New BMW 7 Series vs Mercedes S-Class

With its new 7 Series, BMW is trying to oust the Mercedes S-Class in a luxury car boardroom coup. So, which comes out on top?

Words By What Car? team

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BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class driving

What will they cost?

These plush limos will often be leased for use as chauffeur vehicles, in which case it’s the BMW 7 Series that has the cheaper monthly charges at Β£752 before VAT, while the Mercedes S-Class costs an extra Β£46. Company car drivers will find an even bigger incentive in the 7 series; its lower emissions translate to savings of Β£3000 in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax over three years.

Anyone in the enviable position of being able to buy outright will pay less for the S-Class to start with thanks to bigger dealer discounts, yet it will depreciate more slowly, making it the cheaper car to own over three years by some Β£7000. That gap will narrow with time, though, as BMW introduces even bigger discounts, and the 7 Series is also cheaper to service. An unusual exhaust design prevented us from assessing its real-world fuel economy, but the official figures suggest the 7 Series will be marginally more frugal.

Equipment levels are predictably extensive. LED headlights, all-round parking sensors, full leather interiors, adaptive cruise control, heated front and rear seats, changeable ambient interior lighting, 18in alloys and the full gamut of multimedia and sat-nav functions – including wi-fi hotspots – are standard features on both cars. There will still be a few popular options, though. Mercedes charges Β£610 for soft-close doors and a powered tailgate, and Β£1170 for rear-seat area climate control. All are standard on the 7 Series.

However, Mercedes fits full adaptive headlights, where BMW charges Β£1360. Head-up displays and panoramic glass roofs are pricey options on both cars, although the 7 Series does get an opening, single-panel sunroof as standard, so gets the nod for being the slightly better equipped overall.

Neither car has been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but both have front and side airbags in the front, and curtain airbags to cover the side windows. The S-Class gets rear side airbags, too – not available on the 7 Series – along with traffic sign recognition and more advanced collision warning systems. Traffic sign recognition and automatic braking are part of a Β£985 pack on the 7 Series.

Both models get three years’ manufacturer warranty and European roadside assistance, and are rated highly by Thatcham for resisting theft and break-ins.

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