BMW 7 Series Doesn’t Have To Beat The S Class

7-series | June 16th, 2015 by 39
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With the recent release of information about the new BMW 7 Series, there have been countless comparisons to the Mercedes S-Class. It’s the easiest and …

With the recent release of information about the new BMW 7 Series, there have been countless comparisons to the Mercedes S-Class. It’s the easiest and most common comparison to make. Most of the feedback I’ve seen across the internet has been siding more toward the S Class, claiming it to be the more luxurious seeming of the two. And to be honest, I’ve had a hard time disagreeing with them. I want the 7er to be the better car, but as a luxury car, I have a hard time believing it. But that’s when it dawned on me, the 7 Series main competition might not be the S-Class at all.

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Much like with the current 3 Series vs C-Class comparisons, the 7 Series and S-Class are two cars in the same segment, but with different objectives. The S-Class is designed to coddle, to create a luxury environment like no other. It’s meant to be serene and quiet, using chassis technology to make driving quickly less apparent to the rear passengers. The 7 Series seems to have quite a different scope.

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It does have a similar desire to make the rear passengers feel like royalty, but in a less serene manner. The rear of the 7er isn’t meant to feel like gentlemen’s cigar lounge, like the S-Class. The rear of the 7 Series is meant to feel like a high-tech private jet. Also, the chassis and powertrain technology are meant to motivate the driver of the 7 Series to actually want to drive hard. Very much unlike the S-Class.

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I actually think that the BMW 7 Series’ main competitor might be the Audi A8. Both are cars that have more technology than luxury, in comparison to the S-Class. Both are more about driving dynamics and power than just coddling passengers in the rear seats. Both the 7er and A8 are flagships, not only in luxury but technology, displaying the best of what each company can do. Even the Jaguar XJ, in my opinion, is a more suitable opponent for the 7 Series, as driving dynamics are its main entree. The one thing these cars seem to have in common, more so than the big ‘Benz, is that they’re more about being driven than being driven in.

Related: BMW 7 Series vs. Audi A8 vs. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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So I think much of this 7 Series vs S-Class is a bit misguided. Obviously, both are the two biggest selling luxury cars of all time, so they will naturally be compared. But I think that their scope has changed recently, with Mercedes looking to plant its flag in its luxury roots and BMW looking to expand on its technological and performance prowess. Neither approach is better or worse, in my opinion, just different.

The S Class is more for people who like to get from A to B as quietly and comfortably as possible. The 7 Series is also designed to make the trip comfortable, but it wants to add some excitement along the way. The S Class makes the journey unobtrusive, so that you may arrive at your destination unperturbed. The 7 Series is designed to make the journey better than the destination.

39 responses to “BMW 7 Series Doesn’t Have To Beat The S Class”

  1. Michael Cohen says:

    Where does Tesla fit into this discussion? Massively outselling the 7 series. And outselling 7 series, Audi 8 and Jag XJ combined.

    • Reino-five-five-oh says:

      Great point! Why isn’t it ever included in these comparisons?

    • seancorr says:

      Maybe in the US but in many other countries such as mine, Tesla is unheard of but speak of the 7 er or the S Class, even a small kid will know that’s a rich man’s car and its selling in droves for the more affluent people living here.

    • Kaisuke971 says:

      Well it’s not as big as them isn’t it ? And not as expensive too. If it really was in their segment, it would be bigger, and cost 150k.

      • Michael Cohen says:

        Tesla Model S is 2 inches shorter than the Merc and significantly wider. The 85d with a few options or the P85D will overlap in price with the S Class.

        Panamera probably belongs in the discussion too. Point is there are other driver’s cars in the segment.

      • Reino-five-five-oh says:

        It’s in this class…which is why Tesla is developing a midsize next.

        • Kaisuke971 says:

          It feels more 6 series Gran Coupe or Panamera-ish to me…

          • Reino-five-five-oh says:

            True, Tesla is a little smaller than the 7 or S. But the Panamera looks huge to me, at least as big as the 7 and S class.

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            But not in the same class ! I don’t think there are many people having chauffeured F06, Panamera and Model S x)

    • Tom says:

      Tesla? We are talking about luxury cars here. Seriously, Teslas interior is not on the half level of Merc and BMW, its just simulating by the big touch screen and stuff but nothing more..
      I would say, the 7er is for smart and active people and the S more for just and lazy older gentleman. Just as a quick comparison.
      Even the 7 is a better family car, it also appears more to younger buyers.

    • John Paul Reis says:

      The Tesla Model S is not a top of the line luxury car. http://teslareview.weebly.com
      “It almost feels like you are driving something unfinished” – Motor Trend. The Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, Mercedes S Class and 7 Series are all partly hand built using the highest quality materials. I highly doubt Tesla would take their time to hand stitch or hand assemble a steering wheel or hand cut leather.

