When it comes to luxury cars, few names are as renowned and prestigious as Mercedes-Benz and BMW. These two German automakers have been competing with each other for decades, offering some of the best driving experiences money can buy. But when it comes to holding their value over time, which one comes out on top? It’s a question that many car enthusiasts have debated at length, and there isn’t a clear-cut answer.
Both Mercedes and BMW have built strong reputations for producing high-quality vehicles that hold up well over time. However, there are a lot of factors that affect how much a particular model will be worth down the line. Factors like mileage, the condition of the vehicle, and market demand can all play a big role in determining resale values.
If you’re in the market for a luxury car and considering either a Mercedes or BMW, it’s important to understand what factors contribute to long-term value so you can make an informed decision. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these brands’ reputation for retaining value, examine some key differences between their models, and provide some advice on how to choose the right car for your needs.
When it comes to brand reputation, both Mercedes and BMW hold an esteemed position in the luxury car market. However, according to various surveys conducted over the years, Mercedes seems to have a slightly better reputation than BMW.
A survey published by Forbes in 2020 ranked Mercedes as the 10th most valuable brand in the world with a brand value of $60.3 billion, while BMW was ranked at 12th place with a brand value of $57.1 billion. Another survey published by Brand Finance in 2019 showed that Mercedes had a higher brand strength score of 91.7 out of 100 compared to BMW’s brand strength score of 89.6.
“Mercedes-Benz has long been known for its quality engineering, cutting-edge technology, and sleek designs – all factors that have helped to build and maintain their strong brand reputation.” -Chris O’Neill, Senior Editor of US News, World Report
When it comes to consumer perception of which luxury car holds better value between Mercedes and BMW, there is no clear winner.
An article published by AutoTrader in 2021 stated that “Mercedes and BMW operate on roughly equal footing from a residual value standpoint” meaning that the depreciation rate of these two brands is similar in the used car market. Another report by EnvyRide found that the average resale value of a three-year-old Mercedes model was around 55% of its original price, while BMW models retained an average of 53% of their original price after three years.
“Both Mercedes and BMW produce high-quality luxury vehicles that are sought-after by buyers in the new and used markets alike.” -Aaron Gold, Automotive Journalist
Both Mercedes and BMW have been recognized with various industry awards for their exceptional luxury car offerings.
In 2021, both brands were awarded multiple accolades in the Best Cars Awards conducted by US News, World Report. However, Mercedes emerged as the winner in more categories including Best Luxury Subcompact SUV (Mercedes-Benz GLB), Best Luxury Midsize Car (Mercedes-Benz E-Class), and Best Super Luxury Car (Mercedes-Benz S-Class). BMW won Best Luxury Small Car (BMW 2-Series) and Best Luxury Large Car (BMW 7-Series).
“Both Mercedes and BMW are industry leaders when it comes to producing top-of-the-line luxury vehicles that cater to even the most discerning of customers.” -Laura Burstein, Automotive Journalist
Both Mercedes and BMW enjoy significant brand loyalty from their respective customer bases.
A survey conducted by J.D. Power in 2020 showed that Mercedes had a loyalty rate of 55%, while BMW’s loyalty rate was slightly higher at 59%. Another report by Edmunds found that over 30% of Mercedes and BMW owners tend to purchase the same brand again for their next vehicle.
“The level of brand loyalty that both Mercedes and BMW enjoy is a testament to the quality of their products and the strength of their overall brand image.” -Karl Brauer, Executive Analyst for iSeeCars.com
Social Media Presence
When it comes to social media presence, both Mercedes and BMW have a strong online following.
As of September 2021, Mercedes has over 36 million followers across all its social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In comparison, BMW has around 30 million followers across these same platforms. Both brands regularly post updates, photos, and videos showcasing their latest models, technology features, and events.
“Mercedes and BMW are both adept at using social media to engage with fans and showcase their products in creative and engaging ways.” -Ravi Shukle, Social Media Strategist
The depreciation rate is an essential consideration when purchasing or leasing a car. Depreciation represents the difference between the purchase price and resale value of a vehicle.
Yearly Depreciation Averages
A study from Edmunds shows that BMW vehicles maintain their value better than Mercedes-Benz over five years, with a depreciation rate of 44% compared to Mercedes-Benz’s depreciation rate of 47%. However, both brands are considered among the top luxury cars for retaining their value in today’s market.
According to Kelly Blue Book, BMW also ranks above Mercedes-Benz for its highest average retained value after five years of ownership.
