BMW and Mercedes-Benz has been the closest of rivals for a long, long time. It’s no secret that these two companies watch what the other does very closely and gameplay accordingly. You can tell each company benchmarks the other, as each company has a car that the other tries to replicate. The Mercedes-Benz C Class has long hunted the perfect balance that embodies the BMW 3 Series and the BMW 7 Series has been searching for the level of luxury that the Mercedes-Benz S Class wears so well.
Lately, however, the two companies have been growing apart, slightly. They haven’t been after each other so much and seem to be going in unique directions a bit more than ever. BMW seems to be headed towards a much more efficient and technological future. Mercedes seems to want to become the greatest luxury car maker in the world. But when it comes to creating one’s own direction, is Mercedes-Benz the braver car company?
BMW has become a bit of a pioneer lately, with its latest i Division, which is a bold division. Cars like the i3 and i8 push the game forward and that’s always a risky endeavor. But Mercedes-Benz seems to create cars that simply should not exist and it gets people to buy them anyway. For instance, America doesn’t like wagons, at all. But MB was able to sell an E63 AMG Wagon, quite possible the most ridiculous and amazing wagon on sale, here in the ‘States. It didn’t sell very well, but that didn’t stop Mercedes from making it. It also shoehorns big twin-turbo V8s under the hood of its AMG C63 instead of downsizing to blown sixes like everyone else. Mercedes-Benz develops cars that seem like madness in the current market but sells them anyway. The folks in Stuttgart have balls of steel, that’s for sure.
BMW won’t even sell the 5 Series Touring here in the United States for the reason that no one would buy it. Hell, BMW won’t even sell the 1 Series hatchback here, something American enthusiasts have been begging for. Mercedes-Benz will not only give us wagons, but stuff them with the most preposterously large V8s it can fit. BMW sells us its X1 SUV which competes with the Mercedes-Benz GLA Class. However, the one with the Three-Pointed Star on the hood can be had in insane AMG form, while the X1 doesn’t even sniff a real M badge. BMW does have the X6 M, but that’s about it. Mercedes-Benz is thinking about making a car that literally transforms. It’s these kinds of things that maker Mercedes-Benz far braver than BMW, in terms of what vehicles it develops and sells.
But we’ve known that BMW has become a bit conservative over the past few decades. In the ’80s, BMW developed the original M5 which was madness for the time. And that was right after the Giugiaro designed BMW M1. That’s when BMW had big cojones. But now, everything is about small, turbocharged and efficient engines. While cars like this can still be exciting, and very much are in their own way, I think I can safely say that we’d all like to see BMW get a little of its gunslinger attitude back and make silly cars just because it can. Mercedes-Benz does it, so BMW should too.