Which Was It: BMW or Mercedes?

By: Maria Trimarchi

About This Quiz

VROOM VROOM! In this quiz, we're brewing a rivalry over in Germany! With two highly coveted brands, if we give you a hint, can you guess if it was BMW or Mercedes?

If you're a car expert, you might know that the history of the automobile starts in Germany. Inventor Karl Benz is credited with making the first true automobile. While many people were tinkering with items to move to the forefront of this creation, Benz crafted this first car with three wheels and an internal combustion engine. He formed his company, Benz & Cie. in 1883 and in 1926 would combine it with Daimler-Motoren-Gesselschaft to create Mercedes-Benz.

Bayerische-Motoren Werke, or BMW as you probably know it as, was founded in 1916 by Karl Rapp. Although this company started manufacturing plane engines, BMW wouldn't begin their automotive production until 1928.

Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW are multi-billion dollar companies. Can you tell these German manufacturers apart?

One brand is known for their C-Class while the other is recognized for the 3 Series. You'd find one headquarters in Munich while the other is in Stuttgart. From "the ultimate driving machine" to "the best or nothing," can you tell these two German car brands apart? There's only one way to find out!

Put your foot on the gas and zoom into this quiz! Can you decide if it's Mercedes-Benz or BMW from a clue? Fasten those seat belts and let's find out!

Karl Benz, of Mercedes-Benz, invented the Patent Motorwagen, which was awarded the German patent number 37435, in 1886. It was the first gasoline-powered car, with one of the first modern-ish internal combustion engines under the hood.

BMW made fighter planes before it got into the automobile manufacturing business full-time. It began in 1916, when three manufacturing companies -- Rapp Motorenwerke and Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, which were both headquartered in Bavaria, and Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach in Thuringia, merged to form Bayerische Motoren Werke, which in German means Bavarian Motor Works.

The first car manufactured by BMW was called the Dixi, which had a ‎747 cc straight-4 engine under the hood. They were only manufactured it until 1932, when they let expire the license to manufacture the series.

Both the BMW and Mercedes-Benz lines of automobiles call for a higher octane gasoline than regular unleaded. Although the cars will run on regular, your owner's manual will recommend premium.

It was Mercedes-Benz that was the first to develop the internal combustion engine. Nikolaus Otto, with Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, patented the compressed charge, four-cycle engine in 1876, and then in 1879, Karl Benz patented the first reliable two-stroke gasoline-powered engine.

Although the company was founded in 1916, BMW didn't become an automobile manufacturing company until 1929 -- in fact, it made bicycles and airplanes before it tackled cars.

Mercedes-Benz has more Formula One race victories than BMW. Not only has the company been competing since 1954, where the team won the Drivers' Championship, they own the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, a Formula One chassis team, and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, which is a Formula One engine manufacturer.

It was Mercedes-Benz that developed the first supercharged engine, the Kompressor, which boosts the car's speed and power. It was designed with input from Ferdinand Porsche in 1921.

After they purchased the Automobilwerk Eisenach (which translates to Eisenach Car Factory) in 1928 -- and the rights to the Dixi brand of cars the company produced -- BMW officially became an automobile manufacturer.

When Daimler-Benz and BMW began selling their cars in the United States, it was by import only. Imports into New York City through dealer Max Hoffman began in the early 1950s -- until Mercedes-Benz USA was formed in 1965. But BMW's first dealership didn't open until 1975, when they bought back the rights to distribute their cars in the U.S. from Hoffman.

Based on a tubular radiator engineered by Wilhelm Maybach in 1897, the design of the honeycomb radiator allowed for higher engine performance. It was first fitted into the 1901 Mercedes 35 HP model, which some consider the first "modern" automobile. Its numerous small cells, like a honeycomb, allow for water to circulate and cool the engine.

It's difficult to say for certain, because of quirks and aging vehicles, according to J.D. Power & Associates -- and BMW's own blog -- BMW is more reliable than its competitor, Audi, but not as reliable as another competitor, Mercedes-Benz. In fact, in its brand dependability study, J.D. Power & Associates ranks Mercedes with 139 problems per 100 vehicles, which is two spots above BMW's rating.

The Fokker D.VII is specifically named in the Versailles Treaty, as a weapon that needed to be handed over to the Allies. But during the war, the BMW-built 185-horsepower engine that replaced the original Mercedes-built engine increased the planes' climb rate in addition to increasing its top speed from 117 mph to 125 mph.

