Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Mercedes Benz S-Class VS 2016 Audi A8 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 Mercedes Benz S-Class

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2016 Audi A8

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 Audi A8 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The rear seatbelts optional on the S-Class inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The A8 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The S-Class’ 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 A8 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The S-Class has standard mbrace, 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 A8 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 S-Class and the A8 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 18 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the S-Class’ warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 14th.

Engine Comparison

The S-Class has more powerful engines than the A8:



S550e 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid

436 HP

479 lbs.-ft.

S550 4.7 turbo V8

449 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

S600 5.5 turbo V12

523 HP

612 lbs.-ft.

S63 AMG 5.5 turbo V8

577 HP

664 lbs.-ft.

S65 AMG 6.0 turbo V12

621 HP

738 lbs.-ft.

A8 L 3.0T 3.0 supercharged V6

333 HP

325 lbs.-ft.

A8 4.0T 4.0 turbo V8

450 HP

444 lbs.-ft.

A8 L W12 6.3 DOHC 12 cyl.

500 HP

463 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The S550e can drive on battery power alone for up to 18.6 miles. The A8 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, the S-Class’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Audi only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the A8 3.0T/4.0T/TDI.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the S63/S65’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A8:



A8 L W12

Front Rotors

16.5 inches

15 inches

15.7 inches

Rear Rotors

14.1 inches

14 inches

14 inches

The S-Class S63/S65 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The A8 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The S-Class stops shorter than the A8:



70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

169 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction and acceleration, the S-Class has larger standard rear tires than the A8 (275/35R20 vs. 255/45R19). The S63/S65’s rear tires are larger than the largest rear tires available on the A8 (285/35R20 vs. 275/35R21).

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the S-Class can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A8 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The S-Class 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 A8.

The S-Class’ 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 A8 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer than on the A8 (124.6 inches vs. 122.9 inches).

The Maybach S600 handles at .88 G’s, while the A8 L 4.0T pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the S550/S600’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the A8 L’s (40 feet vs. 41.7 feet). The S63 AMG 4MATIC’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the A8 L’s (41 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

Passenger Space Comparison

The S-Class has 3.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A8 (112 vs. 108.7).

The S-Class has 2.5 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the A8.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The S-Class has a much larger trunk than the A8 L (16.3 vs. 14.2 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

If the windows are left down on the S-Class the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote; on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the A8 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 A8 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. It’s standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the S-Class has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The A8 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

When the S-Class 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 A8’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional Mercedes-Benz Apps for the S-Class allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, finding fuel prices at nearby service stations, searching the internet and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The A8 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The S-Class’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

The Mercedes S-Class won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Audi A8 only won one award.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S-Class first among large premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A8 isn’t in the top three.

 The S-Class is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The A8 is not ranked.

The S-Class was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 3 of the last 16 years. The A8 hasn’t been picked since 2005.

The Mercedes S-Class outsold the Audi A8/S8 by over four to one during the 2015 model year.

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