2020 Mercedes CLS vs. 2020 Chrysler 300

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2019/11/20

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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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

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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

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CLS first among midsize premium cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The 300 was rated third 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 Chrysler vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chrysler is ranked 25th.

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 Chrysler vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chrysler is ranked 16th.

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

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The CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 70 more horsepower (362 vs. 292) and 109 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 260) than the 300’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6. The CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 62 more horsepower (362 vs. 300) and 105 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 264) than the 300S’ standard 3.6 DOHC V6.

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

CLS

300

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107 MPH

96 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2019/11/20

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

MPG

CLS

RWD

2.0 Turbo V6

24 city/31 hwy

AWD

3.0 Turbo V6

23 city/30 hwy

300

RWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

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.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes CLS higher (6 out of 10) than the Chrysler 300 (3). This means the CLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 300 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard 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

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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 much shorter than the 300:

CLS

300

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

The CLS’ standard 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’ optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the 300’s optional 45 series tires.

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

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 300’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 300 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 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.

The CLS 450 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the 300 (25.8 seconds vs. 27.2 seconds).

Chassis

© 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 2019/11/20

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.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the CLS 450 4MATIC is quieter than the 300S:

CLS

300

At idle

37 dB

39 dB

Full-Throttle

74 dB

80 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity

© 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 2019/11/20

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

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Chrysler. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 65% lower rating, Chrysler is ranked 26th.

Ergonomics

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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’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 300’s parking brake has to released manually.

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, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The 300 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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 2019/11/20

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 300 isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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