BMW 7-Series Facelift vs. Audi A8 vs. Mercedes S-Class Poll: What Would You Get?

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.

 

  • ctk4949

    Mercedes-AMG GT Sedan

  • Gustavo Adriano

    About the exterior design I prefer the BMW, but the A8’s interior it’s awesome!! I didn’t like the new generation of S Class thoug…

    • Matteo Tommasi

      BUT the infotainment sceen is too low in the A8, almost unusable

      • Tony Harlan

        I don’t think you’ve seen the infotainment system in the Audi if you’re saying that… Look it up.

        • Matteo Tommasi

          Yes, the navi is shown behind the wheel, but all the controls are too low to not distract your driving

    • OdysseyTag

      Had the same conundrum – BMW exterior, Audi interior.

  • TheToadPrince..~~ToadSquad

    Benz 100%…Bmw just dont know how to create a nice interior …..

    • Shobin Drogan

      Or an exterior for that matter, gone are the days of the beautiful e46 or e39. Replaced now with one mess after another. Only good thing is that they tend to be more impressive to drive than their rivals.

  • Merc1

    It’s a classic scenario. Audi and BMW have given their best, and next year around this time a new S-Class will erase them again as it did back in 2013.

    M

    • PK

      true. i mean the s class is the benchmark of the large luxury sedan so it’s a no brainer why it is the best among it’s competitors!

  • tbonesteak33

    The S-Class with it’s royal blue ambient lighting in the interior looks like a 5-year-old picked his/her favorite crayon color and drew lines around the trim. It looks like a cheap knockoff.

    • Merc1

      Then change the color of it. Simple.

      M

      • tbonesteak33

        It’s not luxurious, it’s tacky. Does not belong in an S-Class. Mercedes Benz should know what the best color for that lighting is.

  • Dennis James

    Not the BMW anyway, I don’t want to see random people on the street laughing at that joke of a grille.

  • Blade t

    If you’re in the market for something like these cars,,you really should go drive all three..Unless you’re hung up on brand loyalty. .

  • LeifMichelsen
  • TheBelltower

    The only one that I would immediately rule out would be the Audi. I love the brand, but Audi failed miserably with the latest A8. I like the stature of the S-Class, but find the interior gaudy. I love the interior in the 7-Series, but find the schnozz way too obnoxious. Still, it’d be a toss up between the S and the 7.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      The S in this picture is the AMG line I think, which is not a fair comparison. The facelift 7 M Sport is pretty. And in person that grille is not as bad as everyone is talking about. Pairs well with the X7 nicely.
      The 7 is my choice. Drives better.

      • TheBelltower

        I haven’t been in the newest 7, but I tend to like the purposeful nature of previous ones versus the ornate luxury of the current S. I will say though that I could get used to MB’s magic carpet suspension. Or whatever they call it.

  • Bash

    The Benz looks the mature one here I vote for it any day. The others looks noobs with those x-large and hideous grilles.

  • ErnieB

    BMW looks dated.. that interior … yikes! I’d go with the Audi .. but the Benz still looks great.. anything but the bmw..

  • MPAMPIS

    for me maserati quattroporte…!

    • Finkployd

      girl bye

  • Eduardo Palandi

    S-Class, hands down. the new BMW 7er grille is hideous and the new Audi, although not bad, lacks the class of the Benz.

  • Rocket

    The A8 would have been my choice until the geniuses at Audi thought it would be a good idea to remove physical controls from the center stack. And now that BMW has jumped on the massive-grilles-are-the-new-black bandwagon, the choice is an easy one. Benz, baby!

  • JustSomeDude

    The 7 for me.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      All day long.

    • Yavor

      Ugly on the outside, dated on the inside.

  • ztamg04

    S class! more sophistication and doesn’t get lost in its manufacturers lineup *cough cough* Audi cough*; and it doesn’t stand out too much, (hint hint, BMW).

