Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Comparison2019 BMW M850i xDrive vs. 2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe Quick...

2019 BMW M850i xDrive vs. 2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe Quick Comparison

Grand touring coupés have become very rare. These big 2-door cars blend luxury, performance and beauty like no others can. In this niche segment, the Germans have it.

The return of BMW’s fabled 8 Series has generated quite a buzz. Within a few months’ time, BMW announced the M850i Coupé, Convertible, GT and M8 and suddenly no other grand touring automobile mattered. Mercedes-Benz begs to differ as its S Class S 560 Coupe may be the most opulent of its kind.

While both the BMW M850i xDrive and Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC are unique, similar and very different at the same, there are precious few other cars that can be considered as alternatives. The Aston Martin Vantage could fit in but it lacks the Germans’ stately hood and retails for $20,000 more than the Mercedes. Here, the DB11 would be more at home but sports a base price more than twice that of the BMW. Same goes for the Bentley Continental GT.

With so few options, it’s important to make the right choice and spend your six figures-plus on the right car. Here’s what we think.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
2019 BMW M850i | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Which is more enjoyable to drive?

This portion of the comparison will be where both cars initially differ the most.

The BMW strikes a superior balance between luxury and sporty driving whereas the Mercedes leans heavily towards cosseting and high-speed cruising.

The principal ingredient behind the M850i’s superb driving dynamics is its rear integral active steering. Despite the 8’s considerable exterior dimensions, it immediately feels compact the first moment you take the car’s controls in hand. Factor in the twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8’s 523-horsepower and massive 553 lb.-ft. of torque and suddenly, this is a real sports car.

The quick steering and über powerful brakes support the power but when you’re off, as in searching solely for comfort and to relax, the M850i xDrive is just as happy and at ease coasting.

The Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC too is blessed with gobs of power. Its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8’s output is not quite as prodigious as the Bimmer’s at 463-horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque but performance does not suffer. Truly, the Merc’s 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds may be off the BMW’s 3.8-second mark but it’s not really important… Lies, all lies! Consider this: the M850i is faster than an AMG S 65 by 0.3 seconds and slower than the AMG S 63 by the same amount. The M8 will be devastatingly fast, but I’ve digressed…

From the driver’s seat, the S Class always remains large despite powerful brakes and responsive steering. While the BMW offers rear steering, the Merc counters with a standard self-leveling 4-corner AIRMATIC suspension. The car’s girth coupled with the air bags make for a completely isolated and ensconced driving experience. When the hammer goes down, the S 560 takes off but not with the same eagerness and immediacy as the BMW.

The Mercedes is like going on a cruise with an occasional square dance. The BMW is also a cruise but every once in a while, there’s some serious thrashing, hard core partying that takes place.

Answer: the 2019 BMW M850i xDrive

2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
2019 BMW M850i | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Which is more luxurious?

Heavy-hitting German rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW have different approaches to luxury but in the end, it’s only a matter of design and size preferences.

If size is a measure of opulence, then the S 560 wins as it’s nearly 20cm longer, 21cm wider and 7cm taller. Moreover, it weighs 307 lbs. more (4,785 vs. 4,478), all of this aiding in understanding how the Mercedes cannot be as dynamic as the BMW.

On the inside, technology and craftsmanship are front and center. The Mercedes has a leg up on the BMW for its massive screens, abundance of woods, leathers and even offers the industry’s first ENERGIZING Comfort Control that varies climate comfort, throws in fragrances, massages and fills your soul with music to relax, refresh and rejuvenate mind and body.

The BMW M850i supplies fantastic attention to detail, amazing seats and while the car’s cabin is filled with class and comfort, it does not pamper to the same extreme as does the Mercedes.

Finally, the brand can heavily influence impressions of luxury. In this respect, no disrespect to BMW, but Mercedes takes it.

Answer: the 2019 Mercedes S 560 4MATIC Coupe

2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
2019 BMW M850i | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Which is more spacious and comfortable?

Both cars are all about pleasing the front row occupants. For the third and fourth passengers, they’ll be better served in the Mercedes thanks to its 14cm of extra wheelbase over the BMW.

The front perches for these two cars are epic with 20 or more ways to be adjusted, which are heated and cooled and, in the Mercedes, can massage your old aching bones.

Answer: the 2019 Mercedes S 560 4MATIC Coupe

2019 BMW M850i | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe | Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Which has the better value?

At these prices, value takes somewhat of a backseat. However, having said that, at $123,500 for the basic 2019 BMW M850i xDrive, it comes out as a bargain. The “standard” 2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe at $156,100.

Even with all the options, except for the $100 Smokers Package, the car still retails for less than $146,000. Here, it’s got the Bowers and Wilkins Diamond surround sound system, carbon fibre roof panel, night vision, and way more. Would you pay an extra $12,000 for less equipment and performance? Not so sure…

For fun, a similarly decked-out S 560 goes for more than $170k.

Answer: the 2019 BMW M850i xDrive

2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
2019 BMW M850i | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Which would we recommend?

The debate would be a short one. The BMW. The new 2019 M850i has blown us away on every level even though it might not be as outright lavish as the Mercedes or as spacious.

The fact that the BMW can just as easily be road-tripped to Tijuana or tracked at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant thanks to its M Sport brakes, superb chassis and rear steering make it impossible to resist.

The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive is epic.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC Coupe Pictures Gallery

2019 BMW M850i Picture Gallery


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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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