By on November 3, 2020

In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we discussed three large European wagons with a $65,000 price point. The Buy vote was a toss-up between the E-Class and the A6 allroad.

Today we cover the sedan variants of the same three cars, at the exact same price point. Think you’ll choose differently?

Audi A6

The A6 is the most affordable of our competitors today in its highest trim. Available in 45 Premium (2.0L) or 55 Premium (V6), base prices are $54,900 and $59,800, respectively. The 55 Premium uses the same turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 as the allroad, and pairs it with a mild hybrid system of 48 volts. 335 horses shift to all wheels via the seven-speed DCT. Assume you’ve checked a couple of options to end up at $65,000, probably Premium Plus for the B&O system and virtual cockpit, and the Convenience Package for an advanced key and traffic assist.

Jaguar XF

For 2021, the high-powered S versions of the XF disappear, as Jaguar refreshes and narrows down the aging lineup of its largest sedan (the V6 also disappears). In 2020 the S is the trim to get if you want V6 power in your XF. With a 3.0-liter supercharged power plant, the XF is the hotrod of today’s trio. Three-hundred and eighty horses travel via the standard all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic. It’s the most expensive car here at $68,200, so no optional extras.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Unlike the wagon version, the E-Class sedan goes without All-Terrain plastic cladding. The most expensive non-AMG version of the E-Class is today’s E 450 4MATIC. The 450 means you get a 3.0-liter V6 (362 hp) instead of the 2.0-liter I-4 of the E 350. Mercedes’ model numbering system has really been a shambles for some time now. A nine-speed automatic is the only transmission on offer. The base price is $61,550, which is easily enhanced to around $65,000 by the Designo package, which nets you a nicer interior.

Last time you chose the Mercedes or the Audi when considering the wagon versions of these cars. Does the supercharged power of the XF make the Brit more tempting?

[Images: Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz]

 

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49 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: $65,000 European Luxury Sedans for 2020...”


  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Oh boy. Well I’m out. Drive one, sure…probably the Audi. Burn one? One will probably catch on fire at some point and make that decision easy. Buy one? Not a chance in hades. If I want to throw money away like that I’ll get an old boat to restore.

    What’s next…Drive Buy Burn…80s Eastern Bloc cars? Probably more reliable somehow.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’d drive the Jag, just case I want to see how badly Tata messed it up. Then I’d burn all three.

      Force me to play by the rules?
      Drive – Jag for reasons stated above.
      Burn – Adi, as I really don’t trust VW
      Buy (with a gun to my head) – the Benz. As a weekend car, I think i’d enjoy it most

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Geez, new these are all nice, but I’d probably buy the Merc, drive the Audi and I’m sure I’m not alone in burning an out-of-warranty Jag

    • 0 avatar
      Tstag

      If you look at the league tables for reliability the Audi wins hands down. But the Jaguar is a close match for Mercedes and BMW. It’s pretty astonishing that all although they finish behind Mercedes and BMW it’s a pretty close thing

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Buy: Audi, as it’s the best-looking of the three. Audi nailed the conservative/stylish balance here.

    Drive: Mercedes. Excellent car, but have you seen an E-class in traffic? Chances are you have, but thought it was a C-class because they look almost exactly alike. And the C-class isn’t much of a looker to begin with. Pass.

    Burn: Jaguar. Generic, boring styling. Zero-style, zero-quality interior. Glad it’s the most powerful car in this group, but any of these cars will provide more than enough performance to keep an enthusiast happy. The XF was a lazy effort from day one, and it’s the most expensive car here. Besides, I’m burning ALL Jags until they get their act together.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Buy Jag – Drive Audi – Burn Benz

    Please vote today, people sacrificed their lives for your liberty, honor them with that one simple act. ;-)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ve driven a C43 and XE V6 (when it existed) so at least I have some knowledge of these engines.

    Burn the Jaguar. The engine is fine (although it isn’t worthy of $70K) but the styling isn’t great and I don’t at all like the interior.

    Drive the Audi. I have very little experience with any Audi products so I guess this would be my chance.

    Buy the Mercedes. Getting the V6 instead of the I6 available for ’21 seems like a questionable move and I’m not much into the digital display overload but you can get burled walnut as a $0 upgrade and I think it would hold up the best.

    However, with many apologies to the author, I’d get a leftover G80 5.0 for ~$60K over any of these choices.

