Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW i8 VS 2015 Mercedes SL-Class Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 BMW i8

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VS

2015 Mercedes SL-Class

Safety Comparison

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

Both the i8 and the SL-Class 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, collision warning systems, daytime running lights and front parking sensors.

Warranty Comparison

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The i8’s corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the SL-Class’ (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 SL-Class.

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’ 2015 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 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

Engine Comparison

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The i8’s 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. hybrid produces 28 more horsepower (357 vs. 329) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (420 vs. 354) than the SL400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW i8 is faster than the SL550:

i8

SL-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

4.1 sec

Quarter Mile

12.4 sec

12.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the i8 on a full charge gets better fuel mileage than the SL63 AMG (80 city/72 hwy vs. 16 city/25 hwy). The i8 on a full charge gets better fuel mileage than the SL400 (80 city/72 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the i8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the SL63 AMG (28 city/29 hwy vs. 16 city/25 hwy). The i8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the SL400 (28 city/29 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

The i8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The SL-Class 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 SL-Class doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The i8 stops shorter than the SL-Class:

i8

SL-Class

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. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the SL-Class. The SL-Class’ largest wheels are only 19-inches in the front and 20-inches in the rear.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the i8’s wheelbase is 8.4 inches longer than on the SL-Class (110.2 inches vs. 101.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i8 is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 4.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the SL-Class.

Chassis Comparison

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The BMW i8 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 850 pounds less than the Mercedes SL-Class.

The design of the BMW i8 amounts to more than styling. The i8 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is lower than the SL-Class (.29 to .31). A more efficient exterior helps the i8 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the i8 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The i8 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the SL-Class can only carry 2.

The i8 has .2 inches more front legroom and 5.6 inches more front shoulder room than the SL-Class.

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 SL-Class doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The i8 has a standard 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 SL-Class doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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The i8 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the i8 will retain 44.42% to 45.13% of its original price after five years, while the SL-Class only retains 33.45% to 41.03%.

Recommendations Comparison

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

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