2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. Its Competition

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class 4-door Sedan 4.6L RWD Angular Front Exterior View
Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

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.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class 4-door Sedan 4.6L RWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS ClassBrowse Used Listings2012 Audi A7 4-door HB Auto quattro 3.0 Premium Plus Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi A7Browse Used Listings2012 Infiniti M56 4-door Sedan RWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 INFINITI M56Browse Used Listings2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XFBrowse Used Listings2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S2012 Porsche PanameraBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
8.4
Still a fashionista at heart, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS is cut from a more masculine pattern book these days--especially in powerful AMG trim.
9.0
The 2012 Audi A7 is a tech powerhouse and design standout, showing that hatchback practicality can indeed be sexy.
8.8
The 2012 Infiniti M56 delivers the performance of a true super-sedan, plus impressive comfort, all in a assertive but graceful design inside and out.
8.4
Scorching acceleration, nimble handling, and true luxury-car refinement complement style and fashion to swoon over in the 2012 Jaguar XF; backseat space remains its only reality check.
8.2
Bucking tradition and the ordinary, the 2012 Porsche Panamera mostly succeeds in being an excellent large fastback sedan.
MSRP From    
$71,300$59,250$59,200$53,000$75,200
Gas Mileage    
16 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy
Engine    
Gas V8Supercharged Gas V6Gas V8Gas V8Gas V6
EPA Class    
CompactMidsize CarsMidsize CarsMidsize CarLarge Car
Style Name    
4-Door Sedan CLS 550 RWD4-Door HB quattro 3.0 Prestige56 4-Door Sedan RWD4-Door Sedan4-Door HB
Drivetrain    
Rear Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
44554
Passenger Doors    
N/A4N/AN/AN/A
Body Style    
4 Door SedanSedanSedan4 Door SedanHatchback
Transmission    
AutomaticAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomaticAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/Manual Shift