2019 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2019 Mercedes CLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The 5 Series Sedan has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply 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.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 5 Series Sedan 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 5 Series Sedan and the CLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 5 Series Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CLS has not been tested, yet.


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

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 5 Series Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CLS.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 9 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.


The M550i’s 4.4 turbo V8 produces 26 more horsepower (455 vs. 429) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (480 vs. 384) than the AMG CLS 53’s optional 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the M550i 4.4 turbo V8 is faster than the AMG CLS 53:


5 Series Sedan


Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

4.1 sec

Quarter Mile

12.3 sec

12.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

114.7 MPH

109 MPH


The 5 Series Sedan’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The CLS doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M550i’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the CLS:




Front Rotors

14.7 inches

14.2 inches

The 5 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the CLS:


5 Series Sedan



60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CLS’ 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 5 Series Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CLS’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 5 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the CLS (117.1 inches vs. 115.7 inches).

The M550i xDrive handles at .92 G’s, while the CLS 450 4MATIC pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the CLS 450 4MATIC (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 25.8 seconds @ .72 average G’s).


The BMW 5 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the Mercedes CLS.

The front grille of the 5 Series Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CLS doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 540i is quieter than the CLS 450 4MATIC:


5 Series Sedan



68 dB

74 dB

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 5 Series Sedan a Mid-size car, while the CLS is rated a Compact.

The 5 Series Sedan has 5.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CLS (98.8 vs. 93).

The 5 Series Sedan has 1.9 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom and 1.5 inches more rear legroom than the CLS.

Cargo Capacity

The 5 Series Sedan has a much larger trunk than the CLS (18.7 vs. 11.9 cubic feet).

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 5 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 5 Series Sedan will cost $2255 to $8735 less than the CLS over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 5 Series Sedan will be $28828 to $31619 less than for the Mercedes CLS.


Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 5 Series Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The BMW 5 Series outsold the Mercedes CLS by almost 47 to one during 2018.

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

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