Several factors account for the differences in depreciation rates between these two brands, including reliability, model popularity, initial cost, fuel economy, safety features, and maintenance costs.
Factors Affecting Depreciation
Reliability: The reputation for quality builds trust in a brand and increases the likelihood of long-term use, which stabilizes resale values. According to J.D. Power “2021 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study,” BMW performs slightly better than Mercedes-Benz regarding overall dependability.
Model Popularity: Cars popular upon release tend to carry higher price tags, which positively affects their resale value later on.
Initial Cost: Higher-priced vehicles will depreciate faster since their value lessens more significantly as time passes. In this category, Mercedes-Benz tends to be pricier than BMW due to additional luxury features.
Fuel Economy: Fuel-efficiency helps increase resale value since it minimizes operating and maintenance costs while promoting sustainability. BMW has built-on sustainable electric options such as i3 and i8, which promote a steadier resale price compared to Mercedes-Benz.
Safety Features: Cars with security features like airbags and anti-lock brakes tend to lose their value slower. Both brands are renowned for their excellent safety measures, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
Maintenance Costs: While luxury cars generally require special maintenance, BMW has been known as the brand with higher-performance models that keep costs relatively low compared to Mercedes-Benz.
“The BMW 2 Series is one of the least expensive luxury sports cars to operate, according to cost estimates based on fuel, depreciation, insurance, repairs, taxes, financing, and other factors” -Edmunds
Though both BMW and Mercedes-Benz hold their value well, BMW takes a slight lead in terms of depreciation over five years due to factors such as reliability, fuel economy, and maintenance costs. However, depending on the model popularity, initial cost, or even personal preferences, either car could be an ideal choice for drivers who prefer high-class driving experience.
The popularity of models within the Mercedes and BMW brands is an important factor to consider when determining which holds value better. Certain models may have stronger demand in the used car market, leading to higher resale values.
According to data from GoodCarBadCar.net, the top-selling BMW model in the United States for 2020 was the X3, with 68,116 units sold. The second-best seller was the 3 Series, with 47,827 units sold. In third place was the X5 SUV, which sold 45,013 units.
For Mercedes, their best-selling vehicle for 2020 was the C-Class, with a total of 35,953 sales. In second place was the GLE SUV, with 32,155 unit sales. And rounding out the top three was the E-Class, which had 27,060 unit sales during the year.
“The BMW X3 consistently tops our list of most-leased luxury SUVs because it’s reliable, affordable and still packed with many of today’s must-have tech features like Apple CarPlay.” -Edmunds.com
Both Mercedes and BMW have been introducing new electric vehicles into their lineups, reflecting changing consumer preferences and emissions regulations in various countries. These emerging models could hold value well over time if they turn out to be popular and successful.
BMW has introduced their i4 all-electric sedan, set to hit showrooms in 2021. According to Motor1, its driving range will fall somewhere between 248 and 373 miles on a single charge. Similarly, Mercedes has their EQC electric SUV, also set to debut in 2021. This vehicle boasts a 280-mile range and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just over five seconds, according to Edmunds.
“Mercedes has built an excellent electric SUV with the EQC. It’s quiet, comfortable, well-made and practical for families.” -WhatCar.com
While discontinued models may hold nostalgia value for some drivers, they generally do not hold as much resale value as newer or more popular vehicles.
BMW announced in May 2020 that it would be discontinuing its iconic i8 hybrid sports car. The i8 had been touted as a “supercar of tomorrow”, featuring futuristic styling, gullwing doors and impressive acceleration and handling capabilities. Similarly, Mercedes discontinued their SLC roadster model in 2020 after several years on the market.
“The BMW i8 is absolutely stunning to look at, and quick enough in pure electric mode that it’ll have you smiling in disbelief all the way up to its top speed.” -CarandDriver.com
The demographics of consumers who own or are interested in purchasing Mercedes or BMW cars can also impact how well these vehicles hold value. For example, younger buyers may prefer sleeker, sportier models that offer advanced technology features, while older buyers might prioritize luxury and comfort.
According to research by J.D. Power, BMW buyers tend to be slightly younger than those who purchase Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The average age of BMW owners is about 54, while the average age for Mercedes buyers is 57.
“Younger buyers nowadays are looking for performance vehicles with larger engines because it really gives them bragging rights among friends.” -Tim Urquhart, IHS Automotive analyst (CNBC)
Additionally, CityLab reports that Mercedes-Benz buyers tend to be more affluent than BMW owners. In the United States, 25% of Mercedes buyers have a household income of at least $250,000, compared to just 16% of BMW buyers.