  • Nordschleife

    I am going to be honest. I picked the S-class because it didn’t need a refresh to be inspiring but I really like what they have done with the 7-Series. It was a close decision for me

    • PK

      you don’t have to be honest, you can just say it was an easy decision lol i picked the s class without any hesitation 🙂

      • Nordschleife

        Lol

  • cbATL

    The interior of the S Class is f’en horrendous. Mercedes Middle Eastern and Chinese nouveau riche style is tacky. Give me a BMW or Audi any day.

    • kenny sauray

      Ooh somebody have no class. There is a reason why the S-class is the benchmark

      • cbATL

        Says who?

        • kenny sauray

          Says every single reviewer, buyers and the market. This model S-class came out in 2013 since then have changed the whole industry and we are now in 2019 and others still can’t fit in its shoes. Now the challenge is going to be for Mercedes to try to improve on this. Oh, reviewers called it the best car in the world.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            Everyone is entitled to there own opinion. Personally, I drove the S class and could not stand it. The interior is sh!t. Very plasticky and tacky. The leather felt cheap and overall it was not a good experience. The exterior design is nice though. The 7’s interior feels the most lux to me. Key word: feels.

          • kenny sauray

            Yep, it is a matter of taste and class. But the verdict has always been clear and we know the answer and I don’t think your argument is compelling at best. Personally I have never heard anybody think a 7 series with the interior of a 3 series is in the same class as a S-class. The problem for you here is that we own both cars in the family and we all think the S-class is in a different level

          • Astonman

            I’ve been reading the main 5 car mags for almost 40 years and the S Class has always been the benchmark for luxury sedans. Just like the 3 Series for compact luxury sedan (even though it has lost it’s tarnish in the last few years)

          • tbonesteak33

            I’ve been reading those same magazines – they seem to cherish the 7series more.

          • Astonman

            They cherished the 5 series. Not as much as before.

          • Astonman

            Here’s an excerpt from Road & Track’s Feb 2018 article on the Audi A8: “Over three generations, the A8 has chased the Mercedes Benz S -class” “Once the V-8 and the inevitable S8 performance version arrive, we anticipate an even bigger challenge to S-class supremacy”
            As you can see they didn’t compare it to the BMW 7 series.

        • tbonesteak33

          S-Class drivers. Basically no one else.

    • Cobrajet

      The interior of the BMW or Audi is Never Riche. An expensive car should look expensive.

      • cbATL

        Expensive doesn’t have to look tacky either or overly designed.

    • tbonesteak33

      Agreed.

  • Richard Taylor

    I feel like the S Class is the least ‘try-hard’ of the group. Audi underwhelms despite overwhelmingly complicated detail. The S-Class does well with comparatively understated character, but the 7 Series, actually, is making an encouraging sign of things to come from BMW’s design department. Not because the grille is so huge. But because it’s showing signs of refinement elsewhere. A nip here, a tuck there. Things are looking up for the Beemer.

  • kenny sauray

    My father has the new 7 series, my uncle has the 2018 S-class and I must say the S-class is in a league by itself. Even though the S-class is 6 years old, it is still way ahead of the 7 series. I told my father to change to a S-class next year

    • Astonman

      Kinda confused… “2018 S-class…. Even though the S-class is 6 years old… “

      • kenny sauray

        This W222 S-class came out in 2013 as mentioned in the article or by many in the comments below. The new replacement has been spotted but we don’t have much detail about it.

        • Astonman

          Ahh… I understand now

      • Bob

        Maybe it was a car bought/registered in 2018.

  • Tony Harlan

    BMW will never compare to Audi or MB when it comes to interior comfort, sadly. Drive an A8 and drive an S550 for a week, you’ll choose Audi every time.

    • I don’t like How the BMW and Audi look. But for me the BMW seats are the most comfortable by far. Maybe too much falling asleep too much in them.

  • Can I have a pre-facelift S class? Those cars faces are getting too busy. Too much plastic and chrome.

  • Andrewthecarguy

    There is only one ultimate driving machine, and it is from Munich. I drove the pre-facelift S and 7. The 7 was the clear winner. The S is not interested in driving. I have not driven the A8 but nothing about it is attractive to me. The 7 wins. I prefer the M sport, though this facelift is elegant in the non-M guise.

