torque etc. It would take seconds to do, and we’d be properly informed.

    Don’t get too carried away with presentation and forget about important details!!

  10. Oliver Donald Avatar
    Oliver Donald

    I’m not surprised the merc won this group test because it won last time with the previous model which isn’t much different

    1. Bones Avatar

      you have certainly been blessed with a great deal of intelligence

    2. Oliver Donald Avatar
      Oliver Donald

      @Bones thank you, just have a passion cars

  11. Ivan Nikitin Avatar
    Ivan Nikitin

    Interesting that Mat felt road noise was louder in BMW while on video it’s the loudest in the Golf.

    1. Anders Nielsen Avatar
      Anders Nielsen

      irrelevant what you can hear on video. Depends on where it is mounted, wind and a lot of other things.

    2. Brad Avatar

      I thought it quite funny how much bass thump was happening while the BMW was being driven. Sometimes I forget my subwoofer is on the floor and then I get the wind on my shins. Quite noticeable during that driving portion. Very nice!

  12. TechBaffle Avatar

    The Mercedes won because Mat worked on his relationship with the car 😂

  13. Kevin Crawford Avatar
    Kevin Crawford

    I really like the look of the A-class Saloon over the Hatchback.

    1. Aswin Anbarasan Avatar
      Aswin Anbarasan


  14. Julia MongAR Avatar
    Julia MongAR

    Great video matt! I just bought myself an A250e and would love to see it being compared to its competitors. So far im absolutely in love with it & amazed by the comfort. Again amazing video!

    1. ®735337707™ Avatar

      How’s the interior quality? Haven’t encountered a merc with decent one for a while.

    2. Apothecary Terry Avatar
      Apothecary Terry

      Seconding the interior quality question, it’s what’s kept Mercs off my “next car shortlist” each time so far. The previous gen interiors were a combination of more bezel than screen, made of the same plastic as McDonalds cup lids. The newer A Class from a design perspective seems a big improvement, would be good to know if it feels more solid too, especially from an owner rather than a journo!

    3. Kieran Aylward Avatar
      Kieran Aylward

      @Apothecary Terry I have an W177 A180d and can honestly say its built like a tank! ive had BMWs and VAG cars but none of them have survived the dog test except the Merc which 3 and half years and 70k later still looks as good as the day I bought it! no squeeks or rattling from anywhere and as a bigger guy, loads of room inside! I would 100 percent recomend taking a look at one if you can.

    4. Bones Avatar

      what did you think of this video?


    5. Apothecary Terry Avatar
      Apothecary Terry

      @Kieran Aylward Interesting, I’m thinking more E43/E53 and I’m just a regular-sized 6ft person so size should be a non-issue (although I do have very weirdly long legs 😄) but the interiors are made of the same stuff so good to know they’re solid.

      Now I’ve just got to find one to test drive and see if they’re fun, I know they’re comfy but I’m coming from a porker – I’ve driven and ruled out 12 cars for being too boring so far! Replacing the porker because it’d be perfect if the tyre noise at 70 wasn’t literally louder than an A320 taking off…

  15. carlitox370 Avatar

    Amazing video as always matt, i just would’ve loved if you just threw the mazda 3 in there as well, think it can definitely compete with all 4 of those cars in not only luxury but other areas as well.

    1. Jacob Best Avatar
      Jacob Best

      I completely agree with you there.

    2. Smusy K Avatar
      Smusy K

      Becoming a fan of the new mazdas in general & their build quality is up there with the best

  16. Michael Lau Avatar
    Michael Lau

    I have the 2022 Golf R Line in same color but changed it to sporty black rims and added some subtle red pinstripes and looks fantastic. As is it even looks better than the GTI and certainly the R. Drives super nice but the new single clutch transmission isn’t as good as the previous dual.

  17. j j Avatar
    j j

    The Golf R-line without a doubt knocks the ball out of the park for a small family hatch. Most comfortable car I’ve ever been I and lots of lovely touches such as the interior lighting and when you open the doors in the dark, a pool of light appears at the doors so you dont end up stepping into a puddle😂

    1. moza Avatar

      I’ve had a Golf Mk8 r line for 2 years and I’ve driven a lot more comfortable cars but the 7 speed dsg is great

  18. Troy McLore Avatar
    Troy McLore

    Just had an A Class for a week whilst my C was in for work, I was actually impressed. It’s a good car.

  19. Maria: Come Fast To Get Into My Body Avatar
    Maria: Come Fast To Get Into My Body

    Climate controls in luxury cars and higher trim levels of less expensive cars almost always have an auto setting where you just pick a temperature once and it will heat or cool to maintain that temperature without ever changing anything .

  20. Mainzer111 Avatar

    Love the light interior in the Golf. Also aren’t they stepping back from the touchy slidy thing to buttons? If so, then I’d take the Golf.

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