Mercedes on track to overtake BMW as the world’s top luxury car brand

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The German automobile manufacturers are locked in a fierce battle which has seen Mercedes outsell BMW in every quarter this year

Mercedes' impressive sales figures were bolstered by the success of its E-Class cars Credit: Mercedes
Mercedes’ impressive sales figures were bolstered by the success of its E-Class cars Credit: Mercedes

BMW’s days as the most successful seller of luxury cars could be about to come to an end with Mercedes-Benz on track to take the title.

The German automobile giants have been locked in a tight battle for the top spot for years, but it looks like Mercedes is poised to take this year’s title. Mercedes has outsold BMW every quarter in 2016, with its E-Class and C-Class sedans ranking as its top-selling vehicles.

For the past ten years, BMW has shifted more luxury cars than any other manufacturer. In 2016, however, Mercedes has sold 1.54 million cars, putting it just ahead of BMW which sold 1.48 million cars in the same period. BMW hasn’t hardly been sleeping on the job though – September sales of 237,937 were a 10 percent increase on last year’s figures and 2016’s total sales are the best the company has ever seen.

More than 7.6 million BMW 5 Series cars have been sold to date Credit: BMW
More than 7.6 million BMW 5 Series cars have been sold to date Credit: BMW

Mercedes will be hoping to secure this year’s top spot and retain it in 2017 with the release of one of their smartest cars yet – the 2017 E-Class. The semi-autonomous luxury car comes complete with Drive Pilot, Mercedes’ most advanced intelligent driving system yet.

The E-Class’ Distant Pilot Distronic is a souped-up cruise control that follows the car in front at speeds of up to 130mph. Assistive breaking will pull the car back into the correct lane if it’s in danger of drifting off-course, while onboard detectors scan traffic at intersections and apply the breaks if something crosses the path of the Mercedes. While a long way from full autonomy, these Level Two autonomous features are similar to those included in Tesla’s Model S and X vehicles.

Mercedes also teased its F0154 Luxury in Motion concept car, a fully-autonomous, hydrogen-electric hybrid at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2015. While the company has no plans to start production on the car, the futuristic vehicle gives a glimpse into the kind of vehicles that Mercedes may be producing in 2030 and beyond.

Not to be outdone, the 2017 BMW 5-series has been kitted out with Evasion Aid. If the vehicle in front slams on the breaks, the 5-Series will swiftly change lanes to avoid rear-ending the driver in front. The steering wheel also vibrates to indicate that changing lanes is unsafe if the car detects other vehicles that pose a collision risk.

Elsewhere, the 5-Series’ software includes Amazon’s electronic assistent, Alexa, letting drivers play songs and use apps via voice control.

Earlier this month, BMW and Toyota both invested in autonomous driving startup Nauto. The Silicon Valley-based company combines on-vehicle cameras with artificial intelligence to learn and predict how people drive. In April 2016, the company secured $12 million (£9.8 million) in Series A funding.

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