“Not only do wealthier people buy luxury cars, but driving a fancy car may make you feel wealthy even if you aren’t.” -Richard Florida, urban studies theorist (CityLab)
Both Mercedes and BMW produce high-quality vehicles that are popular among drivers of various ages and backgrounds. While certain models or demographics may impact resale values, both brands generally hold their value well over time thanks to strong engineering and sleek design features.
Maintenance and Repair Costs
Yearly Maintenance Costs
When considering the cost of owning a luxury car, it is essential to factor in regular maintenance expenses. The typical annual maintenance costs for a BMW or Mercedes are comparable and can range from $1,200 to $1,500.
According to AutoWise, however, “Mercedes vehicles require more overall maintenance than other brands,” with an average annual maintenance cost of around $1,180. At the same time, a BMW owner should expect to pay slightly less at around $1,140 annually on routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, brakes replacements, and tire rotations.
Moreover, keep in mind that some things can drive up the yearly price, including frequent driving habits or rough road conditions—so be sure to budget accordingly depending on where you live and how much you plan to use your vehicle.
Cost of Common Repairs
While both BMW and Mercedes offer high-quality vehicles built with durable components, like any cars, they need occasional repairs over their lifetime. If a car’s need for repairs runs higher than what is considered ordinary wear and tear, this will drastically impact its value when it comes time to sell it.
“If potential buyers know that the car has incurred significant non-routine repair costs during its previous ownership, they may be wary of purchasing the car, which could further decrease its resale value.” -The Balance
The most common types of issues with these vehicles include electrical and engine problems. For example, if an issue occurs with the air suspension system or transmission software, this might result in expensive repairs.
According to repairpal.com, the average cost per visit for repairs is around $775 for a Mercedes compared to roughly $670 for BMWs. However, it is worth noting that the average repair costs of German brands like Mercedes and BMW are generally higher than those of other luxury cars.
“One thing to keep in mind when deciding between different car models is long-term maintenance costs.” -US News & World Report
The costliest issues with both BMWs and Mercedes tend to be electrical and engine-related problems. Ironically, this is also true of drivetrain repairs which would often fall under a used vehicle’s powertrain warranty.
- This is why experts agree on the importance of always
- purchasing an extended warranty or considering a certified pre-owned option from your dealership.
Features and Technology
If you’re in the market for a luxury vehicle, it’s important to consider not just its style or horsepower, but also the features and technology that come with it. In particular, when it comes to choosing between Mercedes-Benz and BMW, many potential buyers wonder which brand holds its value better over time. While there are many factors at play when it comes to resale value, let’s take a closer look at some of the key safety, entertainment, and driver assistance features offered by these two brands.
Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW have long been recognized for their commitment to road safety. Some of the standard safety features you can expect from both brands include anti-lock brakes, airbags, and stability control systems. However, each brand has gone above and beyond to offer additional advanced safety technologies. For example, newer-model Mercedez-Benz vehicles often feature:
- Night vision cameras that can detect pedestrians or wildlife up to 500 feet ahead on dark roads.
- Active lane-keeping technology that gently steers your car back into its lane if it starts to drift off course.
- Parking sensors that alert you to nearby obstacles, including objects outside your sightline.
In comparison, recent models of BMWs often feature:
- An Active Protection System that prepares the car and passengers for an imminent collision (e.g., by tightening seatbelts) based on sensor data.
- Optional Head-Up Displays that project important information such as navigation directions or speed limit warnings onto the windshield so drivers don’t need to look away from the road.
- Rearview cameras that show drivers the areas behind their cars while parking or reversing.
Both brands offer impressive safety packages. It’s worth researching specific models to see which features are included and at what price points.
In addition to keeping you safe on the road, luxury vehicles can also provide entertainment and connectivity features that enhance your driving experience. Mercedes-Benz and BMW have different approaches to incorporating technology into their cars. For examples:
- Mercedes-Benz has partnered with tech giant Apple to integrate Siri voice commands and CarPlay functionality into its latest infotainment systems. This allows drivers to use their iPhones or iPads more seamlessly while in the car.
- BMW has developed a proprietary system called iDrive that allows users to control various functions (e.g., music, navigation) using knobs, buttons, and touchscreens. Newer models also come equipped with wireless charging pads for smartphones and WiFi hotspots for passengers’ devices.
