For those looking for a more practical luxury car that still maintains that exciting, sporty coupe appearance, the Mercedes-Benz CLS and BMW 6 Series both fit the bill. Still classified as coupes, these cars offer a sedan-like feel with 4 doors and more cargo space than your typical coupe. Wondering which one would be the better choice for you? Read on for our in-depth review.
Exterior and Styling
The 6 Series remains basically the same on the outside with its design that’s inspired by flowing water. A wide flowing line starts at the chrome-plated kidney grille and extends over the bonnet, then over the roof to the rear. The sides feature distinctive flowing creases as well. Focused LED lights add to the striking look of the vehicle up front. The CLS, on the other hand, has a slightly revised design for 2015, showing plenty of bling up front with its diamond grille complemented by high-performance LED headlights. Like the 6 Series, the CLS has a typical coupe roofline and similar distinctive lines running along the sides.
Interior and Comfort
As you would expect from a luxury Mercedes-Benz, the interior of the CLS is made of high-quality materials and it’s design offers a pleasing ambiance. Comfort is outstanding once seated, especially up front where the heated and ventilated leather seats feature 4 different massage settings in addition to dynamic bolstering. The CLS impresses in the technology department as well with its 8.4-inch display with COMAND interface and surround-view camera. The downside here though is that although once you get in the back seat there is adequate head and leg room, it’s difficult to actually get into the back due to the low and deep position of the seats.
While the CLS seats 4, the 6 Series can actually fit 5, although the middle passenger will have to deal with a console tunnel rising from the floor. Leg room is adequate here as well, particularly in the Gran model which has a slightly longer wheel base. Materials in the 6 Series are high-quality too, and the Gran features a whopping 10.2″ display screen with its intuitive iDrive system. Both models offer plenty of storage and boot space throughout for a coupe, but their raked rooflines do limit visibility.
Under the Bonnet
When compared to the BMW 640i petrol model, the CLS 500 model has the more powerful engine, generating 300 kW compared the 235 kW. That translates to an acceleration time that’s 0.5 seconds faster from 0-100 Km than the 640i’s time of 5.4 seconds. However, the 500’s V8 is thirstier than the 640i, consuming a liter more (8.9 L) per 100 Km. Going up to the most expensive models, you’ll find a similar story.
On the Road
The CLS also one-ups the BMW’s transmission with 9 gears compared to 8; however, the gears can be slow to transition from a full stop. There are 3 different driving modes, but we find that the Eco mode offers the most efficient transitions. Along with the air suspension, precise steering makes for a very pleasant ride overall. The 6 Series tends to be bumpy and even less impressive than the Mercedes-Benz at lower speeds, but offers smooth gear transitions overall. Like the CLS, it’s steering is precise and provides an engaging ride.
As mentioned, the CLS has a 360-degree camera. Other impressive safety features include proximity control with STEER CONTROL, ATTENTION ASSIST system, and lane-keep and blind-spot assist. The BMW also has lane-keep assist, blind-spot assist, and a surround-view camera. Some of its other features include Adaptive Drive and Head-Up Display.
Value and Verdict
Starting at $169,900, the 500 Mercedes-Benz CLS price tag is nearly $15,000 cheaper than the cheapest 6 Series 4-door coupe. At the top end, the BMW 650i V12 is about $3,000 cheaper than the $249,900 CLS63. Overall, we like the CLS better because it has more features for the price and a slightly better ride than the 6 Series.