2020 BMW 7 Series vs. 2019 Mercedes S-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 7 Series has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The S-Class doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 7 Series has standard Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S-Class doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the 7 Series xDrive’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The S-Class doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the 7 Series and the S-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and night vision systems.

Warranty

The 7 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the S-Class’ (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 7 Series for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the S-Class.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 7 Series’ reliability 25 points higher than the S-Class.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 7 Series second among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The S-Class was rated third.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 9 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 745e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the S 450 4MATIC (52 city/61 hwy MPGe vs. 18 city/28 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 7 Series gets better fuel mileage than the S-Class:

MPG

7 Series

RWD

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

S-Class

RWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/28 hwy

AWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/28 hwy

The 745e can drive on battery power alone for up to 16 miles. The S-Class must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the 7 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Mercedes only offers a regenerative brake system on the S-Class Hybrid.

Brakes and Stopping

The 7 Series stops much shorter than the S-Class:

7 Series

S-Class

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 7 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. Run-flat tires aren’t available on some tire packages on the S-Class.

The 7 Series offers an optional space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the S-Class; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the S-Class don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

The 7 Series offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The S-Class doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The Alpina B7 handles at .97 G’s, while the S-Class pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 750i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the S 560 (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.5 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

Chassis

The BMW 7 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 300 pounds less than the Mercedes S-Class.

The 7 Series is 8.3 inches shorter than the Maybach S-Class, making the 7 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the 7 Series uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S-Class doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The 7 Series has .2 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more rear headroom and 10.3 inches more rear legroom than the S-Class.

Ergonomics

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 7 Series has standard extendable sun visors. The S-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The 7 Series has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the S-Class.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 7 Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 7 Series will cost $1215 less than the S-Class over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 7 Series is less expensive to operate than the S-Class because typical repairs cost much less on the 7 Series than the S-Class, including $120 less for a water pump and $434 less for a muffler.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 7 Series will be $8308 to $14701 less than for the Mercedes S-Class.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes S-Class, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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