2019 Mercedes CLS vs. 2019 Chrysler 300

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CLS’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 300 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The CLS offers an optional Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 300 only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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 300 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the CLS and the 300 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The CLS comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 300’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The CLS’ 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the 300 runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the CLS have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the 300.

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 Chrysler vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chrysler is ranked 26th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Chrysler vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 64 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chrysler is ranked 31st.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Chrysler vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 7 places higher in reliability than Chrysler.

Engine

The CLS has more powerful engines than the 300:

 

Horsepower

Torque

CLS 450 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

AMG CLS 53 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

429 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

300 3.6 DOHC V6

292 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

300S 3.6 DOHC V6

300 HP

264 lbs.-ft.

300 5.7 V8

363 HP

394 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the CLS 450 is faster than the Chrysler 300 V6:

 

CLS

300

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107 MPH

96 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CLS gets better fuel mileage than the 300:

 

 

CLS

300

 

RWD

450/Auto

24 city/31 hwy

19 city/30 hwy

V6/Auto

 

 

n/a

16 city/25 hwy

V8/Auto

AWD

450/Auto

23 city/30 hwy

18 city/27 hwy

V6/Auto

 

AMG 53/Auto

21 city/27 hwy

n/a

 

Regenerative brakes improve the CLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 300 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the CLS’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 300 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The CLS has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 300 (21.1 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 300.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the 300:

 

CLS

300

300 V8/AWD

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

12.6 inches

12.6 inches

The CLS’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the 300 are solid, not vented.

The CLS stops shorter than the 300:

 

CLS

300

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CLS has larger tires than the 300 (F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. 215/65R17).

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 300 Touring’s standard 65 series tires. The CLS’ tires are lower profile than the 300S/300C/Limited’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CLS 450 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 300 Touring.

Suspension and Handling

The CLS offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 300’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 300 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The CLS 450 4MATIC handles at .93 G’s, while the 300 Limited pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The design of the Mercedes CLS amounts to more than styling. The CLS has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is significantly lower than the 300 (.32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the CLS get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the CLS offers cargo security. The 300’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the CLS’ power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The 300 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Chrysler. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 80% lower rating, Chrysler is ranked 26th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the 300 (except Touring/Touring L), the CLS has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The CLS’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the 300, and is not available on all models.

The CLS offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The 300 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CLS’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The 300’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the CLS the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 300 can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The CLS’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 300’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The CLS offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 300 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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 300 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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