Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 7 Series offers an optional backup collision prevention system which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S8 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
To help make backing safer, the 7 Series’ optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The S8 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The 7 Series’ 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 S8 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The 7 Series has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S8 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the 7 Series and the S8 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, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 7 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the S8.
There are over 33 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 7 Series’ warranty.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 7 Series has a standard 950-amp battery. The S8’s 450-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 16th, below the industry average.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 7 Series’ 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 S8 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
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 S8 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
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 and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The S8 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.
The 7 Series offers an available active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Audi doesn’t offer an active suspension on the S8.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 7 Series’ wheelbase is 8.6 inches longer than on the S8 (126.4 inches vs. 117.8 inches).
The BMW 7 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 450 pounds less than the Audi S8.
The front grille of the 7 Series uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S8 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The 7 Series has 3.6 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room and 5.7 inches more rear legroom than the S8.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the 7 Series’ available rear seats recline. The S8’s rear seats don’t recline.
The 7 Series offers a 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 S8 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The 7 Series offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The S8 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left down on the 7 Series the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the S8 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
When the 7 Series is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The S8’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
Optional air-conditioned front and rear seats keep the 7 Series’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The S8 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.
Standard BMW Apps for the 7 Series allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The S8 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.
The 7 Series’ optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The S8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.