The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been given a facelift and a new BS-VI ready diesel engine. Mercedes-Benz claims this is their most powerful diesel engine ever but is also very efficient. How does the S-Class facelift compare to the top-of-the-line BMW 7 Series diesel? Let the battle of the luxo-barges begin!
Looks like tens of millions of rupees?
- The exterior design of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a great example of how to make a car look like it costs a million rupees without resorting to the excessive
- The BMW 7 Series looks as athletic as any of its smaller sporty cars, but with the long bodyshell of a limousine
- The 7 Series gets laser projector headlights, while the S-Class makes do with 84-element LED projectors
- The S-Class has a welcome function, which lights up the road in an orchestrated show
- Being an M Sport variant, the 730Ld gets underbody LED projectors which form a ‘speedwave’ around the car
- Interior themes on both cars follow their respective exterior designs.
- The S-Class is more about class and sophistication
- The 7 Series is all about exciting features and a hint of sportiness mixed in with the luxury elements
Stretch your legs, boss!
- Both cars have dedicated business class-like recliner seats. But they are limited to the passenger side.
- Press and hold the dedicated button on the S-Class, or push it once on the 7 Series, and the seat transforms into a comfortable recliner
- The BMW’s recliner allows you to stretch more than the Mercedes’ (kneeroom of 1245mm on the 7 Series vs 1205mm on the S-Class)
||S 350 d
|Seat Base Width
|Seat Base Length
|Seat Base Height
1205mm in sleep mode
1245mm in sleep mode
|Floor Hump Height
|Floor Hump Width
- The S-Class has a dedicated calf support which folds up from below the seat, making it more comfortable to rest one’s legs on than the one on the 7 Series, which folds down from the front passenger seat
- Both get cooled, heated and massage function for the rear seats, adding to the comfort levels tremendously
- S-Class has the rear seat experience nailed. The choice of lighter colours, noticeably brighter and customisable ambient lighting and extra width make the cabin feel more special and spacious
- 7 Series compromises on front passenger space to allow more kneeroom and legroom for the rear passengers. Choose a lighter roof liner colour to fully enjoy this sensation
- While both cars can seat three people at the back, a large transmission tunnel and the pronounced contours of the seat make this strictly a place for two
Comfortable back there?
- At standstill, the S-Class is considerably less noisy on the inside than the 7 Series, especially in the way it manages to keep the engine noise at bay
- The S-Class is surprisingly bouncy, even though it has adjustable dampers and air suspension
- The bouncy suspension even at low speeds means you have to be extra careful while driving over speed breakers. Rides in the S-Class will be slow in the interest of keeping the underbody free of dents
- The Ride becomes noticeably stiff if the drive mode is shifted to ‘Sport’ in the S-Class. The only way to keep the ride from becoming too bouncy is to drive slowly in the city while making sure to keep the ride height set to its highest position (there is a dedicated button for this)
- Highway ride quality gets stable post 100kmph. Get ready to be pulled over regularly in the interest of comfort (or maybe not)
- The noise insulation advantage of the S-Class is diminished considerably on the move, with a lot more road noise and suspension noise making their way into the cabin
- Despite riding on larger 19-inch wheels, the 7 Series wins the ride quality battle here!
- Even in the sportiest setting, the 7 Series glides over bad roads but does not become bouncy
Gadgets and gimmicks galore
- The 7 Series wows even before you get into the car with its ‘display key’, which is a smartphone-like key that lets you pre-cool the cabin, move the car in and out of a parking spot and give you vital statistics about the car (amount of fuel left for example)
- Both cars get large multimedia displays - the 7 Series gets a touch-enabled 10.2-inch unit while the Merc gets a larger 12.3-inch non-touch unit
- The touch unit on the 7 Series is easier to use if you plan on connecting your Android or Apple smartphone to the system. Both support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- The 7 Series has gesture controls for the multimedia system, though these are far more cumbersome to use than the touchscreen/touchpad/rotary dial inputs
- Both cars get multi-colour ambient lighting, but the S-Class is just a whole lot more dazzling. Do you need such a dazzling ambient lighting? Probably not. Does it make you feel special? Definitely.
- A 7-inch tablet placed in the rear centre armrest doubles up as a remote control for almost everything inside the 7 Series. S-Class passengers will have to make do with TV-remote like...remotes
- Rear seat entertainment packages on both cars consist of dedicated high-definition 10.2-inch screens, Bluetooth headsets (the ones in the S Class are beautifully crafted) and Blu-ray/DVD players
Drive like a boss?
- Being designed to be driven enthusiastically if need be, the 7 Series feels more fun than S-Class
- In a straight line drag, there wouldn’t be much to choose between the two
|Road Test Figures
||S 350 d
- 245/50 R18 tyres all around on the S-Class are tuned for comfort rather than handling. Drive too hard into a corner and the tail will step out. Recovering a sliding 5.2-metre long limousine requires a lot of skill
- With fatter 275/40 R19 tyres at the rear, the BMW holds its lines around corners and is supported tremendously by its well-tuned suspension
- The BMW’s slimmer M Sport steering and well-contoured paddle shifters come into their own when driving hard
- The 7 Series’ engine is more eager in any mode you choose, especially if you put your foot down
- The S-Class scores some brownie points with the inclusion of radar-based safety and driving aid systems
Light (relatively) on the pocket?
|Road Test Figures
||S 350 d
|Tested City FE
|Tested Highway FE
- Both cars are on par here, with the BMW eeking out a slight advantage both in the city and on the highway. The Merc’s new engine is indeed more efficient than before, and along with 9-speed automatic transmission, compensates for the more than 150kg weight disadvantage it suffers from.
It’s all down to your taste
Go for the 7 Series, the S-Class is just not as well rounded a package. Sure, it may look more stately inside-out, but it’s thoroughly beaten in all aspects of owning a super luxurious barge by the Bimmer. The BMW 7 Series will get more eyeballs and has more gadgets that you could show off. It is fun to drive if you ever feel like it, without compromising on luxury even a bit.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class may look luxurious and in many ways feels it too, but the 7 Series does all that better.