By on May 15, 2015

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

With a broader product portfolio and extra decades of established premium status in the United States, Mercedes-Benz USA sells a lot more vehicles than Audi USA. Through the first four months of 2015, Mercedes-Benz sales were up 9% to 107,344, excluding Sprinter. Audi, globally favored, was up 12% to 56,925.

But again, the comparisons are difficult to make because the lineups simply don’t, well, line up. We’ve discussed the CLA and A3 before, but even there, Audi is offering different bodystyles under one banner, which Mercedes-Benz does not. The S-Class has a significantly higher base price than the A8. The E-Class is available as a sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible – the A6 is sedan only. The GL is significantly pricier than the Q7; the Q7 offers more seats than the ML. The C-Class is new; we might as well wait for a new A4 to draw realistic comparisons. The SLK is a hardtop convertible; the TT is either coupe or convertible.

You get the idea. Only in a handful of zones do the two brands offer truly direct rivals. GLA vs. Q3, GLK vs. Q5, and the matter at hand, Mercedes-Benz CLS vs. Audi A7.

The CLS is a swoopier E-Class, in a sense, just as the A7 is the more style-centric A6. The CLS starts at $65,990, offerings more performance at $73,200, and is just plain crazy as a $106,550 CLS 63 AMG S 4Matic. The Audi A7 starts at $68,300, rises to $82,900 as an S7, and begins its RS7 scheme at $108,900. Similar.

2015 Audi S7

They are two German mid-rung offshoots with six, eight, or overwhelming eight-cylinder power. There’s very little to separate the two.

Yet the Audi A7 consistently outsells the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

The margins are slim, but sufficient so as to be noticeable.

Audi USA sold 6,270 A7s in 2011, the A7’s first (abbreviated) year of sales. Mercedes-Benz USA, having already sold 44,389 CLS sedans in the six years before the A7’s launch, achieved a 165% year-over-year sales increase in 2011, but fell 605 sales shy of the Audi despite having an extra three months in which to sell.

The A7 outsold the CLS by 533 units in the Audi’s first full year of 2012. A7 sales then slipped 1% to 8,483 in 2013, still enough to outsell the CLS (down 0.4%) by 451 units in 2013.

Last year, A7 sales dropped 4% to 8,133 units, but the CLS’s 13% decline made an 1,152-unit victory possible for the Audi.

And through the first four months of 2015, the A7 is ahead by a scant 34 units with 1,835 year-to-date sales.

What makes the A7 so capable of staying ahead of the Benz? Both cars have had recent supply constraints that caused U.S. volume to drag: CLS sales were down 61% through the fourth-quarter of 2014; A7 sales are down 36% over the last six months. But even in those strange circumstances, the A7 stays just ahead. The Audi has outsold the Benz in 31 of the 49 months in which the Audi has been available.

Audi A7 hatchback

Could it be the tailgate?

Sure, the A7 and CLS line up head-to-head in so many ways. But Audi builds the A7 as a hatchback.

Moreover, Audi builds a diesel version of that hatchback.

Yes, America, the diesel hatchback outsells the sedan that they call a coupe. In a manner of speaking.

Audi A7 hatchback 2

Of course the diesel isn’t all that common. Only 13% of the A7s, S7s, and RS7s currently listed by Cars.com’s inventory are fitted with the V6 diesel. But that, in concert with the fact that the A7 offers 60% more cargo capacity, may be all that’s needed.

After all, the A7 is only just barely pipping the CLS on the TTAC sales-o-meter.

Where’s the CLS350d Shooting Brake when you need it?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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66 Comments on “Audi A7 vs. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – Which One Wins The U.S. Sales Race?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The A7 looks 200% better than the CLS, and I bet when optioned similarly is always a little bit less expensive. The A7 is also the only nice looking sedan Audi currently makes, as the rest of them all look exactly the same.

    Now I want Audi branded luggage.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Agree that the A7 is better looking than the CLS…disagree that it’s “the only nice looking sedan Audi currently makes.”

