2020 Mercedes CLS vs. 2020 Volvo S90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the CLS and the S90 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, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 28 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Volvo 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 S90 isn’t in the top three.

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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th.

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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 70 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 12 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

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The CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 46 more horsepower (362 vs. 316) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 295) than the S90 T6’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mercedes CLS is faster than the S90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.:

CLS

S90

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.3 sec

13.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

14.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107 MPH

101 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The CLS has 7.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The CLS has 5.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T6’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 15.9 gallons).

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 S90.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the CLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the S90:

CLS

S90 T5

S90 T6/T8

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction and acceleration, the CLS has larger rear tires than the S90 (275/35R19 vs. 245/45R18). The CLS’ rear tires are larger than the largest rear tires available on the S90 (275/35R19 vs. 255/35R20).

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 S90’s standard 45 series tires. The CLS’ optional 275/30R20 rear tires have a lower 30 series profile than the S90’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CLS has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the S90.

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 S90 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the CLS uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S90, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

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 S90 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 S90 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The CLS 450 4MATIC handles at .93 G’s, while the S90 T6 Momentum pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CLS 450 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S90 T6 Inscription (25.8 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CLS’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the S90 18” wheels’ (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The CLS’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the S90 19” wheels’ (38.1 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The CLS is 3.7 inches shorter than the S90, making the CLS easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Mercedes CLS amounts to more than styling. The CLS has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the S90 (.28 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the CLS get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The CLS has .3 inches more front shoulder room and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the S90.

Cargo Capacity

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The CLS’ standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S90 Luxury Package doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the CLS is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the S90. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the CLS to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Volvo doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the S90.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 30% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The CLS’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S90 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 S90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The CLS’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The S90’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The CLS is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S90 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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 2019/11/21

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 S90 isn’t in the top three.

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