There are many luxury cars out there, but few offer the highest levels of luxury in muscle-car form. Two powerhouses that offer this combination of exceptional power and luxury are BMW’s M5 and the CLS63 AMG S from Mercedes-Benz. We have the details about how each of these new models looks, feels, and performs, so read on to find out which luxury muscle car is the best choice.
Exterior and Styling
The M5 sports a redesigned double kidney grille. Distinctive lines run from the side to the back to provide a muscular, athletic look. Along with a spoiler, there are twin chrome tailpipes on the back. 20-inch alloy wheels are an inch bigger than the CLS63’s wheels and add to the intimidating presence this sedan exudes. Up front, the CLS63 features a silver-chrome finish on its radiator grille, and the front apron has an A-wing design with a silver-chrome trim strip. From front to back, the bold lines give this car a muscular, swooping effect, and the back also has twin chrome tailpipes along with an attractive spoiler lip.
Interior and Comfort
Inside, we find that these sedans are fairly evenly matched. Both offer comfortable sports seats wrapped in high-quality leather. The steering wheel in the CLS feels a bit nicer to the touch due to its faux suede hand grips. Frameless doors with high sills and a lower roofline give the CLS a more intimate feel, although limiting vision as well as rear headroom. Though it has the more exciting, race-car-like feel and the new model looks more modern, the Mercedes-Benz has the more conservative-looking dash compare to the BMW, which looks more high-tech and features a display that’s nearly 2 inches bigger than the CLS’s. The M5 also has a brighter interior and offers slightly more space in the rear.
Under the Hood
Despite having an engine that’s over a litre larger than the M5 that generates 120 Nm (800 Nm) more torque and 7 kW (430 kW) more power, the CLS has an identical 4.2-second acceleration time from 0-100 Km/hr compared to the M5. The M5 is slightly more fuel efficient than the CLS also, consuming 9.9 L / 100 Km compared to 10.0. That being said though, the CLS may have the slight advantage in this department due to it’s natural-sounding V8 exhaust and more aggressive feel at low speeds. Both transmissions seven-speed automatics that offer smooth transitions even at slower speeds.
On the Road
The M5’s various gear, steering, suspension, and stability control settings make it a versatile vehicle that’s equally adept at casually driving around town or handling corners at high speeds. It’s a true muscle car in the sense that the traction control wanes when accelerating quickly. You might assume that 20-inch wheels would lead to a bumpier ride, but this isn’t the case, as the M5 absorbs road imperfections extremely well. Likewise, the CLS63 offers various gearbox, suspension, and stability settings and has a smoother side to its powerful demeanor. Beyond that, it offers more natural steering that’s not quite as sharp at high speeds, and its also smoother than the M5 on city roads, giving it a slight edge in this category.
Both vehicles are loaded with safety features. The M5’s high-tech features include BMW Night Vision, high-beam assist, Head-Up Display, Attentiveness Assistant, and a 270-degree camera panoramic camera. The CLS counters with a full 360-degree camera along with other features such as ATTENTION ASSIST, proximity control with STEER CONTROL, and PRE-SAFE system.
Value and Verdict
At a starting price tag of $229,900, the M5 offers a more affordable point of entry than the CLS63 to the tune of roughly $30,000. If you’re more of a technie, you might prefer the M5. However, if an extra $30,000 isn’t an issue for you, we recommend the CLS63 AMG S because of its slightly more refined interior and better on-the-road driving experience.