      • Michael Cohen says:

        You or Motor Trend may or may not like aspects of the Tesla but its in the segment based on price and function and the customers are picking it. Agreed that Tesla doesn’t have the quite the quality of interior finishes of those cars. Having said that I think that some of the quality perception is about the Tesla being so airy. Putting almost all the controls on a screen, no axle running through the center of the cabin, the Tesla doesn’t quite envelop the driver like the others.

        Luxury has a lot of components including finishes and it includes things like not having to go to the gas station or the dealer for oil changes. (Yes Tesla has downsides like range.) Luxury includes an infotainment that’s simple and intuitive. Luxury means a car that doesn’t even have to locked, started or turned off. Tesla is a serene, minimalist environment. The list goes on.

        For me, its not a car I want though I hope BMW (and this blog) are paying attention to it because, whatever, the shortcomings, its doing some things right and the customers are going for it in droves.

        • John Paul Reis says:

          I like what you said but the only reason people are buying it is because it is something new and American. Take a look at Asian buisness executives, or the very wealthy people who live in Beverly Hills or even more upscale areas. You see a Tesla here and their, but wealthy people know what cars to buy, European ones. I like what Tesla is trying to do but they even had a recall for their cars to re-install the back seats (the recall is described in the link I gave you). A car company that does not even know how to build a back seat properly? I thought GM was bad. I actually would consider buying one but they do get pricy, even more than an S Class or 7 Series once you get the P85D models and add options. And as for the driving range of 240-270 miles on one charge which is stated on their official website, I love it but take the diesel engines for example. A $29.9K Audi A3 diesel went 834 miles on a tank of diesel fuel versus a $120K Tesla P85D+. A Mercedes E Class went 1,223+ miles, driving from South Africa to England. A BMW went 1,013 miles. An Audi A6 diesel just set a world record for visiting 14 countries on one tank of gas, driving 1,159miles total. But I will say the Tesla is a very nice, decently built car.

          • Michael Cohen says:

            The sales figures don’t seem to bear that out. Tesla Model S is close to S Class but way ahead of 7 series, Audi and Jag. I know a handful of owners, admittedly that’s of course anecdotal, and those guys were coming from things like S63s or Bentleys. To a man these guys will say this is the best car they ever had.

            BMW 7 does something like over 1/3 of their sales in China and those likely chauffeured owners.

            Lots of companies have recalls including BMW who lost a class action lawsuit over the engine in my car, the N54. Tesla reliability in electronics, door handles isn’t great but the batteries and motors have done well.

            As far as price, the cost of ownership is minimal and the depreciation far less than luxury cars. In an economic sense it might make sense to compare the Tesla to a 3 or 5 series.

    • Freeway says:

      The 7 Series outsells the XJ, A8, and LS.

  2. IceDree says:

    “Both are cars that have more technology than luxury, in comparison to the S-Class” c’mon, The new S is one of the most advanced cars out there …

    BMW, Jaguar, Audi & Cadillac have their own formula & approach to the segment & that reflects on their work, Which gives their cars a different flavor that distinguishes them from one another. They won’t pull a HyundaiKia.

  3. Shawn Sepehry says:

    While reading the article it occurred to me that perhaps the decision was to leave the driving dynamics and technology to BMW and the super serene chaufer luxury to rolls Royce.

    It seems like Mercedes is trying to punch above its weight in that sense and catch up to Rolls Royce or at least fill the segment of customers below Rolls Royce.

    • Usman Khan says:

      Merc has the Maybach to take on the top Roller and this time the Maybach seems to have been done ‘right’.

      I live in Dubai… what Tesla? http://gulfbusiness.com/middle-east-ranked-among-top-10-global-luxury-markets-2014/

      Of course I know of Tesla and the revolution it’s stirred up, and the proof of it being so good is the Apple like fan boy following in the comments above.

      There is nothing wrong with being a fanboy and I am a self confessed one for Apple products. But trying to jam in a Tesla in the S-class and 7-series league seems unfair and cannot ‘yet’ be justified with a new take on the meaning of luxury. Luxury is still defined by the materials, the sounds, and the smells that surrounds one add to that the grandure, the pedigree and the sense of occasion the car has.

      An example of someone going from an AMG63 to a Tesla is an example of that someone switching segments. People dumping their bimmer 7s and buying Tesla in droves is also an example of segment change. Tesla being a totally new segment one that is an all electric revolution but definitely not a new take on the luxury car segment. Atleast not yet, although there was a short lived Fisker Karma but still no 7 or S competitor.

      Here in the Middle East Tesla is not available yet but if it was the early adopter in me will forget about the upgrade from my current BMW 650i GranCoupe to a 7 or S in favor a Tesla knowing full well that it won’t be in the same segment but I will be driving a revolution and for me that would be an ‘ok’ switch from ‘luxury’.

