2019 Audi A8 vs. 2019 Mercedes CLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A8 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CLS doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A8. But it costs extra on the CLS.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the A8 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The CLS doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the A8 and the CLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Audi A8 weighs 496 to 617 pounds more than the Mercedes CLS. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The A8’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CLS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A8’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the CLS:

 

A8

CLS

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

14.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A8 has larger tires than the CLS (255/45R19 vs. 245/40R19).

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the A8 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the CLS, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The A8 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Mercedes doesn’t offer an active suspension on the CLS.

The A8 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The A8’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The CLS doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A8’s wheelbase is 7.4 inches longer than on the CLS (123.1 inches vs. 115.7 inches).

Passenger Space

The A8 has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.6 inches more rear headroom, 9.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the CLS.

Cargo Capacity

The A8 has a larger trunk than the CLS (12.5 vs. 11.9 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A8 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CLS doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Recommendations

The Audi A8/S8 outsold the Mercedes CLS by 32% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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