When you're in the market for a high-end luxury vehicle and you insist on German automotive engineering, there are only two choices. These are BMW or Mercedes-Benz. The ongoing debate is which is better? Is it possible that it's a draw? The only way to answer this question is to complete a side-by-side comparison of the two to evaluate the advantages and drawbacks associated with each of them. If you're ready to begin, here is how Mercedes-Benz and BMW stack up against one another.
Choices offered by Mercedes-Benz
BMW of NYC compares a few important factors when it comes to finding the right vehicle. One of them is a variety of options. Mercedes provides a broad range of luxury vehicles. Their fleet includes the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class in the luxury sedan category. If you prefer a wagon, the E-Class Maybach is a popular choice. Each of the vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz fleet comes with your choice of customization options. You have quite a few options in performance and other features at your disposal.
BMW vehicle range
BMW is neck and neck with Mercedes in the luxury vehicle market when it comes to luxury and comfort, but it does offer a significant range of options. BMW's fleet consists of seven different vehicle series. Each series is available in several different trims and feature packages. These are just the standard series vehicles. Also, BMW offers the X and Z4 series, the I line, and the M line.
For reliability, we begin our comparison with a look at Mercedes. JD Power is known for assessing the reliability of vehicles. Their rating system grants Mercedes-Benz with a 5 Power Circle Rating for reliability. Next, we look at the rating they offer for BMW. It has received the same high rating which puts both luxury brands at the highest rating in terms of reliability.
BMW vs Mercedes technology
The next aspect of each brand that we examine is the technology. To fully appreciate all the creature comforts for each we look at the tech that each comes equipped with. Mercedes-Benz features the mbrace patented system. This is a comprehensive tech system that manages connectivity, security features, and entertainment features. Mbrace provides drivers with control of the major systems of their Mercedes through a computer or smartphone with information about your vehicle in real-time through these devices. BMW equips its vehicles with a Head-Up Display that offers a futuristic vibe. In addition to this, the iDrive system works much like the Mercedes' mbrace system to give drivers total control over the vehicle. It also provides gesture and voice control functionality. The tech in BMW is innovative, but the Mercedes system although different is on par with the best in the industry for a draw.
Safety is a legitimate concern for all drivers regardless of your brand preference. It's not enough to assume that a vehicle is safe. You must prove it by examining the safety features that are available for a vehicle before you make your purchase. Both automakers offer advanced safety packages but there are differences between them. The safety ratings are high for Mercedes and BMW but there are a few things you should consider.
Mercedes Benz is equipped with Presafe patented technology that includes an automatic brake application if it detects the probability of an accident. This technology can help you to avoid a serious car accident. The vehicle performs this action for you. Another powerful safety feature of Mercedes is the Night View Assist system. It helps the driver to operate the vehicle during nighttime driving.
BMW equips its vehicles with a different type of active safety systems. The luxury brand offers features including Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane Keep Assist. BMW vehicles are known for their superior safety body shell that helps to protect the driver and passengers if there is an accident. A side impact feature provides additional protection from side impacts. BMW surges ahead of Mercedes in this aspect.
Ratings in the market segment
Motor Verso sheds some light on the saturation that each brand has achieved in niche segments of the market. The industry has changed over the years with consumer requirements changing. Demand for higher-tech, better performance, and more stylishness continue to become more intense with luxury automakers raising the bar higher with each new model year. Both brands have delved more deeply into the niches. Electrification is one such area. Mercedes and BMW have pushed forward and broken into the hybrid as well as full EV niches with some of the best-selling hybrid variants.
BMW's niche invasion
BMW has invented some of the quirkiest vehicles in its electric fleet. The I-series vehicles are a good example of how the brand is looking toward the future. The i3 was the first to emerge in 2013 when electric technology was in its infancy. BMW took it from concept to a considerable lineup of hybrids. Next, we must also look at the BMW hatchbacks with rear-wheel drive. BMW figured out how to design vehicles with sportiness and practicality that took luxury to a whole new level. the F20/21 1 Series and the inline-6 I series are some of the most amazing hatchbacks ever created. We also consider the M line of vehicles. When it comes to performance, this line has cornered the market. The BMW line of front-engine front-wheel drives has also found popularity in the 2 Series X1 and X2 models. Here we have an assortment of choices that range from practical high-end luxury to higher performance, then taking it down a notch to performance and handling that doesn't require extreme speed and power to satisfy.
Mercedes-Benz niche markets
Mercedes has fallen behind the curve when it comes to their production of full-EVs. Instead, the brand excels in its production of mild-hybrid technology. This tech is offered throughout the Mercedes range with a few EVs including the EQ models that are currently in the works, the EQV, and the EQCs. The brand is working towards the electrification of its fleet.
