BMW 7 Series vs Mercedes S-Class vs Jaguar XJ
Can the new BMW 7 Series unseat the Mercedes S-Class and Jaguar XJ to take the luxury car crown?
If you’re looking for the last word in luxury, a long-wheelbase limousine should still be top of your list, despite the boom in high-end SUVs. These extended executive cars are just that bit more discreet than an upmarket 4x4, but feature lavish interiors loaded with technology – and the latest business saloon to hit the market is the new BMW 7 Series.
The 7 Series isn’t restricted to advances in equipment, though, as this new model boasts improved safety, even more comfort and, for a business person with their eye on the bottom line, extra efficiency.
However, it’s not cheap, and neither are its rivals. For years, the Mercedes S-Class has been the model to beat, combining cutting-edge equipment with incredible luxury. The same is true of the current car, so BMW’s newcomer has a tough task on its hands.
The 7 Series has always been good to drive, too, and it faces a challenge from the sharp-handling Jaguar XJ – the British brand facelifted its flagship last year, with improvements across the board. But which of these cars reigns supreme in the super luxury saloon class?
The 7 Series’ key with its colour display is like a mini smartphone. It lets you set the climate control remotely, plus check the fuel range and the security status.
A smartphone app would do the job just as well, but it reinforces the car’s hi-tech feel, with features like gesture control letting you adjust the volume with a simple swish of your finger.
BMW’s £1,100 advanced parking pack makes manoeuvring a breeze. Not only does it feature a 360-degree camera, it allows you to park the saloon remotely. You can climb out of the car and simply let it park itself using the key – another brilliant innovation on this sixth-generation 7 Series.
The S-Class feels slightly roomier in the rear, helped by its higher roofline, but the 7 Series is close behind. Both get options for multi-way seat adjustment and plenty of hi-tech kit. The Jaguar isn’t as spacious, although it’s cosy rather than cramped.
First place: Mercedes S-Class
The S-Class cements its position at the top. While BMW’s new 7 Series comes close, rivalling it for technology, the Mercedes better mixes its futuristic feel with exquisite ride quality. It’s not quite as fast, but performance is more than adequate, plus it feels more special than its rivals in this test. On top of that, it’s the cheapest car here and comes with more equipment.
Second place: BMW 7 Series
Low emissions and inclusive servicing will help cut running costs, but while the 7 Series is also great to drive, it isn’t quite as special inside as the S-Class. There’s no faulting the gadgets on offer, although it feels more like an enlarged, expensive 5 Series than a bespoke flagship saloon. Still, good agility and comfort, plus lots of space, make it a brilliant business limousine.
Third place: Jaguar XJ
Despite its striking design, the XJ feels compromised in this company. There’s not as much space in the cabin or the boot, while the ride is simply too firm for a luxury saloon. It’s also the least efficient car here and falls short on cutting-edge kit. Yet the XJ is packed with old-school, upmarket charm and is great to drive.
Is it worth waiting for this model?
Audi A8L SE Executive 3.0 TDI LWB
Due: 2017 Price: £73,000 (est)Engine: 3.0 V6, 300bhp (est)
|Mercedes S 350d AMG Line L||BMW 730Ld M Sport||Jaguar XJ 3.0 V6 D Portfolio LWB|
|On the road price/total as tested||£71,955/£115,140||£72,260/£101,305||£72,075/£88,220|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£32,301/44.9%||£28,499/39.4%||£28,772/39.9%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£3,875/£7,750||£3,460/£6,919||£4,630/£9,206|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,487/£2,479||£1,747/£2,912||£1,580/£2,633|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||46/£1,420/F/£145||46/£1,153/E/£130||50/£1,243/F/£185|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£41pm (3yrs)||5yrs/50k (included)||£229/£329/£229|
|Peak power/revs||254/3,600 bhp/rpm||261/4,000 bhp/rpm||296/4,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||620/1,600 Nm/rpm||620/2,000 Nm/rpm||700/2,000 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||9-spd auto/rwd||8-spd auto/rwd||8-spd auto/rwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||70 litres/repair kit||78 litres/run-flats||80 litres/space saver|
|Boot capacity||510 litres||515 litres||479 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||12.3 metres/N/A||12.8 metres/N/A||12.3 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unltd)/4yrs||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||15,500 miles (1yr)/136||Variable (2yrs)/153||16,000 miles (1yr)/97|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||11th/21st||14th/23rd||2nd/3rd|
|0-60/30-70mph||6.5/5.8 secs||6.2/5.3 secs||6.6/5.6 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||2.6/3.4 secs||2.4/2.9 secs||2.4/2.9 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th||4.4/5.4/7.2/11.4 secs||3.7/5.0/6.7/12.8 secs||3.8/4.8/6.5 secs/N/A|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||155mph*/1,200rpm||155mph*/1,350rpm||155mph/1,400rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||37.6/8.3/579 miles||32.0/7.0/549 miles||35.4/7.8/623 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||201/148g/km/27%||237/132g/km/24%||214/155g/km/29%|
|Auto box/stability/adapt cruise/AEB**||Yes/yes/£2,300/yes||Yes/yes/£2,960/£985||Y/y/y/£1,575^|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go||Yes/yes/£1,490||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|