The $148,620 BMW 760Li in parking spot No. 1 is decked out as handsomely as any 7-Series I've ever seen, with beautiful ruby-black paint, mahogany trim (even behind the rear headrests), Merino leather, and 20-inch wheels. It also sports a $1,700 gas-guzzler tax, thanks to the 438-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-12's thirst for premium fuel. Teamed with a six-speed automatic with manual-shift capability, the big V-12 helps the Bimmer perform like a powerful musclecar that's graduated from post-secondary charm school: it's swift, smooth, and mostly silent, though I wish the electronics controlling the steering and ride weren't so obvious. Inside, the front chairs are heated, cooled, and have a massage feature, but it’s the backseats that feel almost regal--particularly in the long-wheelbase editions like this one. There's also iDrive, but you know our sentiments on that setup already.
Even though "sybaritic" hardly taps the surface of driving or being driven in a BMW 7, it still naturally makes me seek out the greener side of the pasture. The Benz S-Class, which was redesigned for 2007, has some of the same luxurious spoils and styling foibles of the BMW. Some of the bustleback is present on its rear end, too, and it's largely as unsuccessful as on the BMW, and the Benz interior is strangely retro, though upholstered in extravagant suedes and leathers if you like. Its performance numbers are bigger: the V-12 S600 sports 510 horsepower. And certainly, it doesn't want for luxury: it comes with a panorama-style roof, Active Body Control (ABC) suspension, and heated/ventilated front seats with built-in massager, a new infrared night-vision system and concert-hall-quality 14-speaker Harmon Kardon surround sound stereo.
Given the choice, I know which would be my pick for an Autobahn-style blast. What's yours? Tell us in a comment below.
2008 Mercedes-Benz S600Enlarge Photo