2020 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2020 Audi A8

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The rear seatbelts optional on the S-Class inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The A8 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The S-Class has standard NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The A8 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The S-Class’ 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 A8 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S-Class and the A8 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, night vision systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the S-Class’ warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

Engine

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The S-Class has more powerful engines than the A8:

Horsepower

Torque

S 450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

S 560 4.0 turbo V8

463 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

Maybach S 650 6.0 turbo V12

621 HP

738 lbs.-ft.

A8 55 TSFI 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid

335 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

A8 60 TFSI 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid

453 HP

487 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the S 560 is faster than the A8 55 TSFI:

S-Class

A8

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13.5 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

109.4 MPH

101 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the S-Class Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the A8:

MPG

S-Class Sedan

RWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/28 hwy

560 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/27 hwy

AWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/28 hwy

560 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/27 hwy

Maybach 560 4.0 turbo V8

16 city/25 hwy

A8

55 TFSI 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/27 hwy

60 TFSI 4.0 turbo V8

15 city/23 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the S-Class 560’s fuel efficiency. The A8 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The S-Class V12’s standard fuel tank has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the A8 (24.6 vs. 21.7 gallons).

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is available on the Mercedes S-Class, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the A8.

Brakes and Stopping

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The S-Class stops shorter than the A8:

S-Class

A8

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

133 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The S-Class’ optional 275/35R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A8’s optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the S-Class can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A8 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The S-Class’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The A8 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the A8 (124.6 inches vs. 123.1 inches). The Maybach S-Class’ wheelbase is 9.4 inches longer than on the A8 (132.5 inches vs. 123.1 inches).

The S 600 handles at .90 G’s, while the A8 55 TSFI pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the S 450/560’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the A8’s (40.4 feet vs. 42.3 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes S-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Audi A8.

Passenger Space

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The S-Class has 1.4 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A8.

Cargo Capacity

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The S-Class has a much larger trunk than the A8 (18.7 vs. 12.5 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The S-Class has a standard 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 A8 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the S-Class to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. Heated windshield washer fluid costs extra on the A8.

Consumer Reports rated the S-Class’ headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the A8’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes S-Class has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console and one for the rear passengers. Wireless charging costs extra on the A8.

The S-Class’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The A8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes S-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Audi A8 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

The S-Class is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The A8 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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The S-Class will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S-Class will retain 37.53% to 39.12% of its original price after five years, while the A8 only retains 32.49%.

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 2020/02/24

The Mercedes S-Class outsold the Audi A8/S8 by over five to one during the 2019 model year.

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