In the full-size luxury sedan segment, technology is king. At least nowadays, it is. And if your car in the segment isn’t the newest car in the segment, it isn’t the best. It’s basically that simple. So when a new car comes out with new technology, it usually ends up beating its competitors in terms of performance, luxury and, most importantly, technology.
The three biggest competitors in the segment are the Mercedes-Benz S Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. Their popularity is basically in that order, as well. So ExtremeTech has put the three together to see which has the best automotive technology and which is the best overall.
Of the three, the Audi A8 is by far the oldest, having debuted back in 2009. Unfortunately for Audi, it’s age is also quite obvious. While its interior is still very nice and luxurious, as it’s ergonomics are excellent, its seats are fantastic and build quality is top notch, it just doesn’t feel nearly as fresh or as luxurious as the other two cars in the test. It also has the least impressive technology by far. While it does have Audi’s MMI system, it’s a bit of a dated version and the nav screen is rather small. It did receive in-car WiFi for 2013 models and newer, though.
However, it is deemed to be the most fun car of the trio to drive. Its choice of either a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 or 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 making it a fast car for its size and its impressive Quattro all-wheel drive system give it superb grip. However, that isn’t enough to keep it from placing last.
In second place comes the Mercedes-Benz S Class. The S Class is everyone’s favorite full-size luxury sedan, as it’s easily the best selling car of the three. When the S Class first burst onto the scene, people almost started foaming at the mouth over its extremely luxurious cabin and impressive technology. Its two massive screens replacing the traditional nav screen and gauge cluster, Magic Body Control and autonomous driver aids made it feel high-tech, while its incredible sumptuous interior made it feel like old-school luxury.
However, it does catch a bit of a penalty in the fun-to-drive criteria. While the S Class is fantastically luxurious and relaxing to drive, it’s also a bit boring and tends to feel a bit too soft. While that’s not really a bad thing in this segment, and hasn’t stopped customers from flocking to it, it still is enough to place it second, not first.
The first place car in this test is the BMW 7 Series. Having just recently been released within the past year, the BMW 7 Series is a marvel of automotive technology. Its Carbon Core chassis is named as such because carbon fiber is used in certain areas of the chassis, including the B and C-pillars as well as certain impact zones. This makes the 7 Series the lightest, most rigid and by far the safest car in its class. It also uses some really clever autonomous driver aids, including remote parking which allows the driver to park the car via the keyfob without even being in it. It also has Gesture Control, which allows the front passengers to control aspects of the nav screen by waiving certain gestures in the air in front of the screen. Things like answering a phone call can be done with the swipe of a hand and volume can be adjusted by making clockwise or counter-clockwise circles with a finger in the air. Really impressive stuff.
While the BMW 7 Series is fun to drive for such a big luxury sedan, it was said to be only second best to the Audi A8. However, BMW does offer an M Sport package for the 7 Series which should make it feel a bit more spry and closer to the A8. But, it is still very good to drive and comes with by far the most technology and luxury. So Extreme Tech deemed the new BMW 7 Series the best car in its class. For now, that is.