2020 Porsche Panamera vs. 2020 Mercedes CLS

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 2020/01/18

The Panamera offers available whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The CLS doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the Panamera helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard and even aims one of the vehicle’s headlights in the direction of the person or object. The CLS doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Panamera and the CLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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 crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

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The Panamera’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CLS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Porsche fourth in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Panamera 4S’ standard 2.9 turbo V6 produces 78 more horsepower (440 vs. 362) and 36 lbs.-ft. more torque (405 vs. 369) than the CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid. The Panamera GTS’ standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 91 more horsepower (453 vs. 362) and 88 lbs.-ft. more torque (457 vs. 369) than the CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid’s standard 2.9 turbo V6 hybrid produces 95 more horsepower (457 vs. 362) and 147 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 369) than the CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 315 more horsepower (677 vs. 362) and 257 lbs.-ft. more torque (626 vs. 369) than the CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Panamera 4S is faster than the Mercedes CLS 450:

Panamera

CLS

Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

12.3 sec

13.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111.3 MPH

103.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/01/18

On the EPA test cycle the Panamera E-Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the CLS:

MPGe

Panamera E-Hybrid

AWD

2.9 turbo V6 Hybrid

48 city/54 hwy

4.0 turbo V8 Hybrid

46 city/51 hwy

MPG

CLS

RWD

3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

24 city/31 hwy

AWD

3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

23 city/30 hwy

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 14 miles. The CLS must run its internal combustion engine to move.

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Panamera Turbo/GTS’ fuel efficiency. The CLS doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Panamera’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the CLS (23.7 vs. 21.1 gallons).

Transmission

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The Panamera offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The CLS doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The Panamera’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The CLS doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Panamera 4S

Panamera E-Hybrid/GTS

Panamera Turbo

Panamera opt.

CLS

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

15.4 inches

16.1 inches

16.5 inches

14.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

14.4 inches

15 inches

16.1 inches

14.2 inches

The Panamera offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The CLS doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The Panamera stops much shorter than the CLS:

Panamera

CLS

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

101 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Panamera has larger standard tires than the CLS (F:265/45R19 & R:295/40R19 vs. F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19). The Panamera’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CLS (F:275/40R20 & R:315/35R20 vs. F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Panamera offers optional 21-inch wheels. The CLS’ largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The Panamera offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The CLS doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The Panamera offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Mercedes doesn’t offer an active suspension on the CLS.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Panamera’s wheelbase is .4 inches longer than on the CLS (116.1 inches vs. 115.7 inches). The Panamera Executive’s wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer than on the CLS (122 inches vs. 115.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Panamera is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than the track on the CLS.

The Panamera 4S handles at 1.01 G’s, while the CLS 450 4MATIC pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Panamera Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the CLS 450 4MATIC (23.9 seconds @ .86 average G’s vs. 25.8 seconds @ .72 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Panamera w/Rear Axle Steering’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the CLS’ (37.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Panamera uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CLS doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Panamera offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The CLS doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Panamera 4dr Hatchback a Large car, while the CLS is rated a Compact.

The Panamera has 15 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CLS (108 vs. 93).

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Panamera’s available rear seats recline. The CLS’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Panamera has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the CLS (17.6 vs. 11.9 cubic feet).

The Panamera Sport Turismo has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the CLS (18.3 vs. 11.9 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Panamera’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The CLS doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Porsche service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

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The Panamera’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The CLS does not have an oil pressure gauge.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Panamera offers an optional rear wiper. The CLS doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Panamera offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CLS doesn’t offer headlight washers.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the Panamera (except Sport Turismo) and power rear side window sunshades are optional in the Panamera to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The CLS doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

Both the Panamera and the CLS have standard heated front seats. The Panamera also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the CLS.

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

Both the Panamera and the CLS offer optional massaging front seats. The Panamera also offers optional massaging rear seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging rear seats aren’t available in the CLS.

Model Availability

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The Porsche Panamera comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Mercedes CLS isn’t available as a station wagon.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/01/18

The Porsche Panamera outsold the Mercedes CLS by almost 8 to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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