In 1998, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited became a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW. The company licensed the rights to use both the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo from Rolls-Royce PLC -- but that's not all. BMW also acquired the rights to the Spirit of Ecstasy, which is the hood ornament, as well as the grill shape to the Rolls-Royce. BMW also, since 1994, owns the Rover Group, which produces the iconic Mini.

It's Mercedes-Benz, not BMW, that is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

It was Mercedes-Benz that produced the 5-cylinder turbo diesel engine, used in cars built in the 1970s and 1980s. The OM617, as it's known , is considered one of the most reliable engines ever built -- plus, it also runs on alternative fuels such as vegetable oil.

The headquarters for BMW is in Munich, Germany, and it's been the Bavarian car manufacturer's HQ for more than 40 years. It officially opened in 1973, but it's not the location that matters here -- it's the design. BMW's corporate head offices are designed as the biggest four-cylinder in the world.

It's been, "Engineered Like No Other Car in the World." Mercedes-Benz USA has used, "Unlike Any Other." And today, the automaker's slogan is, "the best or nothing."

In 1920, BMW's Kurt Hanfland developed a small two-stroke engine motorcycle, called the Flink, which means "speedy." The motorized bicycle was never sold under the BMW brand, and was sold for just a few years, 1920-1922.

Although Mercedes-Benz's F1 team has been more successful than that of BMW, BMW designed and developed a V12 engine that powered the McLaren F1 from 1993 to 1998.

In 1985, Mercedes-Benz debuted yet another of its innovations: 4MATIC All-Wheel Drive. It was designed to help drivers drive better -- and safer -- on wet and slippery roads.

Mercedes-Benz produced the first series of its 260D, a inline 4-cylinder diesel engine designed and built for large-scale production of passenger cars. It was patented by Rudolf Diesel in 1893, but wasn't dropped into a Mercedes until 1936, where it managed about 24 mpg.

While BMW's 1602e wasn't the first time a car was powered with electricity -- there was a lot of experimentation in the early days of automobiles, it was a major step forward in electric car technology. It was in the world's spotlight during the 1972 Olympics held in Munich, where it was the lead for the long-distance runners. The 1602e relied on 12 12-volt batteries to run, and could travel just 37 miles before needing a charge.

The 7G-Tronic is Mercedes-Benz's 7-speed automatic transmission, and the first 7-speed automatic transmission ever to be installed in a passenger car. And, according to the company, it can save about 6 quarts of fuel per 62 miles.

BMW's 328 roadster was introduced at the Nürburgring, when it took part in the Eifelrennen race in 1936 -- and won. It was nominated for the Car of the Century that year.

Today, some cars have disc brakes on all four wheels, while others many have drum brakes on the back wheels -- and they don't work in the same way. But you can thank Mercedes-Benz for installing them on all four wheels of a passenger car.

Some say that the BMW white and blue checker box logo is a while propeller blade against a blue sky -- and that it represents BMW's aviation roots. But according to the company, itself, it's just a coincidence. The logo is actually a symbol of the Bavarian flag, which is the country where BMW began.

This vision-guided robotic van was designed to prevent accidents, not to creep you out with it automation. Mercedes-Benz, then Daimler-Benz, built the world's first "robot car" as early as the 1980s, and even back then it was capable of going 39 mph.

The power of a diesel that runs on regular unleaded gasoline? That's what Mercedes-Benz hopes the DiesOtto engine can be -- and when it comes to performance, it'll drink about a 1.5 gallons of gasoline per 62 miles.

BMW's OHV V8 engine was different than typical engines because its block and head were constructed out of aluminum. It was used in the 502, 503, 507, and the 3200 CS models, from 1954 through 1965, and was longitudinally-mounted at 90 degrees.

Thank Mercedes-Benz for this modern-day safety feature: the airbag. When it premiered in the W 126-series S-Class Saloon at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz became the world's first automobile manufacturer to use airbags, as well as a belt tensioner, in a restraint system in its passenger cars.

BMW developed the largest aircraft piston engine ever, called the 109-003. This early axial-flow turbojet engine was in production during World War II.

When Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz were starting out during the end of the 19th century, cars were basically horse-drawn carriages fitted with a steering system. But in 1931, they introduced the 170 -- a compact car for its day, and one that was the first to have all-round independent suspension.

When it comes to keeping you safe during a collision, Volvo's often considered to have the market cornered. But Volvo wasn't actually the first to develop crumple zone technology -- Mercedes-Benz was the pioneer, and patented their system in 1951.

