There’s no doubt that both these vehicles are excellent choices. We see reasons to buy both, and we understand if you’re having trouble deciding. These cars are in a similar price range and they offer a lot of the same amenities, but there are some distinct differences we’d like to point out. If you’re looking to make a choice between these two vehicles, you’ve come to the right place. We may be an Audi blog, but we’re here to make a fair comparison. We’ll start with the Audi.
The 2016 Audi A8L: Starts at $81,500
The co-star of many Jason Statham Transporter movies, the Audi A8L is one serious driving machine. The A8L starts at $81,500 with a six-cylinder 3.0L engine that produces 333 horsepower and 325 torque. It pushes from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 130 mph. Pretty quick by our standards. It’s very efficient, offering 24 city/36 highway mpg and is paired with Audi’s legendary quattro AWD. All standard.
The Audi A8L is incredibly safe, with multiple sources rating it at a 9/10 or higher. Most modern vehicles are equipped with a similar repertoire of safety equipment – anti-lock brakes, stability control, rear view camera, etc. – and this is one area where the A8L and the S550 are similar. They’re both very safe vehicles, although the S550 does offer a few extras. We’ll cover that soon.
The infotainment centers run along the same lines as the safety equipment. Most luxury cars are going to have many of the same features. We think it’s important to experience both systems first hand and see which one fits you best. We’d like to mention that the Audi A8L offers a BOSE® Surround Sound System with 14 speakers, a 7” display, MMI® navigation software, and BLUETOOTH® paring technology. If you’re interested in seeing everything the A8L has to offer, click here.
The Audi A8L’s standard interior features include four-zone automatic climate control, shift paddles, a sunroof, dual-pane acoustic glass to reduce road noise, two 12-volt power outlets, and more. We think you should make your own comparison on the interior and exterior. At the end of the day, how you think it looks is completely subjective. In our opinion both the A8L and the S550 look great.
The 2016 Mercedes S550: Starts at $95,650
The S550 comes standard with a 4.7L biturbo V-8 that produces 449 horsepower and sprints from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds. That’s .6 seconds faster than an A8L. On the flip side, the twin turbo engine achieves 17 city/26 highway mpg, which is a good deal lower than the A8L’s 3.0L. The S550 comes standard with RWD, and upgrading to the S550 4MATIC (AWD) will boost the starting price to $121,550.
As stated before, any modern luxury vehicle is expected to be very safe. The Mercedes S550 is no different. Still, the S550 offers a few extra safety features like ATTENTION ASSIST®. This system monitors up to 70 parameters of driving behaviors and alerts you when it determines you’re feeling tired. There’s also COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS® and Crosswind Assist, which are systems we feel don’t need an explanation.
The S550 offers a 13-speaker Burmester® Surround Sound System and a large 12.3-inch high resolution screen for infotainment. Apart from a larger screen and a 6-disc CD player, the infotainment systems in the S550 and A8L are pretty comparable. We’d assume that the Burmester® and BOSE® audio systems are both satisfactory. See more about the infotainment system here.
The interior of the 2016 Mercedes S550 is quite extensive. It features everything from heated seats and a power rear-window sunshade, to ambient cabin lighting and a cabin fragrance system (not kidding). This is in addition to the luxury interior amenities you can expect from both the S550 and the A8L, like leather seats, heated seats, and wooden trim. The S550 also offers a plethora of optional equipment, but it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.
The Final Comparison
Here’s where we have to fight for the Audi. For starters, the Audi is $14,000 less. That’s $14,150 back in your pocket, or to spend on upgrades like the 4.0L TFSI® V8 that has 450 horsepower and charges from 0 to 60 in under 3.9 seconds. That’s a whole second quicker than the S550 and still $5,150 less than the S550 (Audi A8L Sport starts at $90,500). This engine is also slightly more efficient (18/29mpg) and it’s powering all four wheels.
Sure, the S550 comes with a lot of technology. From the extra safety features to the interior fragrance system, we’d agree that it’s well equipped. Our only complaint is that the S550 doesn’t place enough emphasis on the driving experience. The Audi’s AWD quattro system and upgraded 4.0L engine would leave the S550 in the dust without hesitation. The 4MATIC might present a challenge, but it would also cost the driver $30,000 more. Which is another downside to the Mercedes-Benz.
Overall, the S550 and the Audi A8L are both strong vehicles. We hope we’ve given you enough information to make your own comparisons and find the vehicle for you. Which would you prefer? Reach out and let us know on Facebook and Twitter what you think of our comparison, or give us a call if you’d like more information. You can always test drive both at the Cary Autopark, which is the best way to decide between two vehicles. We hope to see you soon.