In the market for a German flagship luxury saloon? Whether you’re doing your shopping in the US, Europe or Asia, odds are you’ll be taking a really hard look at models such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and the BMW 7-Series, before you even think about any alternatives.
Now, the Bimmer stands even taller thanks to a mid-cycle refresh that brought with it improved on-board tech, new engines and restyled front and rear fascias.
About that those double kidneys
It’s probably difficult to really like the facelifted 7-Series if you’re the slightest bit bothered by its massive new kidney grille design. Compared to its predecessor, the new 7er boasts a 40% larger grille, which ultimately makes the entire front end taller by some 50 mm.
Since the headlights are also slimmer than before, you really get the sense that such a grille-prominent design belongs more on a large pickup or at least an imposing SUV, than it does on a luxury saloon. Let’s just say it’s a very unfamiliar look for a modern-day BMW, one that neither Mercedes nor Audi seem interested in replicating.
The Bavarian automaker also updated the rear end design, where the 7-Series now features a slim LED light strip, just like the Audi A8 – although on the latter, the strip is positioned above the chrome insert, whereas on the BMW, it’s right underneath.
It’s probably safe to say that the 7-Series looks a bit more dynamic when viewed from the rear than the A8. As for the Mercedes S-Class, it’s hard to argue against how elegant its design continues to be, which goes for the whole car, not just the tail end.
Three different cabin styles
What’s refreshing about the automotive industry is that major rivals such as these three share little to no common styling traits, unlike say the smartphone industry where you have one flagship model come out with a notch and thin bezels, and next thing you know everyone’s doing the same.
In contrast, the dashboard and overall interior layout of the BMW 7-Series is nothing like the one in the S-Class or A8, where the latter features more angular shapes plus large console-mounted dual screens, the Merc features its signature dual-screen layout embedded within its curvy dashboard, whereas the BMW continues positioning its main tablet-like infotainment display (as in singular) at the very top of the dashboard.
Speaking of the 7-Series’ 10.25-inch infotainment system, it now features updated software (OS 7.0), and it resides right next to a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a feature that’s been on the A8 ever since the latest-generation model came out in July of 2017, and on the S-Class since, well, summer of 2013.
In the end, all three of these cars are exceptionally good at what they do, and you certainly can’t go wrong with any of them, as far as comfort, technology or performance. But styling? That’s a debate worth having and we’re looking forward to reading what you have to say.