It’s a longstanding argument that dates back to well before car blogs even existed, and it doesn’t seem set to go away any time soon. The reason for the constant comparison is that they are very similar companies. They both want to occupy the luxury end of the market, they both come from Germany, and they both boast performance and comfort as their best qualities. The fact that comparative models come at similar prices makes this all the more competitive.
Mercedes is regarded as a luxury brand, and with good reason. They’re a very comfy car to drive, and their after sales department take really good care of you. They’ve made some solid choices towards sticking to this image despite financial problems, and a constant reputation for being a loss maker for Daimler-Chrysler. Apparently the tactic is to stick it out making expensive luxury cars rather than down pricing in the hope of competing with the rest of the car market as a whole. Unfortunately Japan is increasingly catching up when it comes to luxury, and they’re doing it for cheaper too, so time will tell whether this is really a wise strategy.
In contrast BMW are doing brilliantly. Even in the current downturn of the economy they’ve seen their sales rise, and they continue to expand production. They’ve worked hard to get a good reputation for performance cars that give a great driver experience at the same time as showing off how much money you have. It’s hard not to admire their tenacity, and ability to adapt to new ideas. Also, their Mini range shows a real love of innovation, and has paid off for them in a big way.
So that’s how the companies are doing, but what about what their cars mean for you as a driver? For the most part the distinction is fairly clear. Mercedes are cars for people that want to command a certain amount of respect. Over one hundred years of car manufacturer has given them the right to charge a lot, and subsequently that makes them a status symbol for drivers. When it comes to BMW it’s about enjoying the driving more than the price tag.
So if you’re wondering which is ‘best’ it comes down to what you want: something that will reward you as a drivers’ car, or something that’s rewarding as more of a status symbol.
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