The CLS carved out a new luxury niche when it was new in 2005, but haters don't just hate--they copycat, too.
Audi is new to the game this year with the luscious A7; it's a sexy hatchback with nifty Google Earth mapping, and a high sticker price to go with its supercharged six-cylinder, all-wheel-drive mechanicals.
The Infiniti M56 rivals the CLS' lush interior and looks; handling's tuned a notch above the CLS 550, but there's no spicy version, just a green Hybrid model.
For scalding performance, look no further than the glitzy Jaguar XFR and its supercharged V-8, but be prepared for the same skimpy back seat as with the CLS.
Just slightly afield of the Benz coupe-like sedan is the Cadillac CTS-V, a smaller machine with 556 horsepower and some of the best track times in the business.
And while we're at it, we'd cross-shop a Porsche Panamera, a more pricey competitor with far better back-seat room, and the roofline to show why it's not always a good idea to give people exactly what they want.
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|2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS ClassBrowse Used Listings||2012 Audi A7Browse Used Listings||2012 INFINITI M56Browse Used Listings||2012 Jaguar XFBrowse Used Listings||2012 Porsche PanameraBrowse Used Listings|
|16 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy|
|Gas V8||Supercharged Gas V6||Gas V8||Gas V8||Gas V6|
|Compact||Midsize Cars||Midsize Cars||Midsize Car||Large Car|
|4-Door Sedan CLS 550 RWD||4-Door HB quattro 3.0 Prestige||56 4-Door Sedan RWD||4-Door Sedan||4-Door HB|
|Rear Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Sedan||Sedan||Sedan||4 Door Sedan||Hatchback|
|Automatic||Automatic w/Manual Shift||Automatic||Automatic w/Manual Shift||Automatic w/Manual Shift|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. 2012 Audi A7||2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. 2012 INFINITI M56||2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. 2012 Jaguar XF||2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. 2012 Porsche Panamera|