2020 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2020 Chrysler 300

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/02/24

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Chrysler 300 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S-Class’ 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 rear seatbelts optional on the S-Class inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The 300 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the S-Class helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The 300 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The S-Class 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 S-Class’ 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 S-Class 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 and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The S-Class 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.

Reliability

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

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.

Engine

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The S-Class has more powerful engines than the 300:

Horsepower

Torque

S 450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

S 560 4.0 turbo V8

463 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

Maybach S 650 6.0 turbo V12

621 HP

738 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 Motor Trend the S 560 is faster than the Chrysler 300:

S-Class

300S V6

300 V8

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

6.4 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

14.9 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107.7 MPH

97.1 MPH

n/a

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the S-Class Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the 300:

MPG

S-Class Sedan

RWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/28 hwy

560 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/27 hwy

300

RWD

5.7 OHV V8

16 city/25 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S-Class’ 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 S-Class V6/V8’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 300 (21.1 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The S-Class V12’s standard fuel tank has 6.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 300 (24.6 vs. 18.5 gallons).

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is available on the Mercedes S-Class, 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 S-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the 300:

S 450/560

S 650

300

300 V8/AWD

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

15.4 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

14.2 inches

12.6 inches

12.6 inches

The S-Class’ 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 S-Class stops shorter than the 300:

S-Class

300

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S-Class has larger standard tires than the 300 (245/50R18 vs. 215/65R17).

The S-Class’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 300 Touring’s standard 65 series tires. The S-Class’ optional 245/40R20 front and 275/35R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the 300’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S-Class has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 300 Touring.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the 300, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The S-Class offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Chrysler doesn’t offer an active suspension on the 300.

The S-Class has a standard 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 S-Class has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The 300 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The S-Class’ 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 4.6 inches longer than on the 300 (124.6 inches vs. 120 inches). The Maybach S-Class’ wheelbase is 12.5 inches longer than on the 300 (132.5 inches vs. 120 inches).

The S 600 handles at .90 G’s, while the 300 pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S 600 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the 300 (25.8 seconds vs. 27.2 seconds).

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the S-Class has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The 300 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the S 560 is quieter than the 300S:

S-Class

300

Full-Throttle

75 dB

80 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space

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The S-Class has 5.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 300 (112 vs. 106.3).

The S-Class has 1.1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front shoulder room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the 300.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the S-Class’ available rear seats recline. The 300’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The S-Class has a much larger trunk than the 300 (18.7 vs. 16.3 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S-Class easier. The S-Class’ trunk lift-over height is 27.4 inches, while the 300’s liftover is 30.1 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the S-Class 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 S-Class’ 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 S-Class 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 S-Class’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, 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 S-Class 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 S-Class’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 300’s parking brake has to released manually.

The S-Class’ 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 S-Class 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 S-Class’ power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The 300’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The S-Class’ 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.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the S-Class to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The 300 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

Optional air conditioned front and rear seats keep the S-Class’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The 300 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The S-Class offers optional massaging front and rear seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the 300.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes S-Class has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console and one for the rear passengers. Wireless charging costs extra on the 300.

The S-Class has a 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 S-Class’ 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.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes S-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Chrysler 300 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S-Class is less expensive to operate than the 300 because typical repairs cost much less on the S-Class than the 300, including $275 less for a muffler, $116 less for front struts and $353 less for a timing belt/chain.

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