  • Ermal Morina

    The S class stands by its own on this category. The design is pure elegance, smooth lines with an exquisite back end.
    As far as interior goes, imho, Mercedes overshadows the A8 and the 7series. A8 with its tacky, angular and fingerprint-y interior is no match for the pure and smooth lines of the Benz, nor is the 7 series with that outdated interior design language of bmw, which easily relates to the previous gen, and goes back to 2000s bmw interor design.
    For me personally, W222 S class is by far the most beautiful modern Mercedes, and it has become my all time favourite S class. I really don’t know how they’re gonna top this gen, but one thing is for sure, it will destroy its german rivals.

    Easiest choice ever

    • Bob

      Get out of my head!

  • PK

    Mercedes Benz = Real Madrid

    BMW = FC Barcelona

    Audi = Bayern Munich

  • benT

    “BMW 7-Series Facelift vs. Audi A8 vs. Mercedes S-Class Poll: What Would You Get?”

    Tesla S P100D

    • GobbleUp

      Just bought my second one.
      Zero point in getting one of those three when the Tesla destroys them. And super cars.

  • no25

    LS500.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I prefer the front of the BMW, the side of the Audi, and the rear of the Benz. They all look pretty decent, with the exception of the Audi’s grille… I just can’t warm up to that.

  • StrangerGP

    None, I’d probably get an AMG GT 4-Door.

  • Seats & a steering wheel

    I’d take the Lexus LS 500.

  • Dark Rebel

    I really like the s-class but would pick the 7-series. I hate that the s-class does not have a console shifter. I might be in the minority but I prefer physical knobs and buttons. The audi looks like it has been out for at least 5 years. I would hate to be the one who buys the new a8 used. I can’t imagine those touch screens are made to last.

  • Aelwyn

    It’s all subjective, of course… but I find Audi’s entire lineup (including the A8) to be the most bland-looking in the industry. Meanwhile, the S-Class, while handsome, absolutely screams “old person on board.” I guess, of these three, that leaves the 7 Series. The automotive press has been having a lemming-inspired field day with the new grille, but overall the car looks modern and imposing, as it should for the brand’s flagship sedan. Let’s stop pretending large grilles are a new thing — there are countless examples throughout automotive history. Calm the hell down. :::glances pointedly at Jalopnik:::

  • Point

    The new 7 series is like the worst bmw ever produced. Omg what an awful car they made.

  • Mark

    Audi and BMW look like kids with braces. I’ll have the Merc, thank you.

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

    Honestly, the LS in person has much presence than all of the 3 germans

    • 31/12/2999

      Yes, of course, but this is a contest with the three big Germans, Lexus is Japanese and should be compare with Acura and Infinity.

  • sid acidic

    Bmw

  • D83

    Design-part, BMW kill them all, unless… that big F**kin’ grill!!

  • Yishay

    Audi is the most reliable out of the bunch
    But the S-class interior was the best

    I’d buy the Audi for low maintenance reasons and it styled more classic and less trendy, which means it will still look good 10 years down the road.

  • GobbleUp

    Merc is the best looking inside and out. By a mile.

    Shame Audi really made a frumpy and boring a8 this time.

    And the bmw is just Cadillac hideous. What a pathetic dog.

  • Black boxer

    That pig nose OH NOOOO! I believe BMW can do better than that.

  • Chad Gordon

    I miss round headlights on BMW’s. I also miss the days of being able to tell what was behind me at night just by the headlights. that grill is pretty bad too. the Audi looks bland to me but better than the BMW i guess. I guess by default I’d take the Merc. if it had to be one of those three, otherwise I’d really be happiest with a CTS-V.

  • Best to lease these used after 2 years, when they have already taken a huge depreciation hit. Your bank account will be much better off.

  • ksegg

    When it comes to giant luxobarge sedans – the answer is always S-Class.

  • Jone Sundman

    Mercedes all the way. For me the MB philosophy of automobile, the image, the looks, ergonomics and engineering tradition. But MB, please ditch those unattractive, tacky round ac-vents on dash already. An ac-vent should not be something to promote on an elegant executive sedan.

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