It's not in its home country, but, rather, it's a manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that has the second-highest production of all BMW plants -- worldwide.

Gull-wing doors open upwards, like a bird -- and to do that, they are hinged at the roof of the car rather than its side. Mercedes-Benz pioneered the gull-wing door in its 1952 300SL race car, and two years later designed a version legal for those who drive on the road, not the track.

BMW didn't only make car engines. The air-cooled 801 radial engine had two rows of seven cylinders, and was known as one of the most powerful aero engines of its time -- and popular, too, as it was fitted into German Luftwaffe aircraft during WWII.

Making more safety improvements to their fleet, and trying to keep you inside the car with the doors closed during an accident, Mercedes-Benz patented the first conical-pin door lock in 1949.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its electro-hydraulic brake system, called the Sensotronic Brake Control (SBCTM), on the R230 SL-class in 2001. It's similar to the traditional throttle-by-wire design, but if there's an onboard computer error or failure, the SBCTM automatically reverts to a hydraulic master cylinder.

It goes 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, and it's equipped with missile launchers, a near-impenetrable body, and can be controlled remotely with your smartphone. Sure, only one of those is true -- the rest is thanks to Hollywood, when the 740iL appeared in the Bond film, "Tomorrow Never Dies."

Mercedes-Benz was the first of the automakers to commit to eliminating environmentally hazardous chemicals from its cars. In 1991, the company reported being 100 percent free of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

BMW's BMW Motorsport division is responsible for the automaker's motorsport efforts. And it's the 3.0 CSL racing saloon, nicknamed the "Batmobile," that first sported the red, blue and purple team colors.

Mercedez-Benz has had a special relationship with the pope since 1930, when Daimler-Benz (at the time) gifted a Nürburg 460 to Pope Pius XI. Since then, Mercedes-Benz has supplied the Vatican and His Holiness with several limousines and passenger cars -- and since the 1970s, vehicles that can be (and are) fitted as the Popemobile.

The Mercedes-Benz W125 Rekordwagen is a fast car, now and in the 1930s when it was designed and produced. It was a one-off, with a 725-horsepower V12 engine mounted to the bottom of the car -- the W125 was made for speed. When it raced down the Autobahn in Germany in 1938, it hit 268 mph, a land-speed record on a public road that remains today.

The front grill of the BMW is known as the "kidney grill," and has been a persistent -- and recognizable -- design feature since it was introduced in 1932. Right behind it? That'd be the radiator, although you can't see it.

After WWII, BMW was banned from manufacturing motorized vehicles. And so the company, for a lack of anything else to manufacture, got by making pots and pans, and bicycles, until 1947 when it was granted permission to resume making motorcycles. In 1951, BMW again began designing and manufacturing automobiles.

Mercedes-Benz, in an effort to humanize and simplify its voice recognition system, introduced the "personal assistant" that it named "Gloria" to help with voice commands. She speaks multiple languages, knows her way around every city, and knows the forecast.

BMW's Art Car Project began in 1975, when French racecar driver Hervé Poulain invited American artist Alexander Calder to paint the BMW 3.0 CSL Poulain would drive in that year's Le Mans endurance race. Other artists, selected by an international panel, have since included Roy Lichtenstein, who painted a 320i Turbo in 1977, and Andy Warhol, who painted an M1 Group 4 in 1979.

Producing the hybrid drivetrain components used in BMW's ActiveHybrid 7 was a joint effort between BMW -- and Mercedes-Benz. And it was the BMW F01 that was the first BMW available with the hybrid drivetrain.

Today there's a friendly(?) rivalry between the two, but back in 1959, Mercedes-Benz attempted a hostile takeover of BMW, which was teetering on bankruptcy. It never happened, though, as BMW shareholders worked together to buy back as many shares as they could.

About Autoversed

Welcome to Autoversed: your online auto destination. If you consider a vehicle more than just means of transportation; if you treat your ride with love and care; if, even after years of driving, the feeling of accelerating hard on the open road still gets you revved up – you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re a daily commuter looking for a reliable ride, a car enthusiast thinking about your next hot rod, or a parent who needs to get the kids from A to Z, Autoversed has something for you. We’ve got the lowdown on hot exotic rides, pricy luxury vehicles, eco-friendly green machines, rugged off-roaders, and more. Come take a look!

Explore More Quizzes