      Just because you think they all look exactly the same doesn’t mean they don’t look good. I think they all look good.

      Agree with Mr. Cain about the hatchback – that’s a huge advantage that turns the practicality hit the CLS takes relative to the E-Class sedan into a practicality advantage for the A7, relative to the A6.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      It’s incentives that make the CLS much cheaper out the door. (To the tune of $2-300 a month, when I cross-shopped them.)

      And it’s the interior of the E/CLS that really does it in. It looks and feels incredibly dated.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I believe that – in my mind that E-Class has just been revised and not “done over” since 2003. Be that true or false, I’m not sure.

        I’m also noticing quite a few 2010+ E-Classes which look very tired already around here. They don’t seem to age well.

        • 0 avatar
          Ion

          The 03 would be a different platform the w211. Personally I like the current w212, but a 211 feels like an w220!s-class lite while a 212 seems like a w204 c-class plus. It doesn’t help that the new c comes off as a mini s

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      and +1 for the hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      LUNDQIK

      This, agree on both counts – looks of the A7 and its relation to the rest of the Audi line.

      Funny thing is the A7 is really just an A6 with a chopped roof. So yea, compared to the CLS its a winner functionally, but when compared to the A6 its more money for the same powertrain with less room. But damn it does look better than every other Audi out there – most cars too. It will age well.

      Audi still has that understated luxury vibe to it. At least when compared to the likes of Mercedes and BMW – which have gone all wacky look at me styling, for the up and coming leasee.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      There is nothing wrong with same sausage different lengths when it is some really tasty sausage. I really want to like Audis because I really like the way they look, but they just don’t drive quite as nicely as BMWs, I don’t like their ergonomics as much, I have no use for AWD, no wagon currently, and almost no stickshifts. So no sale to krhodes1.

      Of this pair, it would be the Audi every day and twice on Sunday. Better looking, better priced, and a fifth door.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      Agreed, the A7 just looks better – or it appeals more to me inside and out than the CLS.

      When the first CLS came out, I sat in one and banged my head trying to get in the back seat. I thought to myself, this will never work. Now we have CLS, A7, 4 door 6 Series. I still bang my head trying to get in and out of them all.

      In my eyes, the A7 looks the best, followed by the BMW 6, followed by the CLS.

      Ironically, I do not like the A6 at all but do like the 5 Series (own one) and E Class.

      One size up, I like all of them – the A8 leading the pack. Ownership – I will not ever own another Audi.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        A7 was a very smart move for Audi. It’s essentially a jazzed-up A6 with a higher price that sells like hotcakes.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The A7 looks better than the CLS, but at the same time, looks better than the A6 and doesn’t compromise rear head-room as much as the CLS.

          Many prospective A6 buyers look at the A7 and decide that they’re getting the A7.

          Most prospective E Class buyers (of which there are a lot more than A6 buyers) just stick to the E Class (CLS not being practical due to its roofline).

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      100% disagree, but I think I’m the only person who thinks the 2G CLS looks gorgeous, and 1G is ugly and has the side profile of a banana.

      For me, if I was buying E class vs. CLS, I’d go CLS (budget aside) and A/S7 vs. A/S6 I’d take the A/S6 every time. Something about the A/S7 rear end is just ugly to me.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        It is kind of droopy.

      • 0 avatar
        JayhawkInMA

        I agree. I think you are the only one that thinks that way.

        I just saw a 1G CLS today–side profile in a parking lot. It’s been a while so I literally just stopped my car in the parking car and stared for a few seconds. A truly beautiful car all around, except for the front grille.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the CLS more than the A7, but the Audi is more practical and spacious.

      They really need to show the numbers behind the P85D vs. the CLS AMG vs. the RS7.

