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Centenary dispute between BMW and Mercedes

The story of the confrontation of characters, design and technology

Mercedes and BMW are among the oldest car brands in Europe. Both are included in the list of the most popular brands in the world. This is the merit of both the quality and reliability of their cars, and marketers of companies. Brands openly exploit each other for promotional purposes – but are their cars so strikingly different? We understand the issue together with Fresh Auto.

The history of the “advertising war”

Serious competition between Mercedes and BMW, it seems, was born along with the brands – for several decades they have occupied the same market segment. And the half-joking marketing confrontation began 50 years ago with the “war on billboards”: it was widely discussed, fueling the dispute, among brand adherents.

First, BMW released an advertisement where the BMW X5 was depicted as a cheetah chasing a zembra-Mercedes ML.

In 2002, the company posted another billboard. It featured a Mercedes car transporter carrying BMW passenger cars and the slogan “And Mercedes can be fun to drive.”

Mercedes supported this game. One of the most replicated “answers” of the concern came in 2016. Then BMW celebrated its centennial anniversary, and competitors used this occasion for their new commercial. A video congratulating colleagues from BMW was posted on the official page of Mercedes. In it, the company’s employees thanked BMW for “100 years of competition” and hinted that Mercedes appeared on the market earlier (“We were a little bored for the first 30 years”).

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Mercedes also invited BMW employees to visit their museum to “learn the full history of the automotive industry” and promised free parking and refreshments.

How are their cars different?

“Under the hoods” of cars of competing brands, however, there is much in common. For example, designers Karim Habib and Paul Braque worked for both companies at different times. Both brands actively use rear-wheel drive, use similar ignition locks and spring suspensions, and power units are also located in the same way.

The main difference is in positioning: if BMW in the eyes of consumers should be associated with dynamic movement, then Mercedes should be associated with driving comfort and safety. That is why BMW relies on engine power, and Mercedes is primarily known for the design of the front suspension, where the entire load is taken by the support beam, and not by the body.

If we recall the history of brands, then drivers fell in love with Mercedes for its outstanding ride and comfort when moving, and BMW for its ability to quickly corner and for its acceleration characteristics. Once upon a time there was a stereotype that Mercedes is more suitable for measured driving, and BMW for active driving. Now this is not the case – both brands have moved away from tradition a little, their philosophy has mixed up. Nevertheless, both brands still have their adherents: in the design of new models, family traits can still be traced.

Maxim Ryazanov, technical director of the Fresh Auto dealership network

How to choose between brands

Most often, it is two premium models that are compared: the BMW M5 and the Mercedes E63. Both sedans are among the fastest cars on the Russian market. BMW fans love the M5 for its exterior design, and Mercedes owners for its comfortable interior. However, the situation is gradually changing.

According to my observations, the build quality of the interior of Mercedes cars of the latest generations has deteriorated. If we now compare the quality of finishes in modern budget models of both brands, BMW wins.

Maxim Ryazanov, technical director of the Fresh Auto dealership network

In terms of engines, the standard BMW claims 600 horsepower and 750 N/M, but on the power bench it scores higher: 675 hp. and 820 N/M. In the E63, the manufacturer promises 612 horsepower and 850 N / M, the actual figures are 686 hp. and 870 N/M. It turns out that the performance of Mercedes is slightly higher than that of BMW.

If we compare the motors of the two brands, then in general they are identical and differ only in nuances. Therefore, it turns out that in the comparison of BMW and Mercedes, according to these characteristics, either one brand or another wins, depending on the segment.

Maxim Ryazanov, technical director of the Fresh Auto dealership network

A comparative brake test showed that from a top speed of 200 km/h, the Mercedes stops 2 meters faster. However, both cars are drift-friendly and have a high level of handling.

Another nuance that should be considered when choosing a car is the cost of maintaining it. On the one hand, Mercedes is more expensive to maintain than BMW. On the other hand, BMWs are more likely to break down. As a result, the cost of maintenance will be approximately the same.

Cars are similar in their characteristics, and they are chosen based on their aesthetic preferences and tasks. Both models are sold on the website of the Fresh Auto dealer. And even before July 15, Fresh Auto has a sale: prices have been reduced not only for BMW and Mercedes, but also for other brands. There are several dozen promotional models, and discounts in a special selection reach up to 600 thousand rubles.

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