2019 Mercedes CLS vs. 2019 Audi A8

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CLS’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A8 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The CLS has standard Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The A8 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CLS and the A8 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 all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the CLS’ warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The CLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 27 more horsepower (362 vs. 335) than the A8’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid. The AMG CLS 53’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 94 more horsepower (429 vs. 335) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 369) than the A8’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is available on the Mercedes CLS, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the A8.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction and acceleration, the CLS has larger rear tires than the A8 (275/35R19 vs. 255/45R19).

The CLS’ 245/40R19 front and 275/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A8’s standard 45 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the CLS can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A8 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CLS’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The A8 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the CLS’ turning circle is 3.1 feet tighter than the A8’s (39.1 feet vs. 42.2 feet).

Chassis

The Mercedes CLS may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 600 pounds less than the Audi A8.

The CLS is 12 inches shorter than the A8, making the CLS easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The CLS’ standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The A8 doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Ergonomics

The CLS has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A8 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The CLS’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The CLS is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The A8 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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

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