    • 0 avatar
      mdpdmd22

      I don’t get what you guy’s are looking at. The CLS and the A7 are both beautiful vehicles. I really can’t say one looks way better than the other. Personally, I think the CLS has a little better look. I love the grill. I’m sick of hearing about the back set and the nav system. If you need a large back seat, DON’T BUY A CLS! The Mercedes nav screen is very functional It’s large and has great graphics. Who cares if it folds away when you shut off the car. When you are driving it’s going to be up anyway. I do believe the interior is far superior on the CLS. Very well made and luxurious. I just finished a 90 day decision between both cars and they were so close in so many ways. The difference for me was the interior and the lease price. The MB was $7000 more as equipped and $100 a month less in the lease payment. I have had it 2 weeks and it’s amazing. The distronic cruise control was important to me and Audi wasn’t there yet in that technology.

  • avatar

    The S7 and RS7 are available with the TDI engine?

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      I think only the S6/S7, and then only in Europe; I’ve also heard they’re going to be rebranding them as the A6/A7 again shortly. I’ve also heard talk of the electrically assisted tri-turbo diesel going into an RS, but I think that’s all speculation.

    • 0 avatar
      Johannes Dutch

      No, S and RS Audi models always have gasoline engines.

      The Audi A7 is available with the 3.0 TDI and with the 3.0 TDI Biturbo engine. The latter has quattro standard, FWD alone could never handle the torque of the Biturbo properly.
      (480 ft-lb @ 1,400-2,800 rpm)

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The recent update to the CLS interior is really awkward, with the screen grafted on top of the center stack like a complete afterthought. Granted M-B does this with all of their cars now, but in the new C-Class at least it was designed with that in mind. The CLS wasn’t, it’s based on the 2010 E-Class and was designed around an integrated screen. The A7’s interior is a near clone of the cheaper A6, but it’s more cohesive, even if it doesn’t necessarily live up to the car’s price tag.

    Based on what M-B achieved with the relatively humble C-Class, I expect the next CLS will knock the A7 into the weeds in terms of interior design and materials quality. Audis below the Q7 and A8 have been kind of cheap feeling as of late.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      “Audis below the Q7 and A8 have been kind of cheap feeling as of late.”

      In what sense? I recently had a 2015 Q5 for an extended stay in our garage and rode in a 2016 A6 last week and both have fantastic fit, finish and material quality. Hell, even my co-worker’s new A3 has very nice material quality, if a bit spartan. In particular, the buttons and knobs in the Q5, A6 and A3 are all very nicely weighted and have a real sense of solidity to them.

      If anything the Q7 really feels dated, particularly in interior design.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Q7 is completely ancient and needed a complete redo in 2012!

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        I’ve recently driven Q5s and Q7s for a couple of days a pop (service loaners), and I wasn’t impressed. They both felt spartan, and the Q5 in particular felt cheap. (Though that might have been me expecting too much from $40K and $50K SUVs.)

      • 0 avatar
        Davekaybsc

        I’m very familiar with the Q5. I can’t remember if the upper door panel is soft touch or not, but the main panel is just formless vinyl. The armrest, as in nearly all Audis below the A8, is hard vinyl, not much different from a Jetta. The cup holder area in the lower console is hard plastic. I’ll grant you that Audi does knobs better than just about anyone, but the buttons are nothing special at all, and neither is the surrounding trim. You can actually get really nice grades of leather in Audis in the EU, but they don’t send any of them to the US. We get the cheapest, lowest quality leather sets, or nothing. I’m not sure if it’s different if you buy through Audi Exclusive, but at least if you’re going by the regular menu that’s how it is.

        The A3 is a black plastic cave. No thanks. I should’ve clarified that when I was referring to the Q7, I meant the brand new 2016 model, not the ancient outgoing car, which shares its interior with the 2005 A6.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I bought a new Q7 in 2012. Even back then it wasn’t the newest kid on the block. I figured by then all the bugs would have been worked out after a few years and so far that has proven to be true.

