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BMW versus Mercedes: How the two rivals position themselves

Chrisitan Schulte
BMW versus Mercedes
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It is not true love: BMW and M ercedes keep getting closer, but as quickly as it begins, the contacts come to an end again. One thing is certain today, after much back and forth: There will be no closer bond. Relationship stress is excluded, but also the security of a stable partnership - as the VW Group is increasingly understanding to enter into.

Franco-German relations have always been difficult

Ten brands against three each at the BMW Group (BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce ) and the Mercedes Car Group (Mercedes, Maybach , Smart ) show the challenges facing the two premium providers. The inability to bind already has consequences: BMW and Mercedes definitely going their separate ways - in the small car segment. BMW boss Norbert Reithofer has meanwhile categorically ruled out collaborations with other car manufacturers and only wants to conclude closer contracts with suppliers. Mercedes is still negotiating with und-sport.de/marken-modelle/renault/'>Renault . Franco-German relations have always been difficult throughout history, but in this case they could make perfect sense.

The interests of Mercedes are diverse

Both are looking for new platforms in the small car segment, where, especially from Renault's point of view, there is a need for action because the current one Renault Twingo proves to be a flop. Mercedes' interests are more diverse. On the one hand there is the Mercedes A - and B-series , which is slowly growing out of its infancy. Based on the Mercedes B-Class, there will in future be a family with a van, four-door coupé and a small off-roader called BLK. A Mercedes A-Class successor is to be positioned underneath, which has nothing to do with the van-like design of the current generation. On the contrary: despite front-wheel drive, the cab slides backwards, while the bonnet stretches far forward. The proportions of what is currently being created there in Gorden Wagener's design studio are reminiscent of the BMW 1er , whereby the styling style with two pronounced beads on the side is based on that of the Mercedes B-Class.

Mercedes A-Class successor from 2013

With a length of a good four meters, the Mercedes A-Class successor will appear in the VW Golf - segment and shouldn't just be there prey on dynamic driving characteristics. The interior is also unrecognizable: instead of a retractable monitor, there is a flat screen in the style of an iPhone, which is permanently installed and takes on the role of the communication center. Three-cylinder engines as an economical drive source are set, only where they come from is still completely open. If the alliance succeeds with Renault , the French manufacturer becomes probably take over the development sovereignty here and at the same time hand over the platform for a car in the 3.60 meter segment to Mercedes: a four-door Smart and the next Twingo would then share the base. It is even conceivable that the Mercedes variant would be manufactured in one of Renault's French plants.

BMW relies heavily on external partners

BMW continues to go it alone. Small cars should come from the so-called project i. It will begin in 2014 with a megacity vehicle that, with a high proportion of aluminum and carbon fiber, weighs less than 1,000 kilograms and is also expected to stretch over a length of 3.60 meters. With a drag coefficient of 0.23, it should also be extremely aerodynamic. A whole family of models is planned, from 2 + 2-seater to a small van. When asked whether this megacity vehicle is the first electric Mercedes A-Class will be the successor car of the BMW brand, says CEO Norbert Reithofer with a' clear yes '. With the Elektro-1er, which is on the Detroit Auto Show debuted in January, it is first of all a finger exercise - like the one E-Mini, which is being tested in prototype form in field trials. If you compare the number of alternative drive concepts, Mercedes is clearly ahead of BMW, especially since the technology is developed internally with a high level of expertise, while BMW relies heavily on external partners.

When it comes to CO2 Emissions BMW is ahead

In terms of CO2 emissions, BMW is ahead. The Efficient Dynamics campaign with the introduction of the start-stop system has clearly borne fruit. If you compare the fleet emissions, BMW has 159 grams of CO2 per kilometer, Mercedes (without Smart) 179 (first half of 2009, source: KBA). It is becoming apparent that BMW will rank ahead of Mercedes in the long term. Because the new models of the next few years will also be consistently equipped with this technology, while Mercedes is acting more cautiously for reasons of cost. The next generation of the BMW X3 , the Rolling out in autumn 2010, will definitely be equipped with the start-stop system.

In terms of room concepts, BMW still has a lot up its sleeve

To get ahead of the new BMW X1 , the four-cylinder basic engine with 143 hp only rolls in later. The BMW X3 is definitely called 35i with 306 hp petrol engine and as 30d with 245 hp diesel. The electronically controlled all-wheel drive technology, in which the power is distributed to the wheels within milliseconds, is taken over by the BMW X5 . Using the information from the wheel sensors and the data from the DSC stabilization system, the technology reacts at lightning speed, helping the BMW X3 to achieve a high level of agility. Although the Mercedes GLK competitor from next Year in the US plant in Spartanburg, it will take over the technical components of the future BMW 3 Series generation, which will be launched in 2011 in a new form. When it comes to room concepts, BMW still has a lot up its sleeve.

The Mercedes R-Class has been revised

In autumn 2010, sales of the BMW 5er Touring, which has won in terms of its variability. The rear seat bench can be folded down in a 40:20:40 ratio, and the backrest can also be tilted. Nets, lashing eyes and special covers - everything that helps people to transport bulky items is available. The engine range starts with the 204 hp 523i and extends on the petrol side to the 550i with 407 hp, the diesels have between 184 and 245 hp. Mercedes already has a station wagon based on the E-Class, and the convertible with a thick fabric top will follow in spring 2010. And as an alternative to the spacious BMW models, the brand beckons with a revision of the R-Class, which is unusually strong in the front area. The delicate design of the front gives way to the angular face of a GL, and that stands for the Mercedes R-Class really good - so good that there are internal voices who would like it to be renamed Mercedes GLR to enable the crossover to have a good restart. Technically, however, everything remains the same.

New Mercedes engines will only be available from autumn

Mercedes will not come up with new engines until autumn, namely in the form of new V6 and V8 engines, which are initially available in S Coupé and in the Mercedes CLS are used. The four-door coupé, so far the undisputed design icon of the house, will change its appearance significantly. Above all, the crisp arc of tension in the side section is interrupted by the wide flared wheel arches. Based on the Mercedes E-Class the CLS grows a little in the wheelbase and offers rear passengers more space without giving up the role of the tight four-seater. If you need more space, you have to wait for the Shooting Brake hatchback model - with this variant, Mercedes will definitely be ahead of BMW from the end of 2011.

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