2019 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo vs. 2019 Mercedes CLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the 6 Series Gran Turismo. But it costs extra on the CLS.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 6 Series Gran Turismo 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 6 Series Gran Turismo and the CLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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 and available around view monitors.

Warranty

The 6 Series Gran Turismo’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CLS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 6 Series Gran Turismo 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.

Reliability

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.

Tires and Wheels

The 6 Series Gran Turismo’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 6 Series Gran Turismo has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CLS’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 6 Series Gran Turismo offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The CLS doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The rear suspension of the 6 Series Gran Turismo 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 6 Series Gran Turismo 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 6 Series Gran Turismo has a standard automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The CLS doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 6 Series Gran Turismo’s wheelbase is 5.2 inches longer than on the CLS (120.9 inches vs. 115.7 inches).

The 6 Series Gran Turismo’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.9% to 49.1%) than the CLS’ (53.9% to 46.1%). This gives the 6 Series Gran Turismo more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

The front grille of the 6 Series Gran Turismo 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.

Passenger Space

The 6 Series Gran Turismo has 2.5 inches more front headroom, 2.2 inches more front shoulder room, 2.6 inches more rear headroom, 5.4 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the CLS.

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 6 Series Gran Turismo has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CLS doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Model Availability

The BMW 6 Series comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Mercedes CLS isn’t available as a four-door hatchback.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 6 Series Gran Turismo owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 6 Series Gran Turismo will cost $1375 to $4200 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 6 Series Gran Turismo will be $6728 to $32602 less than for the Mercedes CLS.

Recommendations

The BMW 6 Series outsold the Mercedes CLS by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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