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BMW 7 Series vs. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Big in America
The German manufacturers have missed the hybrid trend thoroughly. BMW 7 Series and now must roll up Mercedes-Benz S-Class rear of the field - especially in the United States.

In a nutshell
[+] BMW: very good performance, superb dynamics, balanced ride comfort, luxurious ambience, easy operation
Mercedes: fuel economy, more space, excellent quality impression

[-] BMW: limited cargo space, high price, small shelves
Mercedes: High price, tired six-cylinder

The time for gentle dreams is over. The Americans can not get excited about, despite massive promotion of diesel cars - especially not in the luxury class. Hybrid cars, however, are long established in the United States. Mercedes and BMW have finally understood this and made its two flagship hybrid technology for the U.S. market ready. Unlike the ML SUV X6 and the BMW and Mercedes have not, however, bought into current developments, but developed the hybrid modules, together with Continental itself.

But while, the BMW Active Hybrid 7 on dynamism and sportiness, the Mercedes S 400 hybrid will be especially frugal. "Globally, the 7 Series is the most dynamic way to drive a hybrid," says project manager Werner Bauer self-conscious. "We offer eight-cylinder driving experience, twelve-cylinder power and six-cylinder fuel consumption."

While the Mercedes S-Class hybrid is already on the market for months, the BMW 7 Series comes with a hybrid module until April next year. Both manufacturers have new models with the priorities of the U.S. market in mind. The opponents say there first Lexus. But the future hybrid versions of the Porsche Panamera and the Audi A8 are already in the starting blocks.

Both S-Class and 7 Series have a gasoline engine, which is supported by a hybrid module with a lithium-ion battery, 120-volt electrical system and 15 kW/20 hp. The BMW 7 Series operates with its 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder sports show in the first place Group. The 750i Turbo delivers the well-known thanks to the new eight-speed automatic in the integrated electronic module, a total of 342 hp and KW/465 2000-4500 rev / min a gigantic torque of 700 Nm.

A sprint from 0 to 100 assets km / h in less than five seconds and a top speed of 250 km / h can hardly needs to pay for an economical vehicle. The 7 Series hybrid is a driving machine that makes even the drivers of sports versions and fear at the throne of its sister model 760i saws. For all the momentum, to the two-ton car, according to factory specification with 9.4 liters of Super per 100 kilometers is comforted.

A very different character, the S-Class. The Swabians hybrid is powered by a 3.5-liter gasoline engine with 205 kW/279 hp. No injection, no turbo, for pure smoothness. It is supported by an electric six-cylinder engine that was put space between the engine and seven-speed automatic transmission. The little electric motor delivers 15 kW/20 hp and a maximum additional torque of 160 Nm. Thus, the overall performance of the Benz increases to 299 hp and 385 Nm.

The disc-shaped electric motor assists the gasoline when starting, traveling slowly and as a booster when accelerating. He also replaced the starter and alternator.

The improved driving dynamics compared to the 7 Series is BMW far less spectacular. Benz is for the frugal. Despite improved performance in comparison to the S 350 is the average fuel consumption has dropped from 10.1 liters to 7.9 liters per 100 km.

"The hybrid components on board weighing only 75 kilograms," reckons Herbert Kohler, responsible for corporate research at Mercedes. "We are much lighter and more compact than the current hybrid competition. The battery pack weighs just 28 kilograms."

When asked why BMW has chosen as a support engine for the hybrid drive to the thirsty eight-cylinder engine and not like Mercedes a smaller six-cylinder, must BMW-man farmer not superior long: "We expect to go 45 percent of all Active Hybrid 7 in the United States, the United States. Eight cylinders are a pure market. This will not only change once. In second place in the hybrid demand, we expect Germany to around 20 percent. "

Trimmed on economy
Whether the hybrid customers want to feel this power, however, still remains to be seen. Finally, the expected consumption of a standard twin-turbocharged six-cylinder with around 350 hp would have been below eight liters of Super per 100 kilometers. And exactly this value for its Mercedes S 400 hybrid is in prospect. The six-cylinder engine is tuned for fuel economy - you must buy, however with the lack of dynamics.

The Asian luxury sedans with hybrid technology, but also offers dynamic driving performance, a low fuel consumption and bask in the Mr. Clean image. But its nickel-metal hydride batteries are heavy and cost a lot of cargo space. There are at least in the S-class no restrictions.

It is different from the BMW. Meanwhile, in itself generously sized cargo space is reduced by a square lined with carpet in beer box size. This looks promising, despite the image watermark, "Hybrid Active Power Unit" strange and reduces the load capacity to 460 liters rugged. In the approximately 27-pound blocks of lithium-ion battery pack with an operating voltage of 120 volts is placed.

When starting the Active Hybrid 7 and Mercedes S 400 hybrid is it the same disappointment: The pressure on the starter button or turning on the ignition key does not elicit electrifying buzz. The luxury liner of Munich and Stuttgart whisper with her eight and six combustion chambers quietly to himself. Unlike the full-hybrid versions of Lexus, BMW and Mercedes can not go that is purely electric.

Stop and go
When stopping is the 4.4-liter eight-cylinder in the BMW thanks to perfectly balanced from start-stop system without any emotion, then, within 150 milliseconds to complete at the height of his. This is also the Mercedes very discreet, but in stop-and-go traffic of downtown a bit more nervous than in the Bavarian.

Save in the crowded city or in storage S 400 and 7 particularly. Extrapolated to 100 km can be up to 30 percent. "But even with the highway driving, the engine is relieved," promises Uwe Horning, development manager of the S-Class: "It saves an average of about one liter."

The Active Hybrid 7 is a powerhouse that can compete with anyone - even under normal driving conditions. But if you really are gas, then give V8 twin turbo engine and electric motor together everything. The little heavier S-Class has no chance against there. There it goes, even at full power to demand much tougher. This is due less to the electric engine rather than in the slow six-cylinder, which has its strengths alone in cruising. Hurry and haste are not the cause of Swabia. But he is an impressive slowing down, serves as one of the BMW with exquisite manners and a barely audible noise level.

Diesel is more intelligent
The bottom line: If we want a luxury sedan to move with as little fuel consumption, then the Mercedes S 400 hybrid is the better choice. The noise level is impressive, to use the trunk without any restriction and driving performance are at least properly. The starting price: 85 323 €. The supplement to the standard S 350 petrol is over 8,000 euros.

But those who enjoy a dynamic luxury sedan, the BMW 7 Series is not over. Performance is terrific, the enormous driving pleasure. But when saving the mobile good for first 7 Series Hybrid little. In addition, a strike price of 105 900 € is abundant for the short wheelbase. The long-wheelbase version costs € 112 900 at all. Compared to 750 can be the BMW hybrid drive with about 5,000 Euros extra.

Yet for all hybrid enthusiasm for the European customers are the respective versions of diesel 7 series and S-Class is currently the smarter choice.


Tags : Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, cars, car test
Category : Comparison Tests

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