    • 0 avatar

      G80 is for careful plebs! Pfft.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The refreshed G80 they just brought out looks really nice. Beautiful interior. I could do without the side vents, but at least it looks distinctive, particularly in this group, where the Mercedes looks just like the cheaper C-class, and the Jag is an Anycar.

      If Genesis can start building dedicated dealerships that are as nice as their competitors’ (versus sharing floor space with a Hyundai Accent), I think they could do very well.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    You misspelled lease.

    But I couldn’t see getting raped like that. They’re not even V8s, nor 500+ HP. Just insane profits for their makers.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Yup. You’d have to fail an IQ test to buy any of these things.

      Math: 65k, negotiate 10% off – 58.5k purchase price
      10% down payment $5850, so financed price is 52650
      60 month note at 2% interest
      Assume tax is 8%
      Monthly payment is $966.65

      At the end of 5 years, you’ll lose $30-35k in value. Go look at what 5 year old versions of these cost today. They’re in the mid 20’s at most. That’s what the used car market thinks of these. And that’s for 6 cylinder versions. I’d imagine resale value for the 4 banger versions will be even worse.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I don’t buy this “you’re stupid to buy one of these” judgement – I mean, if people want to spend their money on an expensive car, what’s the issue? What makes these any dumber to buy than, say, a $90,000 King Dude Hopalong Gunslinger Ranch luxury pickup? People should be able to spend their money on what makes them happy. Otherwise, what’s the f**king point of making money?

        But in any case, leasing is what makes sense on these. Probably $800/mo or so if you do a first payment-only, zero cap cost reduction deal, including taxes. Not much is going to go wrong in 36,000 miles, and if it does, they’ll set you up with a first class loaner. After the lease is done, toss ’em the keys and you get into a new one.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Sorry, I apologize. Mike, you’re right. I have a problem with waste in general and blatant, irresponsible spending is a very tangible, visible form of waste. To your point, if you just have to have one of these new, just lease it. Since it’s less waste, I’m less judgey about that.

          It’s my blind spot and the cross I bare. It’s a curse. I’m pretty sure I have some depression era blood in me.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Meh, nothing to apologize for. Depression era blood isn’t the worst thing to have, you know…

            I suppose it’s a matter of priorities. Personally, if I could swing something like this comfortably and take care of business for the future, I’d absolutely I’d get one. YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            So not as stupid with a lease? I just couldn’t stand by and watch an automaker and dealer profit that much off me. Even if I was filthy rich. And with so little to actually show for what I just spent?

            At least with the $90K King Dude Platinum Edition (minus up to 25% off) you can pull a house with it, 1000 torques, and you can see where most of your money went. They’re only extremely profitable by selling so many of them. Except their emblems aren’t the main attraction.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        They make sense if you prefer traveling faster on backroads than cheaper cars of equal comfort allow you to. That’s where the development money goes (and into saving one additional microgram of CO2 per year, versus something pretty much anyone else could profitably sell for $20K less….)

        Since US speed limits are specifically chosen to not discriminate against octogenarian driven diesel HDs with 3 ton campers in the bed, that sort of resolves to preferring to seriously breaking the law with your family, or colleagues, or employees, or friends, on board….

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Burn the Audi, cos it’s dull

    Drive the Jaguar because it’s the best handling, fastest car and has an all new interior (as an aside)

    Buy the Mercedes

  • avatar
    jmo

    “It’s the most expensive car here at $68,200, so no optional extras.”

    Do a little work next time. Truecar says the XF has $18,900 on the hood before you even start negotiating. Yes that’s 32% off MSRP.

    https://www.truecar.com/prices-new/jaguar/xf-config/?zipcode=10012

    Keep that in mind when someone talks about depreciation off MSRP as well.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      LOL. Are you saying that you’re able to find a base luxury car with no options? C’mon.

      By the time you hit mid trims, do something crazy like want your car in a color other than black or white, or get an upgrade to the stereo, you’re at 60k.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I ran the configurator for the S AWD 3.0L with AWD and the $1500 paint with every option and it came out with 27% off MSRP.

        Try it and get back to me.

        https://www.truecar.com/prices-new/jaguar/xf-config/?viprStyleId=65571&zipcode=10012

        If you don’t want to bother the sticker is $70,900. The price after discounts and incentives? $51,981.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          They aren’t building 2020MY Jaguars any longer so the configurator is just whimsy. Cars.com has 17 V6 2020 Jaguar XFs for sale in the country.

