I know what you're trying to say. There's certain intangibles that are lacking. When I sit in an Audi, I adore the interior, the attention to detail and the overall solidity. At the same time, I think the interiors are too techy looking and lack a certain...'X' factor. I'm not saying they're worse, and I'm not saying they're a far cry better, but they're not suited to my style.
Same goes for the exterior. I love the trivial details (brightwork specifically), but there's something so technical about it all, and I find myself never falling 'in love' with the designs. I admire them, get bored of them, and move on.
And then there's the driving experience: powertrain (can't do AWD), steering (too light, trades feel for precision) and the engines (interestingly, they seem too technical in sound to me...this one is hardest for me to describe).
If anything, I've noticed that the VAG/BMW crowd has a distinctly different feel. VAG products focus on technical precision, conservative design, and efficient performance. BMW seems to have those purposeful flaws, that extra bit of mechanical connection, and a certain naturalness that I can't say applies to VAG models.
I hope someone understands what I'm saying.
Very well put and I would agree with all of those differences. You either prefer one or the other and the same go for Mercedes.