In the showdown between BMW and Mercedes Benz, who emerges as the winner? From sales to car insurance rates – who would you crown the champ? Check out the below Mercedes vs BMW graphic and decide for yourself.
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Clash of Titans
The names BMW and Mercedes are universally recognizable as leaders in style, power, and luxury. But how did that happen? Did these two car companies just fall to earth fully-formed, offering the most expensive and sought after vehicles on the road? Or was it a long, drawn-out battle to the top to establish themselves as the dominant names in the automotive game? This infographic takes an in-depth look at just what made these two warring car companies so great — how they got where they are today, and how they stack up against other major car companies out there in the world.
Most Expensive Car:
BMW: 760Li – $137,000
Mercedes: SLR McLaren Roadster – $495,000
BMW: G-Power M6 Hurricane CS – 230 mph
Mercedes: SLR McLaren 722 Edition – 209 mph
BMW: 1,461,000 cars sold = 60,477 million euros
Mercedes: 1,178,000 = 53,426 million euros
How did these two powerhouses of engineering come into being? Let’s look at them starting with BMW:
Founded in 1917, BMW was the product of the restructuring of Rapp Motorenwerke, originally an aircraft manufacturing company. In 1923 they shifted over to motorcycle manufacturing when the “Versailles Armistice Treaty” put a stop to aircraft engine production. World War II would have been the death of BMW, but they persevered by making pots, pans, and bicycles until they could reopen for motorcycle production in 1948. 1952 was the birth year of the first BMW car, the now classic 501 model. Originally built in Munich, the company expanded to a huge new plant in Dingolfing in 1973 after outpacing their old facility. 2010 is the first year when BMW sales outdo Mercedes.
Now let’s look at their competitor, Mercedes. Wilhelm Maybach, chief engineer at DMG designs and develops the first “Mercedes” in 1900 (17 years before the existence of BMW and 2 years before it was even called “Mercedes”). 1902 saw them change their name to Mercedes in honor of a highly valued customer’s daughter. For 56 years nothing much really happens; they just become huge. In 1958, however, Mercedes (now called “Mercedes-Benz”) enters a distribution agreement with Studebaker-Packard Corporation, giving them access to the US luxury car market. 1999 saw the German auto-giant integrate with DaimlerChrysler into a new entity called “Mercedes-Benz AMG.” In 2009 they were fined over $30 million dollars for falling below federal fuel economy requirements.
The names “BMW” and “Mercedes” both conjure up visions of power, luxury, and style. However, they also bring to mind their distinctive logos. These status symbols adorn the hoods of these fine vehicles and, just like the companies evolved over time, so too did the logos.
BMW has remained fairly constant, the white and blue alternating sections of the circle symbolizing a propeller cutting through the clear blue sky. The 1970s saw a huge shift into a more multi-colored image, but the BMW logo of today looks very similar to the 1917 original.
Mercedes, on the other hand, started off in 1902 as just a stylized emblem spelling out “Mercedes.” The distinctive three-points in circle shape came next in 1909. Later that same year a seal emblazoned with “BENZ” took its place. 1916 and 1926 both saw the three-points integrated with both names: Mercedes-Benz. Today’s Mercedes owners see only the clean lines of the three points within a circle.
Mercedes Benz & BMW Compared
While both these automakers are symbols of ultimate luxury and driving potential, there are some key differences. For starters, Mercedes favors superchargers in their engines, while BMW owners know that there’s a turbocharger under their hoods. In the US, both automakers call the Southeast their home. BMW has a South Carolina plant; Mercedes cars are built in Alabama.The race to build bigger and more powerful engines is like the arms race for automakers. The 750iL was BMW’s first-ever V-12. Mercedes, not to be outdone, came back with a V-12 in the S600. But they’re not the only copycats, in 1956 BMW copied Mercedes’ 1936 diesel into their own car.
For those of you interested in alternative fuels for cars, it’s worth noting that while BMW is putting all their chips in hydrogen fuels to power their future non-gas cars, Mercedes is working on everything BUT hydrogen. That engine-size arms race we covered earlier? That’s still going on — BMW is working on a V-16 for Rolls-Royce, while Mercedes tries to outdo them with a V-24 for automaker Maybach.
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