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A Close Fight between BMW and Mercedes-Benz

Date:01-22 10:23 Source:autochina.comnews.cn Authour:He Lun

——Auto Market Hotspots Q&A (115) 

The BMW M760Li xDrive and the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are archetypal representatives of the sports and luxury car lines that form two key poles of the large luxury car market. They also dovetail perfectly with the original brand positioning of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

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In an era where car makers keep downsizing auto engines and enlarging batteries, is there any future for the 12-cylinder engine – the so-called “King of Displacement”? With BMW having just launched the V12 flagship model of the new-generation 7-series in Shanghai – the M760Li xDrive - I think we already have an answer. Next came the 2017 Audi A8L models, including the A8L 6.3 FSI W12 quattro, followed by the Mercedes-Maybach S600. It seems that in the large luxury car field (setting aside ultra-luxury cars and supercars), only the three German car makers are still sticking by the 12-cylinder engine. What is the thinking behind this?

A Close Fight between BMW and Mercedes-Benz

Q: Downsizing engines is already a general trend, so why are the Germans so fixated on the 12-cylinder engine?

A: There are several possible reasons. First, the 12-cylinder engine is the pinnacle of auto engine manufacture. Without it, how could the Germans flaunt their superiority in engine building? Second, for car owners, it is a status symbol; a factor that in itself creates a market. Third, each of these three luxury car makers has an annual output of 2 million vehicles; they can afford the extra costs generated by the 12-cylinder engine – costs such as R&D, production, and fuel consumption and displacement taxes. So for the time being the 12-cylinder engine is still an important battleground for the three German carmakers. As to what will happen in the future, there is no definite answer.

Q: BMW claim the M760Li xDrive will “redefine the structure of the large luxury car market”. What do you think?

A: BMW advertises itself as a sporty luxury brand, but in terms of large cars, it has no model comparable to the high-performance Mercedes-AMG S series. This is a great pity for fans of the brand. The newly-launched M760Li xDrive is still not a high-performance M series car. It falls within the M performance series, but it takes only 3.7s to accelerate from 0-100km/h, which is even faster than BMW’s high-performance M series. That is why it is called the mass-produced car with the fastest acceleration in the history of BMW. Not only is it a topnotch in BMW, it is also the best in its class - even faster than the Mercedes-AMG S65. But I don’t think its direct rival is the AMG 65. The Maybach S600 is a better candidate.

A Close Fight between BMW and Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class launched by Mercedes in 2015 has seized the high ground in the large luxury car market by utilizing the remaining influence of Maybach as an ultra-luxury brand, and by taking advantage of its super-long car body. This has put a lot of pressure on BMW’s new-generation 7 series, which came onto the market later. Now it seems that the BMW M760 is not going to compete with the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class in luxury; instead, it intends to occupy the commanding height of the luxury sports car market, which means it has to compete directly against the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class – luxury may be your trump card, but sports is mine.  

The BMW M760Li xDrive and the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are archetypal representatives of the sports and luxury car lines that form two key poles of the large luxury car market. They also dovetail perfectly with the original brand positioning of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Sitting between these two, the Audi A8 seems to have more market space, but the truth is that customers at this level are not interested in “moderation” – they want every feature that is going. From this perspective, the M760 is indeed “redefining the structure of the large luxury car market”.

 

BMW M760Li vs. Competitor Models in Price and Main Specifications

 

Brand/model

BMW 7 series

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

Audi A8

German market

BMW M760Li × Drive

Mercedes-Maybach S 600

Audi A8L W12

Power (Kw)

448

390

368

Transmission

8-Gang Steptronic

7G-TRONIC PLUS

8-Stufige Tiptronic

Euro

166900

188555.5

143800

Chinese market

BMW M760Li × Drive (V12)

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 (V12)

Audi A8 A8L 6.3 FSI W12 quattro flagship model

Power (Kw)

Torque (N·m)

448

800

390

830

368

625

Transmission

8-speed AT

7-speed AMT

8-speed AMT

Official 0-100km/h acceleration (s)

3.7

5.2

4.7

L*W*H (mm)

5250*1902*1498

5457*1899*1501

5268*1949*1471

Wheel base (mm)

3210

3365

3122

RMB (RMB 10,000 Yuan)

265.8

288.8

256.8


A: BMW’s new-generation 7 series was launched in October 2015, but it was not so well received by the market. Firstly, it struggled to compete with the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class; secondly, there is an ongoing bias in China against the 4-cylinder engine; thirdly, there was little change in the exterior design. However, BMW still has its unique strengths in technology, performance and quality, and more and more medium-sized and large luxury cars are using 4-cylinder engines, so the Chinese bias against this type of engine is easing. Since last August, the sales of the 7 series have grown. In December alone more than 2,600 vehicles were sold, and over the whole year sales exceeded 17,000. In the same period, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sold 28,000 vehicles; 6,000 of these came from the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

Q: How much vitality will the M760 bring to the lower-than-expected sales of the new-generation 7 series?

With the launch of the M760 flagship model, the new-generation 7 series finally has a leader. The “M” and “Maybach” marked on the rear of the car create the “double M” badge, enough to create a frisson in a whole range of customers. This year, building on the growing momentum of the 7 series, the 7-series and the S-class are destined to find themselves in a tight struggle.

A Close Fight between BMW and Mercedes-Benz

 

A Close Fight between BMW and Mercedes-Benz


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