Used test: BMW 7 Series vs Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Amid higher interest rates, you might need to forgo that new luxury car for a used one. But which opulent barge is best?...
What will they cost?
The Mercedes S-Class was the cheaper of the two to buy new and the same is true today. A 2016 S350d SE Line L that’s covered around 10,000 miles could be yours for £36,000, with the equivalent BMW 730Ld costing around £1000 more. However, the 7 Series has lower servicing costs and, if the official figures are anything to go by, is marginally more frugal. It’s also £35 cheaper to tax each year, at £120 compared with its rival's £155 – hardly a great deal, but every little counts sometimes.
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 alloy wheels and the full gamut of multimedia and sat-nav functions – including wi-fi hotspots – are standard on both cars. Mercedes charged extra for soft-close doors and a powered tailgate when new. Rear climate control was also an option, while all of these were standard on the 7 Series when new.
However, Mercedes fitted full adaptive headlights to the S-Class, whereas BMW charged extra for them. Head-up display and a panoramic glass roof were pricey options on both, although the 7 Series did 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, 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 emergency braking were part of a pricey optional pack on the 7 Series.
Both models have one year left of their manufacturer's warranty and European roadside assistance cover, and both have similar amounts of protection if you buy through their respective approved used schemes, although BMW is the only one to guarantee that the car has a full service history. Both are rated highly by Thatcham Research for resisting theft and break-ins.