          The lowest advertised price is in San Jose. $57.7K on a $74.7K MSRP.
          jaguarstevenscreek.com/vehicle-details/
          new-2020-jaguar-xf-s-san-jose-ca-id-34514666

          The highest priced one is in New Jersey. $82.6K with no online discount advertised.
          jaguarmarlboro.com/inventory/2020-
          jaguar-xf-s-awd-4-door-sedan-sajbm4fv4lcy83676

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “The lowest advertised price is in San Jose. $57.7K on a $74.7K MSRP.”

            Hum…25% advertised. More or less what truecar is showing. Why do you think they are (or ever have) been selling XF’s for sticker? They have always been heavily discounted.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Why do you think they are (or ever have) been selling XF’s for sticker?”

            Where did anyone say that? I’m just reporting what the internet sales websites are showing. Plus those are real cars on the ground, not a hypothetical build.

            “By the time you hit mid trims, do something crazy like want your car in a color other than black or white, or get an upgrade to the stereo, you’re at 60k.”

            That looks pretty accurate to me based on what few are still on sale.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Weird, I’m now seeing what you’re describing, but when I click on ‘see price at local dealers’, the dealer prices show 2-4% off MSRP, not the pricing TrueCar quotes.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            E-mail them and see what they say to and offer of 30% off?

            I was looking at a Genesis that stickered for $55k. Truecar said $45k so I e-mailed – “Will you take $45?” They said, “Sure!” It wasn’t advertised at $45k either.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            jkross & ajla,

            Take a look at edmunds list of factory incentives:

            $17k off expires 1/5/21. At that’s for a loaded S model.

            https://www.edmunds.com/jaguar/xf/2020/deals/

    • 0 avatar

      “Do a little work next time. Truecar says the XF has $18,900 on the hood…”

      I’ll be real with you. In no way is it worth my time to research factory or dealer incentives for this kind of article. It’s a “what if” series based on MSRP, it is *not* meant to provide incentive information.

      As you saw, TrueCar provides that sort of info should you be so inclined. It is not within the scope of this article series.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Then it’s a stupid post as it ignores the most important thing people take into account when they buy a car – the price!

        But I see your point. It’s more of an issue with reviews when someone says, “For 65k I don’t know why anyone buys X.” When the reason is that X has $17k on the hood. Or further down market why is someone buying an Altima when you can have an Accord for the same price. Well, in reality, the Altima is $5k cheaper.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          So when someone does a review, it needs to include the current “best price over the internet”?

          Okay, I have two responses to that.

          1) You’ve never been bulls*tted over the Internet by car dealers? Consider yourself fortunate.

          2) Stories need to be accurate for a while. Incentives change. And as soon as they do, the story that was accurate yesterday is now inaccurate today. Why would TTAC want to publish a price knowing full well that price be inaccurate a few weeks down the road? What does the site do – update the “best internet price” from time to time?

          I’m willing to bet most car buyers are more interested in deciding on a car and then getting their best deal on it, versus picking out a car specifically because it had some monster discount. Personally, I’d still burn the Jag even with the seventeen large on the hood – it’s a half-a**ed effort.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo2

            That’s fine. But then don’t bring cost into the review. Just review what is objectively better or worse.

            If you’re just quoting meaningless number you’re not adding any value.

          • 0 avatar

            “But then don’t bring cost into the review.”

            Sorry, no. Cost is a major factor in car purchases. It’s not a “meaningless number” because in the same class, different options cost different amounts of money – often times it’s not negligible.

            It feels like you’re being deliberately obtuse about this, and want all reviews to cater to you as coupon shopper.

  • avatar
    Victor

    Who wouldn’t burn the Jag? I mean, come on…

    I’d buy the Merc and drive the Audi.

    • 0 avatar
      Tstag

      It’s a process of elimination. We were asked which one we’d drive? The Jaguar is the fastest, best handling and most fun to throw round a track. Yes it’s limited elsewhere but if performance is your thing then you have to give it to the Jaguar. The Mercedes is the best all rounder so it wins the buy argument. The Audi therefore is the one to burn. My question would be on what grounds would you ever pick the full old A6?

