2020 BMW 7 Series vs. 2020 Audi S8

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The 7 Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The S8 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 S8 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The 7 Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The S8 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the 7 Series and the S8 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors, available all-wheel drive and night vision systems.

Warranty

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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. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the S8.

There are over 14 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 7 Series’ warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 7 Series has a standard 950-amp battery (660 750i). The S8’s 380-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 20th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

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 Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The M760i’s standard 6.6 turbo V12 produces 37 more horsepower (600 vs. 563) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (627 vs. 590) than the S8’s 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 745e gets better fuel mileage than the S8 (52 city/61 hwy vs. 13 city/22 hwy).

The 745e can drive on battery power alone for up to 16 miles. The S8 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Transmission

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The 7 Series’ launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The S8 doesn’t offer launch control.

Tires and Wheels

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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. The S8 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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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 S8 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The 7 Series offers an available active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Audi doesn’t offer an active suspension on the S8.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 7 Series’ wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the S8 (126.4 inches vs. 123.2 inches).

Chassis

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The BMW 7 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 1050 pounds less than the Audi S8.

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 S8 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The 7 Series has 1.6 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the S8.

Cargo Capacity

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The 7 Series has a much larger trunk than the S8 (14 vs. 12.5 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The 7 Series offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The S8 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The 7 Series’ instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The S8 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The 7 Series’ power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The S8’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The 7 Series’ Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The S8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The 7 Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S8 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/06

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 7 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The BMW 7 Series outsold the Audi S8 by almost three to one during 2019.

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