2009 BMW 750Li vs. 2009 Mercedes-Benz S550 - Comparison Test

So you had to say goodbye to the Gulfstream, the corporate retreat in the Napa Valley, and your custom wastebasket—the decoupage job trimmed with pages from a Gutenberg Bible. Times are hard, and it just won’t do to be perceived as excessively self-indulgent—especially if you’re high up in the echelons of a publicly held corporation.

The new corporate Puritanism extends to automobiles, too, but in this area you have a little more latitude. Consider these two execucruisers. Yes, they’re flagship sedans with prestige brand names. But even in an age of austerity, top execs are still allowed some personal-transportation indulgence. You don’t want to be flaunting it with a Bentley, of course. But they don’t expect you to drive an econocube, either. We admit that greenies won’t approve. Both cars carry gas-guzzler taxes, and their mpg during our test—17 for the Mercedes, 16 for the BMW—is pickup-truck poor. And yes, pricing for both cars is a little high for public approval—more than $88,000 base, well over 100 large as tested—but who knows that?

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