BMW 7 Series vs Audi A8 vs Mercedes-Benz S-Class

7-series, News | April 28th, 2018 by 42
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Nitpicking in this segment is a only an exercise in objective journalism and having to look and find flaws for comparison’s sake. Otherwise, it feels …

Nitpicking in this segment is a only an exercise in objective journalism and having to look and find flaws for comparison’s sake. Otherwise, it feels a bit ridiculous to criticize luxury cars as premium and comfortable as these. The main two, the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, are the big players in the segment. Not only have they been out longest but they’re also the best selling luxury cars in their segment. But the newcomer, the Audi A8, has a lot to offer and it does so in snazzier fashion. So while these are all superb luxury cars, Car Magazine has to find a winner.

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In third place is the brand-new Audi A8, which surprised me, if I’m honest. Typically, when a new car comes out in this segment, it pushes the bar in terms of technology and luxury, making it the instant favorite among journalists. However, the Audi A8, despite being the newest car of the trio by far, gets last place. That’s because its ride quality isn’t as well sorted as the BMW’s, nor is its handling. And its luxury falls short of the Mercedes’. It’s a great car overall but it’s too much of a ‘Tweener. Also, its new touchscreen MMI system is good but it can be a bit difficult to use and it’s a fingerprint magnet.

2018 Audi A8 4 9 830x553

Second place went to the BMW 7 Series. It’s certainly the sportier car of the bunch, the one to drive. As per usual, the 8 Series is the one with the best steering, handling and ride composure. Where it falls a bit short is in its interior luxury, which is nice but its design is starting to age and its seating not as comfortable. It’s also a bit too firm for such an expensive luxury car. If you want a luxury car as a getaway car, though, the 7 Series is still the one you want.

That leaves the S-Class as the winner, as usual. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class seems to never lose these comparisons. It’s the luxury car on the market. On the inside, there’s no comparison; the S-Class’ cabin is the finest in the segment, possibly in the industry, and it’s back seat is the most opulent. It also wafts along the rode, impervious to road imperfections, in typical Mercedes fashion. It’s not too soft so as to feel floaty, though. It’s just perfect. Its tech is a bit weird and probably the worst in the segment but the rest of it is too spot-on to place anywhere else but first.

[Source: Car Magazine]

42 responses to “BMW 7 Series vs Audi A8 vs Mercedes-Benz S-Class”

  1. Dailybimmer says:

    Best car M760i.

  2. PK says:

    Of course the S Class. What did we expect?

  3. Donald Dong says:

    The new D5 A8 seems way too much, its quite impressive but too much. BMW should retrofit their 7 with newer 6 and 8 cylinders. It’s not because they lack performance, it’s because of numbers bragging, that will shut plenty of people up. As for the other aspects, reshape the front end of the car and change the AC controls to make the icons bigger for easier operation

  4. mod9 says:

    “As per usual, the 8 Series is the one with the best steering, handling and ride compure”.

    Has the weekend got too much for you, Nico, I thought we were looking at the 7 series?

    Personally, I would buy both the S class and 7 series for different reasons.

    The S class is the only Mercedes Benz car I would buy at the moment.

  5. Ifeanyi Ikpegbu says:

    The comparison should be between the Merc & the Audi. The Bummer isn’t even close to them. These cars aren’t meant to overly sporty and even at that, the Audi has far better acceleration figures.
    Talking about the ride quality, the Audi wins hands down. It has a new active suspension, and has been reported to be better in ride quality than the Rolls Royce phantom. You seem to have done a shoddy research

  6. Senne says:

    Definitely not surprised that the overpriced VW comes in 3rd. lol

    • Ifeanyi Ikpegbu says:

      Looking at the three pictures presented here, it’s obvious it’s the BMW that looks overpriced. Its interior & exterior is garbage. Lmao

      • mod9 says:

        Granted, taste is subjective and depends on personal preference, but I find the interior of BMW better designed and beautiful in an undestated way.

        The Mercedes is nice but too busy, I still like it but not as much as the BMW.

        The Audi one is terrible to me, it looks like a space craft and that is a big no for me. Some people like that.

        As for exterior, I have never made it a secret that I think the 7 series looks unappealing in front. She has a beautiful butt but the face is a mismatch.

        The Mercedes wins that contest hands-down.

        The Audi looks absolutely weird, like too many people were putting it together. More like 20 designers came up with designs and then they were put together to make the car. It looks all wrong.

