Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 BMW 7 SERIES VS 2011 Mercedes S-Class Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2011 Mercedes S-Class

Safety Comparison

The 7 Series has standard child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S-Class doesn’t offer child safety locks.

Compared to metal, the 7 Series’ plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mercedes S-Class has a metal gas tank.

Both the 7 Series and the S-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

Warranty Comparison

The 7 Series’ corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the S-Class’ (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 7 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the S-Class.

There are over 12 percent more BMW dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it easier to get service under the 7 Series’ warranty.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Car and Driver the 740 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. is faster than the Mercedes S-Class:

7 Series



Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

7.1 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.8 sec

15.4 sec

14.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

103 MPH

92 MPH

102 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 7 Series’ standard brake rotors are larger than those on the S-Class:

7 Series


Front Rotors

13.7 inches

13.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

11.8 inches

The 7 Series stops much shorter than the S-Class:

7 Series


80 to 0 MPH

207 feet

229 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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 S-Class doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The S-Class doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 7 Series is .4 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the S-Class.

The 750i handles at .89 G’s, while the S550 pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The 750Li goes through Road & Track’s slalom 8.6 MPH faster than the S550 (68.7 vs. 60.1 MPH).

The 750i executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the S550 (26 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The 750i is 6.7 inches shorter than the S-Class, making the 7 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces. The 750Li is 1.2 inches shorter than the S-Class.

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 750Li is quieter than the S550:

7 Series


At idle

45 dB

48 dB

50 MPH Cruising

61 dB

62 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

66 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The 7 Series SWB has 2.8 inches more front headroom and .1 inches more front shoulder room than the S-Class.

Ergonomics Comparison

The 7 Series offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The S-Class doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To help keep rear passengers entertained, the 7 Series offers optional rear seat controls for the radio. The S-Class doesn’t offer rear seat audio controls.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the 7 Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 7 Series will cost $134 less than the S-Class over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 7 Series is less expensive to operate than the S-Class because it costs $702 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 7 Series than the S-Class, including $159 less for a water pump, $15 less for a starter, $10 less for fuel injection, $171 less for a fuel pump and $2097 less for front struts.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 7 Series will be $2109 to $68121 less than for the Mercedes S-Class.

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