2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. Its Competition

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class 4-door Sedan 4.6L RWD Angular Front Exterior View
Martin Padgett Martin 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 Class
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2012 Audi A7 4-door HB Auto quattro 3.0 Premium Plus Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi A7
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2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF
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2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S2012 Porsche Panamera
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Quick Specs
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.
The 2012 Audi A7 is a tech powerhouse and design standout, showing that hatchback practicality can indeed be sexy.
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.
Bucking tradition and the ordinary, the 2012 Porsche Panamera mostly succeeds in being an excellent large fastback sedan.
MSRP From   
Gas Mileage   
16 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy
Gas V8Supercharged Gas V6Gas V8Gas V6
EPA Class   
CompactMidsize CarsMidsize CarLarge Car
Style Name   
4-Door Sedan CLS 550 RWD4-Door HB quattro 3.0 Premium4-Door Sedan4-Door HB
Rear Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity   
Passenger Doors   
Body Style   
4 Door SedanSedan4 Door SedanHatchback
AutomaticAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/Manual Shift
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. 2012 Audi A72012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. 2012 Jaguar XF2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class vs. 2012 Porsche Panamera