      Having said all of that I’d wait for the refreshed Jaguar to come out and might buy that over the Mercedes. The new interior is a massive step forward.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I don’t see any massive steps forward inside the XF. Nicer? Yes. Radically better? Nope. Nicer than the Audi or Benz? Not even close. And then there’s this: when you open and close the doors on the Benz or Audi, it sounds and feels like money; when you do that on an XF, it feels like Mazda.

        And no six cylinder option. Pass.

        I’d go with the Benz having the best interior, particularly if you pop for the Designo interior option.

      • 0 avatar
        Victor

        The XF feels cheaper and not as well-built as the other two. Raw performance was my thing a while ago, but I’ve grown old I guess.

        The Mercedes has the best interior, that does it for me. The Audi gets driven out of elimination.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Corey,

    Considering the 1/3 off Jags an interesting post might be, “Do you buy the car or do you buy the deal?” For example you want the CRV but the Mazda CX-5 has an extra $3k in incentives. Is that enough to sway you? In this particular case the Audi is 7% off and the Merc is 4% off if you wanted the Audi would an $18k discount get you into the Jag?

  • avatar
    gasser

    I’ll admit it. I buy the deal. I would not, however, buy any of these. These are ALL “lease only” vehicles. Unless you have extensive auto resale experience, you will have to trade one of these beauties in and be HOSED by a dealer. At one time, years ago, I was a luxury car buyer, then a leaser, now a “whatever is cheap” buyer. It was a combination of: 1) so called luxury cars cheapening their product; 2) big producers like Hyundai and Mazda upping their games; and 3) little or no place to go as I am semi retired, living in a city, and in the midst of a pandemic.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Ok, I’m going to be the guy.

    Burn the Audi – I will stubbornly hold onto the pain my old A6 caused me for the 2 years I owned it and never forgive it. I’ve laid out here numerous times but Audi will never win one of these with me.

    Drive the Benz – I’m sure it’s quiet and pleasant. There are definitely times I enjoy those qualities in my last two leases.

    Buy the Jag – I think of these three, I’m a Jag guy. I like things a little different (restored a 60s fullsize non-muscle car as my first car in 1993, Subaru Legacy GT wagon, Holden GTO, leased a Regal GS) and I am very much interested in a leftover XF Sportbrake. Maybe in a few years I’ll have a new vendetta.

  • avatar

    To make decision I have to test drive all three. Anyway, I do not like Mercedes already because of numb steering. I would drive Jaguar but own Audi. But that is an empty statement because all three are overpriced.

  • avatar
    steverock

    I own a 2016 Jaguar XF Prestige with the supercharged V6, and I absolutely love it. Bought it certified last year, and I can safely say depreciation is your friend on a used XF. Best driving car I’ve ever owned. You also don’t see them often so it feels a bit special.

    Not sure if I make the same choice for a 2020 though. Here are my choices:

    Buy: Audi. Awesome interior and modern tech. Looks great also. I’ve driven one and it’s a really sweet ride.

    Burn: Mercedes. Have to choose one to burn and I’m just not a fan of them.

    Drive: Jaguar. See above. Just an absolutely blast to drive. If I was choosing between a new Audi and Jaguar to lease though I would have to go with the A6.

  • avatar
    KevinB

    Drive – Jag, just to get the Brit experience.
    Burn – Audi, just a glorified VW. The Phaeton still haunts me.
    Lease (never buy) – Benz, turn it in before the warranty expires.

  • avatar
    stuki

    I’d buy the Audi (in small Western towns, they are still less ostentatious than a Benz or Jag), and drive the Jag (at least once before they disappear..)

    I suppose that leaves burning the Benz, but I really wouldn’t want to do that either…

    Truth is, these are all very nice cars dynamically these days. Overpriced, overspecced, overspeeded and overcomplex for sitting in traffic in Beverly Hills. But still well engineered for Autobahns and Alpine road (and Nevada backroad…) duty.

    If we lived in a saner era, Covid would have America ditch infested planes i droves, in favor of cannon-balling GTs to get around in, in droves these days…….

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The XF to this point surprisingly doesn’t suck, a few years ago I toyed with the idea of one. The disparity between the last Ford DEW98 S-type and first XF was staggering – and XF is also DEW98 and initially a carryover drivetrain (on a percentage basis it was like 30-40% more for the XF). Therefore:

    Buy me a Jag XF.
    Drive the Audi.
    Burn the Mercedes, esp in I4.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Burn them all and get either a W126 or a 1st-gen LS400

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