Embraer Legacy 500 Versus the World

Embraer Legacy 500 Versus the World

With the Embraer Legacy 500 skirting the line between traditional midsize jets and super-midsize models, our look at the Legacy 500's competitors focuses on those larger airplanes, with a peek at one traditional midsize model too. Indeed, when you look at the cabin size of the 500, its safety technologies, its cabin amenities and its New York to San Francisco range, it's clear that, with the 500, Embraer is looking to capture some of the market of these more expensive airplanes, especially for customers for whom 3,125 nm is enough range.

Cessna Sovereign+: At $17.9 million, the Cessna midsize jet is a close competitor of the Legacy 500. With a newly redesigned interior, the Cessna jet's cabin is better and more technologically advanced than ever, but it's not quite as big or comfortable as the Legacy's, and the 6-foot cabin of the Brazilian jet provides several inches more headroom. The newly redesigned flight deck of the Sovereign+, with the Garmin G5000 suite with autothrottles, rivals the Pro Line Fusion in the Legacy, and its range figures are nearly identical.

Gulfstream G280: At $24 million Gulfstream's super-midsize is more airplane than the Legacy 500 and costs about $5 million more as well. The G280 has more range, a remarkable cabin — its center "aisle" is more like a boulevard than an alley — and world-class styling that make the additional investment seem worthwhile. Still, it is not a fly-by-wire aircraft, though it is very technologically advanced, with autobraking, available head-up display and more. It speaks volumes about the Legacy 500 that it in any way rivals such an impressive airplane.

Learjet 85: With the airplane in flight test, Bombardier has been moving the Lear 85 program forward, it says, but it has not committed to a certification timetable. The $21 million jet has comparable performance to the 500's, with a 49,000-foot ceiling, slightly less range, slightly slower speed and a slightly smaller cabin. Like the Legacy, the Lear sports the Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck, with autothrottles and more. Though whether it will be a true contender is yet to be seen as Bombardier has halted its Learjet 85 development program.

Bombardier Challenger 350: The popular Challenger 350 goes for around $26 million and features surprisingly similar performance to the Legacy 500's, though at a higher price tag. The Legacy has a slightly wider cabin, though the Challenger's is an inch higher. Like the 500, the Challenger 350 has much natural light and great baggage capacity. The Legacy 500 has more advanced technologies. The Bombardier product features the fine Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite, a cockpit a generation older than the Fusion suite in the Legacy 500.

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