Plug-in Hybrid luxury limo test: Mercedes S 500 e versus BMW 740Le

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Saving resources on a high level has never been easier with the BMW 740Le and Mercedes S 500 e. Does the Plug-in Hybrid luxury limo make sense in everyday life and fulfill what its brochure promise? COMPARISON TEST via

For the 100,000 euros both manufacturers ask for their limos, economy is the last thing that comes to mind. But such a recipe fits, for example, the Prime Minister from Swabia: Winfried Kretschmann is driving S 500 e and finds that his car sets standards in efficiency and climate protection. A CO2 emissions rating of 65 g / km is also a courageous announcement for a luxury liner with 442 hp system power and 2.2 tons. Only 49 grams are advertised by rivaling BMW 740Le whose system performance is more moderate: 326 hp.

The Mercedes will drive 33 kilometers before starting the six-cylinder petrol engine, which is certainly not enough to drive from the private home of the Prime Minister at Sigmaringen to the headquarters in Stuttgart. Enough, however, in this case to leave the city area whispering in low-emission mode.

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In real traffic, after 22 kilometers the S 500’s electric autonomy ends, eight kilometers earlier than the 740Le. Not so great, one might think, hardly worth the effort to plug the car in the evening to the outlet. The around eight kilowatt hours, which BMW and Mercedes from tap out from the battery, cost about 2.50 euros, no great cost advantage compared to the hybrid operation, with the BMW proving to be the more fuel-efficient sedan: it consumed 6.7 liters of petrol. That is equivalent to today’s petrol price a cost of about 9.40 euros.

Running six cylinder in the S 500 e
The Mercedes driver is more rich, with 7.9 liters of gas in hybrid drive. This, of course, is only a part of the truth; the S 500 e offers a superior driving comfort, even with the gasoline engine running. Unlike the BMW, there is a V6 under the bonnet, which even without electric assistance is a competent drive. This can not be said without a doubt about the 740Le, which has a two-liter four-cylinder turbo standard engine, running fossil fuel, a unit represented in similar form in many other products of the house. You can hardly blame the BMW for anything really serious, except the pronounced four-cylinder timbre, which is more noticeable in the luxurious 7 Series than in a 3-Series. The petrol engine has 258 hp and 400 Nm of torque.

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However, as already mentioned, fuel consumption is among its advantages. According to the ams profile for plug-in hybrids, the difference is 1.7 liters of gasoline per 100 km, with the electric requirement of the BMW slightly higher (15.0 to 13.4 kWh / 100 km). In terms of CO2 emissions, this means that the 740Le emits an average of 156 g / km, which is 30 grams less than the S 500 e. The electric energy is fed into the carbon dioxide bill according to the German electricity mix. This is not the case with NEDC consumption, since the electricity is assumed to be CO2 neutral.
The purchase of a plug-in sedan may be financially rewarding, especially for drivers who often park near electric sockets. The BMW 740Le is exactly 3,500 euros more expensive than an equal 740Li with six-cylinder petrol. The hybrid driver must save about 1,000 liters of fuel in order to get the extra charge.

The Mercedes looks a bit different, which is just as expensive as a comparable V8 S 500 with 455-horsepower cylinder and long wheelbase. In addition, the V6 of the S 500 e is much more comfortable in everyday life than the rough four-cylinder in the BMW. We do not know whether this point of view plays a role with a Prime Minister of Swabia.

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The S-Class is clearly ahead: Alone the running and sovereignty of the S 500 gasoline engine could be the decisive factor here. Such a motor is expected in a sedan of this price class, on the other hand, the BMW four-cylinder is rougher and more ineffective. An advantage of the 740Le is the somewhat lower energy consumption, whereby the resulting cost advantage in this price class is not likely to play any role. Incidentally, the collaboration between petrol, electric motor and automatic transmission is also impeccable in both limousines. The more rounded, smoother impression is left by the Mercedes, also because of its somewhat finer driving comfort.

Technical Data
BMW 740Le iPerformance Mercedes S 500 e long
Base price 97.800 € 110.254 €
Lenght x width x Height 5238 x 1902 x 1479 mm 5246 x 1899 x 1494 mm
Trunk volume 420 L 395 L
Engine 1998 cm³ / 4-Cylinder 2996 cm³ / 6-Cylinder
Power/Torque 326 PS / 500 Nm 442 PS / 650 Nm
Max. speed 250 km/h 250 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 5,5 s 5,2 s
Consumption 2,1 L/100 km 2,8 L/100 km