Published on October 24th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Which LUXURY Car Should I Buy? S400h or 740Le or the XJ?
In its first year of release in 2014, this new S-Class line-up featured one hybrid version and one petrol model: S 400 HYBRID and S 500. Both models boasted class-leading efficiency and up to 20% lower fuel consumption than the outgoing S-Class model series.
All the new engines already meet the requirements of the Euro-6 emissions standard and the S 400 HYBRID meet the strict criteria of efficiency ‘class A’. Now for almost all Malaysian owners who bought the S 400, the selling point of this Mercedes Hybrid was its tax incentive pricing of just RM587,888 for the locally assembled S400L HYBRID. This selling price sent the S-Class competitors running back to their individual factories looking for a quick solution to keep their super luxury models still in the sales running for this segment. Almost immediately the Jaguar and BMW showrooms were quieter and existing Jaguar XJ and BMW 7-Series stocks were starting to be covered in dust.
Thanks to the ‘magic’ of pre-registration, sales in BMW and Jaguar showrooms slowly increased and some corporate buyers decided on the normal aspirated power of the Jaguar and the technological marvel provided by the all new 7-Series.
BMW Malaysia then brought in the 740Le XDrive for RM598,800 and buyer interest increased with its 2.0-litre, four-cylinder ‘Twinpower’ turbocharged petrol engine that delivers 265bhp and 295lb-ft, making it the most powerful 4-cylinder petrol engine ever used in a series-production BMW. Mated to a specially developed 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, which is also fitted with a 111bhp electric motor, the combined reserves of 322bhp and 369lb-ft are channelled to all four wheels, allowing this 7-Series to complete the run from 0-100km/h in just 5.3sec.
This new S-Class hybrid was so efficient at its time of launch that it almost sounded utopian: within 10- years Mercedes-Benz, by realising “Efficient Technology”, had almost halved fuel consumption in the 150 kW output category to 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres, for example, while the drag coefficient of this new S-Class (cd=0.24), it clearly undercut the previous model’s figure and sets a new benchmark in the luxury sedan segment in 2015.
But most of the buyers were not interested in its fuel efficiency and reduced carbon footprint. They were instead interested in the price savings and nothing else. BMW Malaysia soon retaliated with their all new 7-Series in 2017 with an immediate RM100,000 discount at launch. This did stir some excitement in BMW showrooms but not enough to dent Mercedes sales. Now 3 years later, Mercedes maintains its sales leadership in this segment and to keep possible buyers keen, some AMG bits have been added to this S 400 Hybrid to liven its appeal and keep BMW’s pre-registration showrooms filled up.
However, these are not the reasons why a well heeled Malaysian buys this S-Class……the reason is simply the hybrid tax savings on the purchase price. The closest rival, the 2017 BMW 740Le X-Drive sells now for RM598,800 before the usual showroom haggling for that discount to be a tad lower than the S 400’s RM598k. The Jaguar XJ still commands an audience whenever it arrives and leaves and still carries that air of luxury that Mercedes and BMW keep trying to replicate. The XJ’s pricing starts from RM638,888 and you can spec your Jaguar to suit your budget. However, this Jaguar XJ despite its smart looks has been in the market for a few years now and buyers in this segment seem to like shiny all new cars to show to business partners and rivals.
As it stands, the best decision is the personal rear seat comfort decision as luxury car owners rarely worry about after-sales, resale values and drive dynamics.