  4. Srini says:

    They could have made a good looking drivers car.No one complained about the driving dynamics of the new 7 series.everyone was complaining about the design

  5. Shark says:

    I totally disagree with the writer , primarily let me start discuss the 7 series chassis , and the handling technology that bmw offers , 7 series offers a new dramatic component of carbon fiber and strength aluminum that have a shortage parameter which will allow the car to cruise like an exotic sedan with luxurious features, as it has been proven in the comparison between 2015 m3 and the 2016 c 63 amg s model . The case was the m3 beating the c63 amg s in one second almost as eight cars differencesin measurement , and shows a better handling on the corner . That is exactly what the 7 series do , an athletic guy wearing a suit , presenable and fast plus technology and modern design allows the car resemblance . of course im not miss judging the s class , but 7 series is for a new luxurious generation and more refreshing

  6. seancorr says:

    To me the S oozes luxury but the 7 stays businesslike. Two cars for two occasions, no?

  7. Kaisuke971 says:

    The S-Class is THE car to be driven in, while the Quattroporte and 7 series are cars to drive. That said, the 7 is the only one i see you could talk as much pleasure driving it as being driven in. The S-Class does not share as much, and the Quattroporte is not as comfy back there. XJ and A8 ? I don’t even know how to place them x)

    • Joachim De Vos says:

      Think you have never droven the new S Class. I’ve recently switched from BMW7 to S500 Plugin Hybrid. It’s a world of difference.

      • Kaisuke971 says:

        Well this is the old 7, not the new one. Maybe if you drove the W221, the result would’ve been different. There is a reason why you first got the 7, then wen to S. The new one is lighter and have different suspension, and chassis, so the difference will be noticeable as well.
        But no i’ve never driven an S-Class… Most people haven’t… Plus i’m 16 and my parents don’t own these types of cars.

  8. Senne says:

    Why keeps everyone saying “The S-Class is the one to be driven in, the 7 Series is the car to drive’?? It used to be like this. But not anymore. Have you seen the level of ultimate “driving luxury” of the new 7 Series? I can’t imagine a car (in the segment) that is more luxurious. Perhaps only in the segment of Rolls Royce, obviously. And as an extra it’s still the Ultimate Driving Machine. So if you want to drive it; fine. But if you want to relax and sit back in complete silence and luxury; not a problem. Where the S Class is all about luxury and technology, the 7 Series (for me) the best in the segment as it gives everything you could possibly desire! It’s also the lightest in its segment: the 750i xDrive goes from 0-60 in 4,3 seconds!!! That’s almost as fast as an M5 and FASTER than a Mercedes S65 AMG!! And it’s not even an M7! :D

    • Tom says:

      Youre right! Just look at the new lounge seat in the back, its so much space and so compfortable. I would also say, that the new 7 changed the game in this class. Maybe not for all oldschool people out there, but of course for the modern ones ;)

    • Metanoid Android says:

      Yes, I think you might be right guys. With this 7, BMW may just have made the best car in the world and undisputed class champ. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s better than the rest at pretty much everything. I think it really just might be that good, as ahead of the pack as the E39 was in its day. Time will tell.

    • Reino-five-five-oh says:

      The whole ‘being driven in’ either of these cars is overrated. Maybe these cars are being bought for this purpose in upper-east side of Manhattan, but in the rest of the U.S., 90% of these cars are being driven by the person who bought them.

  9. John Paul Reis says:

    BMW represents futuristic luxury or modern comfort luxury, the S Class represents classical luxury, both are amazing but can’t really be compared. The S Class however is more luxurious, but then again, the 7 was not built for that purpose.

    • Senne says:

      And how is it the NEW 7 Series is still not as luxurious as the S Class??? Name it.

      • John Paul Reis says:

        Never said it wasn’t, in my opinion I think the 7 Series in most ways is just as luxurious or even more so than the S Class. I just think the interiors were designed from different perspectives.

        • Senne says:

          Oh, I’m sorry then… but do you think the interior of the S Class is more beautiful than the 7 Series? Because you have a point they are designed from different perspectives, but I think the 7’s dash e.g. is far more beautiful and serene than the S’s.

          • John Paul Reis says:

            The 7 Series is much more serene than the S Class, it has a more comfortable and calm feel to it, the S Class is really overwhelming luxury. The Interior of the 7 Series has much cleaner and simpler lines, although the S is pretty clean as well. I must admit this generation 7 Series is much better than the S Class. The previous generation 7 was really good but this one is amazing.

          • Senne says:

            Well, at the end it seems we share the exact same opinion! I too think the new 7 is really amazing and by far the best in it’s class because it’s so versatile: Ultimate Driving Machine, Ultimate Driving Luxury,… It really is an amazing and real BMW! :)

          • Joachim De Vos says:

            Exterior design has almost not changed. It’s a disaster to drive again 8 years with the same car design. That’s why I switched to S500 PIH. And yes, the interior design details are much more attractive and detailed. Just take a look at the coloured ambilight technology, the signated front glass (double glass), the silence of driving. And the Plug In Hybrid S has a petrol engine combined with a strong electric motor. Totally silent when driving electric (up to 150 km/h for 20 km). Producing a very nice engine sound when no electric drive. The 4 cyl 7 serie has 130 HP less and will make a terrible 4 cylinder noise unless it some artificial sound is created through the loudspeakers, like to i8. Terrible and annoying experience once you know it’s all fake sound.

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