Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW i8 VS 2015 Mercedes SLS Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW i8

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VS

2015 Mercedes SLS

Safety Comparison

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The i8 has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use 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 SLS AMG doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The i8 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The SLS AMG doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The i8 has a standard Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The SLS AMG only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the i8 and the SLS AMG have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

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The i8’s corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the SLS AMG’s (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i8 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the SLS AMG.

There are over 12 percent more BMW dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the i8’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the i8 gets better fuel mileage on a full charge than the SLS AMG (76 MPGe Combined vs. 13 city/19 hwy MPG).

On the EPA test cycle the i8 gets better fuel mileage running its gasoline engine than the SLS AMG (28 city/29 hwy vs. 13 city/19 hwy).

The i8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The SLS AMG must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the i8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The SLS AMG doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the i8’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The SLS AMG doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The i8 stops shorter than the SLS AMG:

i8

SLS AMG

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

164 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

109 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i8 has standard 20-inch wheels. Only 19-inch front wheels are available on the SLS AMG.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the i8’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the SLS AMG (110.2 inches vs. 105.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i8 is 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the SLS AMG.

The i8’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.7% to 51.3%) than the SLS AMG’s (47% to 53%). This gives the i8 more stable handling and braking.

Chassis Comparison

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The design of the BMW i8 amounts to more than styling. The i8 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is significantly lower than the SLS AMG (.36). A more efficient exterior helps the i8 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the i8 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the i8 is quieter than the SLS AMG Coupe:

i8

SLS AMG

At idle

40 dB

57 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

72 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

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The i8 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the SLS AMG can only carry 2.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The i8 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The SLS AMG doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The i8 has a standard 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 SLS AMG doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Comfort Access standard on the i8 allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Mercedes SLS AMG’s Keyless-Start doesn’t unlock the doors or the trunk.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the i8 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The SLS AMG doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the i8 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The SLS AMG doesn’t offer cornering lights. The i8 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Recommendations Comparison

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The i8 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The SLS AMG has never been an “All Star.”

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