        • Ifeanyi Ikpegbu says:

          Read any review you can gather, no sane reviewer puts a BMW interior remotely near that of an Audi, for any model. Even this review pointed to it. It may be your opinion, but you are one in a one thousand- a miniscule proportion and without objective to say the least

          • mod9 says:

            That is your problem, you form you ideas or perceptions based on other people’s thinking (reviewers), I don’t do that.

            I don’t see a reason for someone to influence my buying patterns. Sure, I will read the reviews but will go out and experience the car(s) and then make a decision.

            I have got news for you, reviewers are not objective at all. If you think that, hey, go ahead and live in a fool’s paradise.

          • Ifeanyi Ikpegbu says:

            I pointed to reviewers because that’s the only objective thing I might use to direct you properly. Each car marque has its selling point, but BMW’s is not interior quality or looks, it’s driving dynamics. If you check interior pictures of Audi & BMWs and you remotely think they’re close, then you need an eye check, or probably your occipital cortex which processes visual signals is messing with you.
            Audi is the king of interiors and it’s a universal knowledge

          • mod9 says:

            Go back to my initial response to you.

            My eyesight is perfectly 20:20, thank you. I have a preference that no reviewer will influence.

            The materials used in those three are an entirely different matter but from a design perspective I have to go my way.

            Audi has tended to have superior materials in the cabin of their cars just like Mercedes but that doesn’t mean I prefer them over the way BMW lays everything out, and that doesn’t mean the materials used by BMW are not sufficient for my daily use.

            Another difference between you and me is that I don’t knock Audi like you seem to enjoy knocking the “Bummer”, these manufacturers are pushing each other so that we get better cars.

            I just don’t like Audi like I do BMW and to an extent Mercedes. As a matter of fact, a while back when I went to buy my first car, the E90, I had three choice- BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

            I drove all three and the BMW stayed with me in the driving dynamics. It spoke my language and I was smitten. The Merc spoke the other language I loved- comfort. The Merc was like the mistress that I would run to when the wife (BMW) couldn’t give me what I occassionally wanted.

            The third choice, Audi, was trying bridge the gap between the two. The Quattro system was great and the driving has a bit of both cars (BMW and Mercedes) but I didn’t fall in love with it. The interior was “confused” when I entered the car. Like I said, I did feel the quality of the interior but not the ergonomics.

            Coincidentally, my sister is driving the 2012 Audi A5. Nice car but it doesn’t thrill me as much when I drive it.

            I love the BMW brand and have stayed with it for that thrill I get when driving it. There have been changes to the way new BMWs drive but I am glad it looks like that are reverting to the way they used to drive, judging by the M5, X3 and the M2 (though the 2 series has always been a true and true BMW since inception).

            At some point I got fed up with BMW for changing their formula and was looking at the Mercedes (not for the sheer driving pleasure, though, but out of frustration) as my next purchase but have since changed my mind since they are turning back the clock.

          • disqus_8YchtRit8p says:

            Reviewers review to sell magazines.
            So we’ve discovered who’s buying them, obviously.
            Why drive a car when you can read & type about it?

          • takekare says:

            ifeanyiikpegbu 5+

      • disqus_8YchtRit8p says:

        7er has existed for decades as alternative to dull status quo. Still true today. Why do you think innovative 745i outsold S Class? Older demographic doesn’t mean owners all want to be seen in generic cab hearse limos.

    • Daniela Wolf says:

      Not surprising that BMWs margin is decreasing even though they use so many MB parts.^^

  7. Distiller says:

    The only relevant question in that segment really is how does it feel on the backseats. Why would anyone aside from professional limo drivers buy these and drive it himself? All that tech in front is nice but a bit irrelevant. The dash could look like from the 1970’s – who would care as long as the rear seat area experience is superior? If anyone want a barge like that to drive himself buy the S Coupe.

    • disqus_8YchtRit8p says:

      Old bald men drive them because they can’t afford to lose the rest of their hair in a Corvette or SL. Or chauffeurs drive them to the airport. Or mortuary.

  8. Tilen Vežnaver says:

    It should be
    1. Audi, Merc
    3. Bmw

    The two were always miles ahead of the outdated and overpriced Bmw.

  9. Arunabh says:

    Seeing BMW in second place was a pleasant surprise.

    While i love BMW more than the other 2 brands, I personally think that Audi has been harshly judged here.

