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

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2011 Mercedes Benz S-Class

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2011 BMW 7

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 7 Series doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 7 Series doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The S-Class offers an optional PRE-SAFE Brake, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 7 Series doesn't offer crash mitigation brakes.

The S-Class (except S400 Hybrid)’s 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 7 Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S-Class second among large premium cars in their 2010 Initial Quality Study. The 7 Series isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 9th in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 17th.

Engine Comparison

The S-Class has more powerful engines than the 7 Series:



S550 5.5 DOHC V8

382 HP

391 lbs.-ft.

S600 5.5 turbo V12

510 HP

612 lbs.-ft.

S63 5.5 turbo V8

536 HP

590 lbs.-ft.

S65 6.0 turbo V12

604 HP

738 lbs.-ft.

740 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

315 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

750 4.4 turbo V8

400 HP

450 lbs.-ft.

Active Hybrid 750 4.4 turbo V8

455 HP

515 lbs.-ft.

Alpina B7 4.4 turbo V8

500 HP

515 lbs.-ft.

760Li 6.0 turbo V12

535 HP

550 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the S65 is faster than the 750:


7 Series

Zero to 60 MPH

4.2 sec

5.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.2 sec

12.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.4 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

12.4 sec

13.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

118 MPH

103 MPH

Top Speed

158 MPH

150 MPH

As tested in Road & Track the S600 is faster than the 750:


7 Series

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

4.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.8 sec

11.8 sec

Quarter Mile

12.8 sec

13.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

109.9 MPH

106 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the S400 HYBRID gets better fuel mileage than the Active Hybrid 750 (19 city/25 hwy vs. 17 city/26 hwy).

The S-Class has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the 7 Series ActiveHybrid’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 21.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The S-Class has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 7 Series’ standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 21.7 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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


7 Series

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the S-Class has larger standard tires than the 7 Series (255/45R18 vs. 245/50R18). The S-Class’ optional front tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 7 Series (F:255/40R19 & R:275/40R19 vs. F:245/45R19 & R:275/40R19).

The S-Class’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 7 Series’ standard 50 series tires. The S-Class’ optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 7 Series’ optional 45 series front and 40 series rear tires.

The S-Class has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 7 Series, it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the 750i, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The S-Class’ optional 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 7 Series doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the 750i (124.6 inches vs. 120.9 inches).

The S65 handles at .90 G’s, while the 750Li pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

The design of the Mercedes S-Class amounts to more than styling. The S-Class offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .26 to .29 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the 7 Series (.3 to .32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the S-Class get better fuel mileage.

As tested by AutoWeek, the interior of the S600 is quieter than the 750i:


7 Series

At idle

42 dB

51 dB


68 dB

76 dB

60 MPH Cruising

60 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The S-Class has .7 inches more front legroom, 3.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the 7 Series SWB.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The S-Class has a much larger trunk than the 7 Series SWB (16.4 vs. 14 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

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. The 7 Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. It’s standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S-Class has standard extendable sun visors. The 7 Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sun shade is standard on the S-Class to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. A sunshade costs extra on the 7 Series.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S-Class is less expensive to operate than the 7 Series because typical repairs cost much less on the S-Class than the 7 Series, including $165 less for an alternator, $66 less for front brake pads, $909 less for a timing belt/chain and $35 less for a power steering pump.

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