The UK repair and service analysts, Whocanfixmycar.com, investigated more than 180,000 repair jobs on the three brands throughout the UK.
It found that the Audi-brand cars are up to 24 per cent more expensive to fix than Mercedes cars, and 10 per cent more expensive than BMW.
Whocanfixmycar.com co-founder Alistair Preston, interviewed in a Automotive Management article, said: “The argument between Audi, BMW and Mercedes drivers about which brand is better has been going on for years”.
“Hopefully our research can shed some light on which is actually and verifiably the best in terms of costings,” he said.
“It’s unsurprising that within the first five years there are fewer quotes because the cars are fairly new and maintenance isn’t needed.
“However, it is interesting to see just how much more expensive Audi is than the other two brands, especially between the five to eight-year mark.”
Mr Preston said the aim of the survey was to show prospective buyers what a prestige car will cost over the longer term and that this may affect their brand choice.
Whocanfixmycar.com reported that Audi repairs in 2017 cost drivers £182.94 ($A324.11) on average. This is 11 per cent lower than 2016 where quotes for Audi repairs were £207.11 ($A366.94).
The largest gap between repair costs for the brands’ equivalent models – and the brands’ respective top-selling models – is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.
Mr Preston said that the A4 is 39 per cent more expensive than the C-Class to repair, and is 28 per cent dearer than the other mid-size equivalent, BMW’s 3 Series.
But he said it wasn’t cut and dried.
“The Audi is the cheapest for steering and suspension and electrical and battery work, compared to Mercedes which is the most expensive of the three brands for this type of repair,” he said.
“Audi is also the cheapest for a cambelt change with an average cost of £369.92, compared to Mercedes which costs £475.54 and BMW which costs £826.22.”
This is because Audi uses a replacement rubber cam belt and BMW and Mercedes use a timing chain. Though the timing chain is more expensive to replace, it doesn’t need frequent replacements of about 100,000km.
“Requests for BMW and Mercedes timing chain repairs sit 20 times and 100 times lower, respectively, than Audi cam belt repairs,” said Mr Preston.
When it comes to drivetrains, Mercedes clutch replacements were quoted at £670.58 on average compared to BMW at £544.85 and Audi at £578.39.
“Audi is the most expensive for gearbox repairs on average across the three brands,” Mr Preston said.
“For a manual gearbox repair it costs £567.73, for an auto gearbox it’s £428.68 and a reconditioned gearbox will set a driver back £744.60,” he said.
“The rise in repair costs for Audi tends to appear around the five-year-old mark.
“At this point Audi is around £75 more expensive than Mercedes, and £25 more expensive than BMW.”
The survey is conducted annually by Whocanfixmycar.com and is one of a series of comparative repair surveys that collates data from thousands of repair businesses in the UK.
By Neil Dowling