2020 Mercedes CLS vs. 2020 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 RLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the CLS and the RLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 41 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the CLS’ warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the CLS first among midsize premium cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The RLX isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Engine

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The CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 52 more horsepower (362 vs. 310) and 97 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 272) than the RLX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 341) than the RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The CLS has 6 gallons more fuel capacity than the RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 15.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The CLS has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the RLX’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 18.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

CLS

RLX

RLX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12.3 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

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

The CLS stops shorter than the RLX:

CLS

RLX

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction and acceleration, the CLS has larger rear tires than the RLX (275/35R19 vs. 245/40R19).

The CLS’ standard 275/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RLX’s standard 40 series tires. The CLS’ optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the RLX’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CLS offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RLX’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

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 RLX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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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 RLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The CLS has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The CLS’ 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 RLX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

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 RLX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CLS’ wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the RLX (115.7 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

The CLS’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (53.9% to 46.1%) than the RLX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the CLS more stable handling and braking.

The CLS 450 4MATIC handles at .90 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CLS 450 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the RLX (25.8 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CLS’ turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the RLX’s (38.1 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Cargo Capacity

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The CLS’ standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RLX doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

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 RLX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the CLS is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the RLX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 4% lower rating, Acura is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RLX, 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 power windows standard on both the CLS and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the CLS is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the CLS offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The CLS also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes CLS offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The RLX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 RLX 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, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The RLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/11

The CLS will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the CLS will retain 34.84% to 35.09% of its original price after five years, while the RLX only retains 32.48% to 33.89%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/11

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CLS second among midsize premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The RLX isn’t in the top three in its category.

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