Which is better: BMW or Mercedes? Frankly, we would be happy to drive either a Mercedes or a BMW buuuut… that’s just us. Decide which vehicle is YOUR favorite by checking out the cool (and informational) BMW vs Mercedes comparison graphic below and then be sure to save some money on your auto insurance by entering your ZIP in above for FREE insurance quotes!
BMW vs. Mercedes: The War of Luxury
Luxury: what does it mean? For some it means a fancy dinner, well-prepared. For others it’s a suit of fine Italian silk. Still others consider luxury something that you can drive. They want a powerful, well-designed automobile. A car is so much more than just a form of transportation. It’s a status symbol, it’s a way of life, it’s something biggger than itself. That’s especially true when dealing with vehicles from makers like BMW and Mercedes.
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These two companies have been going back and forth in competition with one another for almost 100 years. BMW was born in 1917, by which time Mercedes was about 17 years old. Even with the slight lead that Mercedes had, the competition has been fast and furious. What can you expect? When two companies are so similar and have such high-quality products, it’s bound to get a little competitive.
BMW & Mercedes History
It’s important to look at the conditions that gave rise to these two mighty automakers if you want to understand the roots of their epic struggle and where the companies hope to go in the future. It’s been a wild ride for both companies and it shows no sign of stopping any time soon.
In 1900 the first unofficial Mercedes car was built. It was designed and developed by Wilhelm Maybach, chief engineer at DMG. It was “unofficial” because the company wasn’t even called Mercedes at that time. The name came later in 1902. The company was renamed in honor of a girl named Mercedes, who was the daughter of a very valued customer. The company grew steadily for 56 years until a deal in 1958 with Studebaker-Packard Corp.
Teaming up with the US auto-maker allowed Mercedes to get its foot in the door in the American market. This American business eventually led to a merger with DaimlerChrysler, resulting in a company called “Mercedes-Benz AMG.” 2007 saw Mercedes-Benz getting the fifth-highest rating for quality from J.D.Power and Associates. This commitment to quality obviously didn’t translate to higher gas mileage, however, because they were fined 30 million dollars in 2009 for failing to meet minimum gas mileage requirements.
BMW, on the other hand, came about almost by accident. When Rapp Motorenwerke was restructured in 1917, BMW was officially born. They were originally an airplane engine manufacturer. 1923 saw them swtiching gears to motorcycle production. This was because the Versailles Armistice Treaty made airplane engine production illegal.
They lasted out the war by making pots, pans, and bicycles. Motorcycle production resumed in 1948. Four years later they rolled out their first car, the classic 501 model. In 1973 they moved into an even bigger production facility in Dingolfing when they outgrew their Munich Plant. 2010 saw them outpacing Mercedes for the first time in history.
BMW & Mercedes Logos
The emblem of an expensive car is almost as important at the car itself. Like a knight’s coat of arms, it says to all who see it: “I am a member of a unique group. This is part of how we define ourselves.” But like the evolution of ancient heraldic symbols, the emblems used by these two auto-giants have changed much over the years, always retaining that air of craftsmanship and dedication.
BMW’s logo is a direct visual reference to their origin as aircraft builders. The alternating blue and white sections within the circle evoke a white propeller slicing through clear blue skies. What’s more, that logo remains virtually unchanged since its original conception.
Only in the 1970’s did it undergo a radical transformation, introducing red into the color scheme for the first time (making a red, white, and blue combo). The swilling arrangement of the lines and curves was still evocative of movement, however. It was not to last, though, as today’s BMW logo is almost identical to the original.
Mercedes, meanwhile, has been all over the map. Starting off in 1902 with simply “Mercedes” inside an oval, 7 years later they introduced the three-pointed shape that has become synonymous with their brand. 1909 saw a switch to simply branding themselves as “BENZ,” but by 1916 the three-pointed shape and the name “Mercedes” were back in the mix.
Ten years later is was “Mercedes Benz,” with the three points, in a circle with olive branches (an element of the original “Benz” logo). The modern logo has done away with all that. It’s simply the three-pointed shape inside a circle. If you don’t know that it represents Mercedes-Benz, then that’s too bad.
BMW & Mercedes Car Stats
In 2010 BMW sold almost 1.5 million cars. Mercedes wasn’t far behind with nearly 1.2 million. BMW made more than 60,000 million euros off their sails. Mercedes made closer to 53,000 million euros (which is not too shabby). But how could they possibly sell so many or make so much money? Well, for starters, the most expensive BMW, the 760Li, rings in at $137,000. The most expensive Mercedes, the SLR McLaren Roadster, costs just shy of half a million dollars!
These cars are definitely trading on the good names of their manufacturers. After all, BMW is home to a car that can go from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds and has a max speed of 230 mpg. That would be the G Power H6 Hurricane CS. On the other side of the aisle is Mercedes-Benz with their SLR McLaren 772 Edition. It’s a 640 HP monster with a top speed of 209 mph that goes 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds.
The BMW/Mercedes Rivalry Today
Seeing how similar their products are and how closely their histories have been tied together, it’s not hard to find many ways in which these two auto giants are still making moves that mirror one another.
For starters, they both favor the American south for their production facilities. BMW has a plant in South Carolina. Mercedes builds their American cars in Alabama.
When it comes to engine power, Mercedes has put their faith in superchargers. BMW, on the other hand, went with turbochargers. Speaking of engines, when BMW rolled out the 750iL with its V-12 engine, Mercedes was right behind them with their S600. Turnabout is fair play considering that in 1956, BMW started producing carbon copies of Mercedes’ then classic 1936 diesel.
There are some differences, however. While BMW is putting their chips behind hydrogen fuel cells for future alternative energy vehicles, Mercedes is exploring pretty much every other type of alternative fuel instead. Also, BMW is busy developing a prototype V-16 for Rolls Royce. Mercedes is countering with plans for a possible V-24 engine for Maybach.
Mercedes & BMW Auto Insurance Quotes
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