BMW or Mercedes?

If you are debating whether to buy a BMW or Mercedes, you are choosing between two strong and reputable German carmakers. Will a BMW or Mercedes last longer? Mercedes have the better road life. But BMW passed Mercedes in sales in 2010 for the first time. Both BMW and Mercedes are investing heavily in new safety and fuel designs for their vehicles.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The BMW 760Li costs $137,000, while the Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster costs nearly $500,000
  • BMW has sold 1,461,000 cars; Mercedes has sold 1,178,000 cars
  • Both companies are currently working on future models to introduce into the luxury car industry

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 graphic below and decide for yourself.

Then be sure to enter your zip code above to compare FREE car insurance rates for BMW, Mercedes, and all types of cars!


BMW vs Mercedes


Clash of Titans

The names BMW and Mercedes are universally recognizable as leaders in style, power, and luxury. But how did that happen?

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.

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Quick Statistics

Most Expensive Car:

BMW: 760Li – $137,000

Mercedes: SLR McLaren Roadster – $495,000

Fastest Car:

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 cars sold = 53,426 million euros


Founded in 1916, 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.

The first BMW car was made in 1952, 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.

Wilhelm Maybach, chief engineer at DMG designs, developed the first Mercedes in 1900. In 1902, they changed their name to Mercedes in honor of a highly valued customer’s daughter.

In 1958, Mercedes—now called Mercedes-Benz—enters a distribution agreement with Studebaker-Packard Corporation, giving them access to the US luxury car market.

The company integrated with DaimlerChrysler into a new entity called “Mercedes-Benz AMG” in 1999.

In 2009, they were fined over $30 million dollars for falling below federal fuel economy requirements.

The Logos

The names BMW and Mercedes both conjure up visions of power, luxury, and style.

However, they also bring to mind their distinctive logos–symbols of status that, much like the companies, grew and evolved over time.

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 to 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.

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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 U.S., both automakers call the Southeast their home.

BMW has a South Carolina plant; Mercedes 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.

That engine-size arms race is still going on. BMW is working on a V-16 for Rolls-Royce, while Mercedes is trying to outdo them with a V-24 for automaker Maybach.

But they’re not the only copycats, in 1956 BMW copied Mercedes’ 1936 diesel.

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.

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