MotorTrend Comparison: Entry-Level Fullsize Luxury Sedans

7-series | January 19th, 2011 by 17
2011 BMW 740i front three quarters in motion

BMW 740i vs. Porsche Panamera vs. Audi A8 vs. Lexus LS 460 vs. Jaguar XJL vs. Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid vs. Hyundai Equus MotorTrend put together …

BMW 740i vs. Porsche Panamera vs. Audi A8 vs. Lexus LS 460 vs. Jaguar XJL vs. Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid vs. Hyundai Equus

MotorTrend put together a comprehensive and highly detailed comparison between the entry-level high-end luxury sedans from several automakers, including BMW. The US magazine takes out favorite 740i and places it against Audi’s new A8, the controversial Panamera, the luxurious LS 460, the new and improved Jaguar XJL, the new contender Hyunday Equus and the classic competitor, Mercedes S400.

Each car tested had its own pros and cons, but overall, MotorTrend places the 2011 BMW 740i at the top of their list, another indication that the six-cylinder 7er fits the bill for many customers looking for ultimate luxury without sacrificing the driving experience.

entry level fullsize luxury sedan front three quarters 1 655x409PERFORMANCE*
1. Porsche 77
2. Audi 75
3. Jaguar 69
4. BMW 66
5. Lexus 59
6. Hyundai 56
7. Mercedes-Benz 48
*Compilation of acceleration/braking/handling performance

1. Lexus 52%/$1557
2. Jaguar 52%/$1649
3. Hyundai 51%/$1172
4. BMW 48%/$1719
5. Audi 45%/$1904
6. Porsche 44%/$1976
7. Mercedes-Benz 40%/$2016
*ALG 36-month, 10%, $0-down lease

1. Porsche 83 110
2. Lexus 88 115
3. Mercedes-Benz 87 142
4. Hyundai 102 148
5. BMW 113 165
6. Audi 111 182
7. Jaguar 130 175
*Problems per 100 vehicles across entire brand: Initial Quality Survey (90 days) and Vehicle Dependability Survey (3 years). Underscore indicates industry average (109/155)

1. Lexus
2. Mercedes
3. Hyundai
4. Audi
5. Jag
6. BMW
7. Porsche

1. Audi (LED headlights, Drive Select, handwriting input)
2. Hyundai (Lane-Departure, radar cruise control)
3. Porsche (highly customizable cockpit displays, PDK, auto-stop)
4. BMW (active anti-roll bars, iDrive customizability)
5. Mercedes (Hybrid drive, auto-stop)
6. Lexus (self-parking feature)
7. Jaguar

1. Lexus Mark Levinson
2. Jaguar Bowers & Wilkins
3. Hyundai Lexicon
4. BMW base (unbranded)
5. Porsche Bose Surround
6. Audi base (Bose)
7. Mercedes-Benz base (harman/kardon)

1. Porsche
2. Mercedes-Benz
3. BMW
4. Jag
5. Audi
6. Lexus
7. Hyundai

Overall Ranking

1. BMW 740i
2. Porsche Panamera
3. Audi A8
4. Lexus LS 460
5. Jaguar XJL
6. Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid
7. Hyundai Equus

2011 BMW 740i review

2011 BMW 740i front three quarters in motion 655x409

In fact, when we began deliberations on the finishing order in this test, most expected the 740i to finish in the upper middle of the ranking because it didn’t seem to excel at any one thing.
Then we started discussing the priorities for this class of car. Spacious, comfortable seating? Front-seat room ranks second to the Hyundai’s, and rear space nearly matches it, trailing the long-wheelbase Jag and cavernous Mercedes (an extra $4400 buys the 740Li if you’re ferrying NBA forwards); all four headrests boast airplane-style side wings; and the zillion-way adjustable multicontour front seats ($1300) feel sublime.

Cars in this class should be technology leaders, but they need to be user-friendly. After several generations of Sevens, BMW is getting that second part right. The latest button-ringed iDrive infuriated far fewer of us than Audi’s shifter and MMI or Jag’s pokey touch screen, though it trails the big-button/touch-screen Lexus and Hyundai interfaces. As for tech, the active roll stabilization and dynamic damping that comes with the $6500 M Sport package represent the state of the suspension art. Inveterate gadgeteers can add night-vision with pedestrian detection ($2600), a head-up display ($1300), and around-view cameras ($1200).

Full detailed review at MotorTrend.

17 responses to “MotorTrend Comparison: Entry-Level Fullsize Luxury Sedans”

  1. Daniel says:

    How was Eqqus last when it was only at the bottom once? Unless label snobbery was extremely important

  2. Daniel Hoang says:

    Its amazing how the Hyundai had 4th or higher in 4 of those catagories. I still dont get think BMW should deserve 1st. The Audi seems to be the more better overall car than the BMW.