Both brands offer high-quality audio systems from well-known manufacturers such as Harman/Kardon and Bang & Olufsen. Ultimately, choosing between these two brands may come down to personal preference regarding user interface and device compatibility.
Driver Assistance Technology
Finally, modern luxury cars often include advanced driver assistance technologies that help take some of the stress out of driving. Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW excel at offering features such as:
- Adaptive cruise control that can automatically adjust your speed based on the traffic around you.
- Automatic emergency braking that can apply the brakes if it detects an impending collision.
- Blind-spot monitoring that alerts you if a vehicle is in your blind spot while changing lanes.
There are some differences between the two brands when it comes to driver assistance. For example, some newer Mercedes-Benz vehicles include:
- Digital instrument panels that can change depending on driving mode.
- Fully autonomous driving capabilities (though these are still in development and not yet publicly available).
- Remote parking assist, which lets drivers park their car using a smartphone app.
In comparison, recent BMW models also offer features such as:
- Hands-free “driving assistance” that allows you to take your hands off the wheel for a short period of time while driving on the highway.
- Cross-traffic alerts that warn you of cars or bicycles approaching from either side before backing out of a tight space.
All of these advanced technologies come at an additional cost. Depending on your budget and preferences, it’s worth researching exactly what features are included with each specific model of Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
Yearly Resale Value Averages
The resale value of a car is an important factor to consider when buying a car. Luxury cars like BMW and Mercedes are known for holding their value over time. According to Kelley Blue Book’s 2021 Best Resale Value Awards, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class ranked number one in the luxury full-size SUV category, while the BMW X7 ranked third.
When it comes to sedans, the 2021 BMW M5 and the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class have similar predicted resale values, with the M5 retaining about 50% of its original value after three years, and the S-Class retaining around 49% of its original value.
Factors Affecting Resale Value
Several factors affect the resale value of a car, including brand reputation, reliability, demand, and mileage. Luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes are known for having strong brand reputations that help retain their value.
In addition, both BMW and Mercedes offer exceptional levels of build quality and reliability, which also helps their cars hold their value over time. A well-maintained BMW or Mercedes can often command higher resale prices than other luxury cars.
Demand is another critical factor in determining a car’s resale value. Both BMW and Mercedes have loyal customer bases who appreciate the performance and luxury of these vehicles — this high demand translates into stronger resale values.
Mileage is yet another essential variable in predicting the resale value of a car. Cars with high miles tend to have lower resale values compared to those with low miles. However, several factors reduce this impact on luxury models since these cars have excellent durability and longevity.
“…both BMW and Mercedes offer exceptional levels of build quality and reliability, which also helps their cars hold their value over time.”
Both BMW and Mercedes have excellent resale values compared to many other car brands due to their reputation for luxury, performance, and reliability. However, it is essential to keep the car in good condition, low mileage, and maintain strict service schedules to ensure maximum resale value.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which brand, Mercedes or BMW, has a better resale value?
According to experts, Mercedes has a better resale value compared to BMW. This is due to the fact that Mercedes vehicles are generally perceived as more luxurious and prestigious, which increases their demand in the used car market.
What factors contribute to the difference in value retention between Mercedes and BMW?
The main factors that contribute to the difference in value retention between Mercedes and BMW include perceived brand prestige, vehicle features, and overall quality. Mercedes vehicles are also known for their superior engineering, which can contribute to their higher resale value.
Are there specific models within each brand that hold their value better than others?
Yes, there are specific models within each brand that hold their value better than others. For example, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class are known for their high resale value, while the BMW 3 Series and 5 Series are also popular choices for those seeking a vehicle with strong resale value.
How does the age and mileage of a Mercedes or BMW affect its resale value?
The age and mileage of a Mercedes or BMW are two of the most important factors that can affect its resale value. Generally speaking, newer vehicles with lower mileage will have a higher resale value than older vehicles with higher mileage. However, factors such as overall condition and maintenance history can also play a role in determining resale value.
Does the popularity of a particular model affect its value retention?
Yes, the popularity of a particular model can have a significant impact on its value retention. Popular models tend to have a higher demand in the used car market, which can help to maintain their resale value over time.
What impact do market trends and economic conditions have on the resale value of Mercedes and BMW vehicles?
Market trends and economic conditions can have a significant impact on the resale value of Mercedes and BMW vehicles. For example, during times of economic uncertainty, there may be less demand for luxury vehicles, which can lower their resale value. Additionally, changes in fuel prices and consumer preferences can also impact the resale value of these vehicles.