    Majority will prefer Audi’s interior to BMW’s 9 outta 10 times. BMW interiors are appealing to BMW enthusiasts but lack universal appeal. Personally, I would prefer BMW interiors because it still has got physical buttons and are far less nerdy.

    Probably the difference in driving dynamics was bit too much.

    Although, this is first time i am seeing the 7er bettering A8 in a test as far as current generations are concerned.

  10. Giom says:

    Because the 7 is aimed at enthusiastic drivers, it always looses out to the S. I do agree with Nico, it is strange that they placed the A8 last…

    • Indeed. The 7er is the more fun of the three to drive but, to be completely honest, 99 percent of buyers in this segment are not buying for fun. They’re buying for luxury and comfort, something the other two do better than the 7 Series.

      I haven’t driven the new A8 so I can’t say for sure it doesn’t deserve last but I hear great things about its new trick electromechanical active suspension.

      • Icebreakerr says:

        I LOVE the current 7 series i’d take an alpina b7 or m760 anyday BUT it lost because of its interior. When BMW released the Future vision luxury concept everyone thought thats how the interior would be for the next 7. It pushed merc to make a better interior. from one interview i remember merc they said they want to be best in class for interiors again. the 6 series at that time was better than any merc interior. merc used it as an opportunity and changed interiors and exteriors for the next gen version of the cars in the line up. and from that it worked and thats why they sold so much in that year cause it was “new” if you compare the old C class to the current its night and day difference. the old c class interior was awful. the thing with the 7 was when the S class was out and had a brand new fancy interior everyone thought BMW will make a drastic change new interior design etc (from seeing the future luxury concept..) yes its different from the previous gen 7 series but only us BMW fans will notice the difference but most reviewers just saw it as a 3 series style interior. yes the 7 uses expensive lush materials that do NOT feel cheap and does feel expensive when sat in the cabin (from my experience feels like a private jet when sat in the back) but design wise people wanted something like the FVL concept. if they used that in the current 7. the 7 would have beat the S class in every review and would probably have beat it in sales too. a lxuruy style interior and exterior is important for these cars. tech is no problem and driving dynamics is no problem for bmw they will win in that department each time but design wise they should have gave it more of an special treatment like the FVL concept. and im only saying this now because at that time i thought they were making a 9 series but that didnt happen because BMW has rolls royce for its ultimate luxury cars and there was no need for a 9er. but I think BMW know this now and i hope they act upon it on the next gen 7 series. even the facelift of the current 7 will be a big facelift it even uses brand new style tailights like the 8 series..

    • Icebreakerr says:

      I LOVE the current 7 series i’d take an alpina b7 or m760 anyday BUT it lost because of its interior. When BMW released the Future vision luxury concept everyone thought thats how the interior would be for the next 7. It pushed merc to make a better interior. from one interview i remember merc they said they want to be best in class for interiors again. the 6 series at that time was better than any merc interior. merc used it as an opportunity and changed interiors and exteriors for the next gen version of the cars in the line up. and from that it worked and thats why they sold so much in that year cause it was “new” if you compare the old C class to the current its night and day difference. the old c class interior was awful. the thing with the 7 was when the S class was out and had a brand new fancy interior everyone thought BMW will make a drastic change new interior design etc (from seeing the future luxury concept..) yes its different from the previous gen 7 series but only us BMW fans will notice the difference but most reviewers just saw it as a 3 series style interior. yes the 7 uses expensive lush materials that do NOT feel cheap and does feel expensive when sat in the cabin (from my experience feels like a private jet when sat in the back) but design wise people wanted something like the FVL concept. if they used that in the current 7. the 7 would have beat the S class in every review and would probably have beat it in sales too. interior and exterior is important for these cars. tech is no problem and driving dynamics is no problem for bmw they will win in that department each time but design wise they should have gave it more of an special treatment like the FVL concept. and im only saying this now because at that time i thought they were making a 9 series but that didnt happen because BMW has rolls royce for its ultimate luxury cars and there was no need for a 9er. but I think BMW know this now and i hope they act upon it on the next gen 7 series. even the facelift of the current 7 will be a big facelift it even uses brand new style tailights like the 8 series..