    • FreudeKing says:

      Please, that boring Audi couldn’t excite anyway to save its life. How stupid that they list LEDs as Audi’s technology when BMW has it too, especially those beautidul taillights. Handwriting system??? How pathetic is that when compared to the much more useful and credible Night Vision, Black Panel Technology, etc. that’s in the BMW.

      Furthermore, The A8 drives like a truck and is basically a VW. Even people in Asia are starting to realise that BMW is a better car company with much better products.

  3. cs444 says:

    The 7 series won because its the most well rounded. It was nearly as fast as the Porsche, handled better than the Audi, and its technology was the easiest to use of the group. I love the new 7, and think its a well deserved win.

  4. Daniel says:

    SURPISE…..if you rank the above scores by automobiles alone here are the rankings as follows
    1. LEXUS 22 pts
    2. PORCSHE 24
    3. HYUNDAI 28
    4. AUDI 29
    5. BMW 30
    6. JAGUAR 30
    7. MERC BENZ 35

  5. Josh B says:

    Talk about well spec’d…this base model 740i has the M-sports package and the Individual package (the colour and the wheels are individual.) Just from the exterior i can see it was also optioned with “black shadow line” on the front M-sports chrome bit as well as the window outline. Any bets the interior followed suit and was well equiped…

    Just a point of interest my dad just bought himself yet another brand new 7seires, this time a 750i M-sport with nearly every option (inc active cruise, rear Tv’s, fridge etc) in a beautiful sophesto grey (excuss the spelling) with 20inch M wheels for the price of a base 740i, difference is he negotiated of the show room floor….The 7’s an awesome car but buying it from new makes little sense. its depreciation is terrible.

  6. wazon8 says:

    740i is a piece of damn good enginering. Have you noticed that it is eighter less powerful by around 60 – 70 hp (when compared with all competitors, except Panamera and S-class) or heavier by 200kg than Panamera and that despite this it matches all those cars in terms of performance? It’s pretty nice result as for flagship with 3.0 litre engine.

  7. Tom says:


  8. Ricardo says:

    Of course BMW wins. And it is the 3.0 6 cylinder. Imagin the 750 engine with 400HP and 450lBS of Torque Twin Power Turbo. Unbeatable overall best quality and engineering.

  9. Nice to see Bmw at the top for being a good value overall. Surprised to see Merc rank low in terms of residual value and last for a crappy sound system? Performance wise it’s understandable the Benz didn’t score high since it’s a hybrid. I admit I am bit of a snob and I think Merc is the ultimate in snob appeal; you cannot beat it in snob appeal. People who have no knowledge of cars will automatically assume your Benz cost a ton even if its a modest C-class.

  10. Kidneydoc says:

    I just love this new 7er , amazing car, Owned 750 Li for year and a half, surprises me every day with performance. Simply Benz Slayer!

  11. Rob says:

    haha, what a shocker. One of the main car mags doing a comparo where a BMW model gets trumped in every category yet magically comes out as the “winner”

    How biased can these magazines get? I don’t get why they don’t start off the comparisons with the line

    “The BMW model will be our winner regardless because we love BMW”

    Ridiculous. Nobody can try and say it is “all around” why it won because the Lexus LS based on those categories did better. The performance isn’t far off and the areas where the LS trumps it are seemingly more a difference than the performance category. Same with the Hyundai Equus…no way it comes in last when it was near the top in so many categories

    This is just another magazine showing their BMW bias. which is why they are pretty much useless to readers who aren’t already fans of BMW and to a lesser degree MB.

  12. Rad Dockery says:

    I wish a magazine would get every day people to test drive these cars instead of “so called experts”. that way we can really see which car meets the every day’s person needs.

  13. viper says:

    7er is great , but the whole test is ridiculous.
    it cannot win.
    audi amazes me with its beauty.
    lexus is so outdated.
    I like the jags ineterior
    you cant go wrong with the daddy
    hyundai , plenty of car for low money
    panamera , an inetersting car , not a fan of its looks but the interior is second to none here
    and finally 7er , great car but not the best , not even close-

    • Lame says:

      What’s so great about the A8? I saw that Goodnight advert from the A8 and the Mercedes S Class looks so much classier and so much more expensive than the A8. The A8 looks like an A4 to me and those LEDs are really lame.

    • Andrewyang651 says:

      Why do people hate on Lexus? I think the lex will smash all the car above. The 7 series is over rated. Its nice under 50k miles but after that its junk. The new 750 couldn’t live up to its 740 e38 name. The e38 isn’t even a all around good car. The benz is also junk. Lexus win hands down. Take it from a s500 owner the lex does everything better in a luxury category.

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