Problems identified in Mercedes and BMWs from 2017
USNews gives us an overview of the issues found with both major luxury brands from three years ago. As with any vehicle, Mercedes and BMW have both had their share of quirks and problems to work out. We start with a look at the most commonly reported issues with Mercedes. JD Power surveyed 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles. It was discovered that out of the 100, there were 131 problems identified. They performed the same surveys for BMW vehicles. There were 139 issues reported per 100 vehicles. It looks like Mercedes came out just a little bit on top of BMW in this aspect of consumer satisfaction.
Mercedes and BMW maintain a good record for updating and redesigning their vehicle lines. USNews claims that BMW is the overall winner when it comes to safety. This aligns with BMW of NYC's assessment of the comparison. They observe that although the E-class Mercedes received a perfect 10 with the GLE at 9.7 and the C-Clas at 9.3, BMW emerged with perfect 10 scores for the XF1 and the 2 SEries. The I3 received a 9.9 for safety with a 9.7 for the X3. It doesn't get much better than that.
Mercedes vs BMW on performance
Mercedes-Benz S-Class takes the center spotlight for the brand when it comes to performance. It received a high score of 9.2 for performance. The next best performers were the SL and CLS at 8.9 out of 10. When we look at the BMW, the X$ and 3 Series received a score of 8.8 for performance with the X6 and 2 Series at 8.9. Both the X5 and 4 SEries earned a 9.0 performance score with the 5 Series coming in at 9.1. The numbers don't like and it appears that BMW has taken the top score overall in this competition.
Comparison of the interiors
When it comes to interior design it's hard to beat Mercedes-Benz. It's long been considered the ultimate in luxury vehicles. The E-Class received an 8.9 with the S-Class at a 9.2. The luxury features for the BMW received lower scores that floated between 8.4 for a high and 7.5 for the low on their current models. Mercedes is a brand that has consistently remained at the lead when it comes to creature comforts and a plush interior. The scores remain consistently higher for interior luxury.
USNews compared the pricing of Mercedes and BMW's similar models. The CLA matched with the BMW 2-series. Mercedes had lower prices in this category. Small sedans for both brands were compared. BMW's 3 Series was priced about $6,000 below the Mercedes' C-Class sedan. In the midsize range, BMW's 5 Series came in under $1,000 below the Mercedes E-Class with both brands' compact luxury SUVs within a couple of hundred dollars. All in all, it turned out to be a wash. The two high-end manufacturers are comparable with one another regarding price in a tie.
USNews, redid the comparison of the dueling car brands for 2020. Mercedes emerged as the winner in the Luxury small car class with the A-Class and its low price. The CLA received a redesign offered in a larger version with an AMG engine, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto as standard fare. BMW's 3 Series has a low starting price in the less expensive category. The 4 Series is available in a sedan, coupe, and convertible style with the higher performance M4, but pricing is higher than Mercedes' comparable models.
Luxury Midsize contest
BMW makes the spotlight in the luxury midsize car category. The 5 Series for 2020 is ranked as one of the best in its class with up to 6 choices of engine options. It takes center stage with above-average fuel economy, the trunk is large and the infotainment system is user-friendly. It gets high marks for predicted reliability and safety. The Mercedes E-Class is the close competitor in the class also available in a choice of sedan, coupe, or convertible. The interior is luxurious and it does come in a choice of engines with a similar starting price. The BMW forged ahead as the E-class takes a downward turn with dismal reliability ratings.
Mercedes takes the lead in the luxury large car class. It also excels in the super-luxury cars classes. The CLS forged ahead for the 2020 model year with tons of infotainment and safety features included as standard fare. There are also more features and trims available. The S-Class is one of the most highly ranked super luxury cars with a comfortable and beautiful interior, state of the art tech, and a range of engine options. It's available in sedan, coupe, and convertible. BMW's comparable model is the 7 Series. It can hold its own in the battle with a large back seat and luxurious interior. There are plenty of exceptional features, but the reliability isn't as high as for the Mercedes option. There is only one body style in the 7 Series and that is the sedan.
The competition of the luxury subcompacts
BMW gets a needed win in the luxury subcompact SUV category. The X1 is a small SIV that made it to the top ranking for luxury subcompact SUVs. The refresh of the exterior was a help. The infotainment screen receives an increase in size. The most compelling feature is the spaciousness for passengers and gear. The X2 is no slouch with its sporty driving dynamics. The high-quality interior is also a plus. The only drawback is the high price. Mercedes' GLA is also sporty with decent handling and fuel economy, but reports criticized it for its stiff ride. Although the interior is luxurious, it doesn't quite reach the bar that Mercedes has previously set. The X1 finally won over Mercedes for its interior.
The battle between Mercedes and BMW continues. When you compare the two, buyers should consider your needs and personal preferences. Both have their drawbacks along with their redeeming qualities. The best thing about these luxury brands is that they give consumers a choice. There are just enough differences between the two brands to provide a host of options configured to deliver the ideal vehicle for everyone.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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