||07-09-2013 11:37 PM
Understanding the 5-series, E-class, Audi A6 Technology Differences
I wrote this in a post on another forum in a long thread. I am posting it here to find errors and nuances I may have missed. I will probably also do that on the MB and Audi forums.
BMW probably has the best current night vision system, although it is unclear if it is coming to the US. In addition to displaying on the screen, it displays a warning on the dash and in the heads-up display. For 2014, it recognizes people and large animals; lack of animal recognition is something many complained about. It seems deer are far more likely to jaywalk on a dark windy suburban road. Finally, it converts the foglights to motorized spot lights. When the system recognizes a person or animal in or near the vehicle path, it shines a light on them. The new S-class has a similar system, and an infrared light. The infrared light makes things brighter than just the object's heat.The S-class docs say the light doesn't work on animals (because they don't know how the animal will react). It is unclear from the info online if the BMW dynamic light also avoid animals. I would like it to light animals (mostly deer here); I know what they will do, just stare at the light. However, at least I will see them.
There are other systems that vary between makes. MB has 130° cameras front and rear. Audi has side cameras front and rear. BMW only has side cameras in the front. BMW is the only one of the three that doesn't have a front camera on their surround view. They also don't display the rear camera and surround view concurrently.
MB land departure and blind spot systems are active. BMW and Audi are passive, at least in the US. Audi and for 2014 BMW have touch pads to enter nav/radio/phone info (similar to Google Gesture). Missing on MB. MB has the telephone pad, but having used both, the touchpad is more functional when driving. All three have active cruise control but it is unclear what stop and go means. For example, BMW is adding Traffic Jam Assistant in November that handles stop and go traffic. Does MB have this already?
BMW also has a problem with features on the xDrive units, apparently because it has hydraulic power steering. The Traffic Jam Assistant, the Park Assistant (which MB but no Audi has in the US), and Integral Active Steering (which the magazines pan but most owners rave about) are not available on the a xDrive models.
MB has specifically stated it has steering assist in the US; an active lane departure that keeps the car centered in the lane. BMW's Traffic Assist does that (up to 20mph) and Audi has something similar in Europe.
Audi and BMW have heads-up displays. BMW and MB have a hold feature on the brakes, Audi doesn't, at least in the US. It works better on the BMW. The MB requires the driver to actively engage it each time; the BMW system automatically activates if it is switched on with a console button. In stop and go traffic, I don't want to and will undoubtedly forget at times to apply it with the MB type setup.
All have LED headlights. The MB has the adaptive high beams. The BMW may have the adaptive highbeams, very unclear. The US car has the same option codes as the European cars with it, but it isn't mentioned anywhere in the documentation we have.
The MB diesel and all the BMWs have runflats; Audi is the only company offering a diesel with a spare (at least I think so, I'll have to see it to be sure).
BMW is the only one offering dynamic shocks on a diesel in this class. It also offers dynamic anti-roll bars (PDCC on a Porsche). However, the calibrations are for their runflat setups. A change to a spare and regular high performance tires probably means the calibrations would be too soft. We would probably use Bridgestone RE760 'ultra high performance' summer tires and Michelin Pilot Alpine PA4 winter tires on any of these cars. A inflation kit would be in the trunk and a loose space saver spare and tools in bag for longer trips (about $350-400).
The Euro fuel economy rating on the 245hp BMW diesel is about the same as the MB 195hp diesel. That is partially because MB is only selling the diesel with 4Matic, which has a major impact on its fuel efficiency. But then, here in NJ, AWD is nearly mandatory if you want any sort of resale value.
MB appears to have Nappa in all interior colors. BMW is only offering Nappa in ivory white (!!!, are they nuts?) and Mocha. Then only as part of a $2100 package. And they don't offer a grey interior in either their standard or Nappa leathers (new for 2014).
MB offers Drive Dynamic seats for the driver, BMW has a 20 way seat (bolster adjustment added for 2014) on both side but no dynamic adjustment. We have and I like the dynamic adjustment. Audi has just a regular seat; not even a power headrest. All three offer ventilation, but MB has the massage feature on the Drive Dynamic driver's seat. BMW has it as an option in Europe, not in the US. Not cheap either, it is £595 in the UK.
MB used to have a great fold down rear seat. The lower cushion folded forward, the seat back flat. Now it is a simple fold forward back like Audi and BMW. Sad...very sad. In Europe the front passenger seat back used to fold forward and flat. My QX56 has that.
On a individual note, I like the styling inside and out on the BMW best, but could live with any of them. I think the styling on our W211 is better than any of them...by a bit.
Net, there is a lot of technology. It varies between makes. None are perfect. I think most of it is quite useful.