  11. Icebreakerr says:

    id take an M760Li V12 anyday

  12. Steve C says:

    Quite surprised that the A8 did not fair better.
    I am not surprised that the S Class was first. I know the A8, 7 series and S Class are considered the same class, but it’s not a proper comparison. Very different cars, dynamics, style, etc.
    BMW has always been about the driving experience far more than the S class. I like the look of the S and want to like it, but I have tried the the latest ones over the last few years and it is far too soft in any drive mode. I am on my third 7 series, currently in a loaded 2017 750Li and will stick with them. Benz is a great car but the more direct competition IMO is the Lexus LS…. more about luxury and comfort over driving dynamic. The A8, closer competition to the 7 far more than the S.

  13. Donald Dong says:

    Well, most people who comment here will not fully stick with their pick if they are indeed choosing one of those three cars. Audi suppose to be the easy winner here, their Prologue seems to be the most pleasing to the eye, this type of first impression is usually the most important, but when you are the one actually writing a cheque, there will be plenty of other things, that will make you suddenly sway you to change your mind.

    For instance, even the W222 S Class, beautiful on the eye, but at the back, looks more like a bitxh, now if you are a guy, you may not like it, the original interior makes your eyeballs almost pop out, because its just like you are looking at something so seductive, but once you sit in, you age faster than a fine wine, because the interior is too baroque, the design excellence did not translate well into driving & operation either.

    Well, if you are the one sitting at the back, you may not care, but if you like to be on the wheel like me, you will feel very unsatisfied, the excellent dual screen setups, pleasing on the eyes, but operating it is another story. The centre control Command knob, looks so good, but operating it is like asking your wife how to put make-up on, the transmission also, with so much space, they have to shove it on the side, making it easy to mistaken as either a wiper stalk or signal lights stalks, this can be dangerous. The Brake Hold also, because they went minimalist, relying on the footbrake, which means you better keep your eye on your instrument panel. I couldn’t believe those imperfections on the S, if you can stand it, buy it, but those are no-nos for me.

    The D5-A8, on the other hand, cannot be worse than a D4, the reason is their Prologue concept, it looks like a easy winner, but unless you have driven one, reserve your judgement until the final product arrives, they already shown that they suffer the same issue like the G11/G12 7 series, they tone it down too much. Then all the wow on interior design or its it really wow, if you look at it from Porsche SUV perspective, Audi has taken the Porsche approach, tech, very tech, but I caution you, those screens are gorgeous, but when you bombard the driver with that much information like Bloomberg, you better be a very good multitask person.

    They also took out the centre storage area, to incorporate an additional mini display, so if you are used to put things in that location, you will not like the new arrangement.

    Well, for those who bash the 7, they should take note, that the new G11/G12 platforms reset BMW custom of using the 5 series as the main show car, this time, its the 7, & as for some comments about the interior, those who dislike should take a look at BMW other interior colour offerings, that beige, is a no-no for me, but I don’t know why they have to market that colour all the time, the other interiors colours offerings are simply more impressive, you may still not buy it, but your impression definitely will not be the same as previous 7, the design elements are cleaner, but quality wise are as high up as the other 2 Germans. The driving experience is fantastic, the one I am driving is the rear drive version, and even in Comfort setting, this car is like a sports car, but you won’t suffer bump shocks, most people comment here will say they don’t care, but if you are driving one, its really awesome, because instead of enjoying just on the straights, you can enjoy pushing it around the mountains, and despite the screen design and traditional layouts, everything works great.

    I have a D4 A8L also, its beautiful, but plenty of imperfections thats why Audi went all outs to wipe out all the gremlins, so for those who bash the 7, if that was your usual habits, I think you need to change, you may still not buy it, but its much better than what you think. Back on the old D4 A8, since its Audi flagship, the shifter control is just unacceptable, if you are on neutral, and you are on decline, & when you release the brake pedal for the car to roll down even at turtle speed, you can’t put the car back to gear, you have to stop the car. Well on Bimmer & Merc, it won’t happen, the A8 instrument screen looks like they are not very tidy, & it makes the car look cheap, then the knobs, surprisingly substandard, even Playstation controller looks more upscale. The steering also very artificial, unless you select Dynamic, and despite the Quattro grip, I prefer the rear drive 7, more balance, more sporty.

    So just because Audi has released the D5, and it looks pleasing on the eye, and the tech spec is pretty impressive, doesn’t mean they are the better car, its all down to individual preference to the last detail.

  14. JustSomeDude says:

    I’m happy BMW stuck to its guns and remains the leader in driving dynamics. However – it could use a more daring design, especially interior wise…

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  16. Mike Mabengo says:

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