          I defend the 2015-down models. They’re ridiculously over-engineered and Swiss-bank vault solid. The interior isn’t bad. Sure, it’s styled conservatively but all the materials are top-notch.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Its the CLS’ schnoz. It has a face only an R-Class could love. 1st gen CLS was moving 15K units/yr in the US at its peak. 2nd gen has yet to breach 4 digits. Maybe the A7, which came out the same year as the 2nd gen, had an effect. But I still think its that god awful face. It has ruined the current crop of MB’s “sporty” cars.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    Other than the hatchback design, the one obvious difference is that the A7 is sold here only as a Quattro which helps in its sales in snow country. This is something that Mercedes and BMW are learning quickly as they now offer all or most of their models with some form of all wheel drive. Even the first runs of the CLA/GLA, C Class were only 4-matic.

  • avatar
    eManual

    How come a near-luxury company (Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, Lincoln, Buick, Chrysler) can’t build something like this for about 40K? A luxury hatch (without 4 wheel drive} based on a good platform, not a German maintenance worry. I’d be all over it, even if it didn’t come with a manual transmission!

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Ditto. This is pretty much everything the ATS/CTS should have been. Built off the Epsilon platform with a PHEV powertrain. I too would be all over one.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    These cars get cross shopped. In our office is a broker who leased the first generation CLS, and is currently in an A7. He briefly had an S550 in-between, but I think he got it just because I had the LS430. I think he realized he was a sport sedan guy instead of a luxury sedan guy, and didn’t go for another flagship. I’m surprised he didn’t go for the Panamera Turbo. When you’re cash flowing over $30k a month, $2k is chump change to spend on a lease.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Jiminy, $30k per month….

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        $30k/mo sounds like a lot, but when you convert that to $360k/yr it is suddenly much less impressive, IMO. More than I make, sure, but it’s not millions.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh so poor, these $360k/yr people. I’m unimpressed!

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            Still he spends a greater percentage of his money on cars (and I assume most other stuff) than I do, so in a sense he is poorer than me. Just that he is in a much better neighborhood.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I’m not saying that, I’m just saying $30k/mo sounds like a crazy amount of money, but converting it to low/mid 6 figures just makes it sound like run of the mill upper middle class. It’s easily in the realm of reason for a dual-income professional couple if they are both even moderately successful.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Still he spends a greater percentage of his money on cars (and I assume most other stuff) than I do, so in a sense he is poorer than me. Just that he is in a much better neighborhood.”

            That’s a silly metric; I’d rather save 5% of $360k/yr than 10% of $100k/yr. People who make more can afford to spend more in certain areas because the overall volume is greater, assuming either party is not in a position where spending > income.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            @S2k Chris I’ve read that many wealthy people spend to their limits just like poor folks. That is my point, not what what you or I would do.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            $360K/yr is a LONG way from being wealthy.

            The “nicer” neighborhood is the killer. A major reason why I can easily afford new BMWs while my theoretically similarly paid teammates have Fords and Civics is that I have a <$100K mortgage, and they have $3-400K mortgages. Though in my case, I live in a perfectly nice neighborhood, it just happens to be outside Portland Maine instead of outside Boston like the rest of them…

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            @krhodes1 According to this 7 year old data it puts you in the top 1%
            http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/top-1-percent-earn.aspx
            Even adjusting for inflation you should be fairly well off. If not then you are doing it wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “The “nicer” neighborhood is the killer.”

            It’s a “killer” from the perspective of car guys who like to spend more money on having a nice car, but there’s no question that generally, investing in a nicer area to live is a smarter move than “investing” in a nicer car. A house is much more likely to appreciate than a car, and a house has more of an impact on your quality of life than a car (especially if you have kids and schools, etc, are a concern).

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “@krhodes1 According to this 7 year old data it puts you in the top 1%
            http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/top-1-percent-earn.aspx
            Even adjusting for inflation you should be fairly well off. If not then you are doing it wrong.”

            $360k/yr (of W2 income) helps put you near the top of the heap of the wage slaves, but you’re still probably a wage slave.

            One of the biggest misnomers in the world is the attack on the 1%. The people that the anti-1%ers really hate are the .01% or the .001%. The bottom 99% of the 1% is probably just your boss at work, or your boss’s boss. Not some oligarch.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            It’s entirely dependent on where you live. In greater Portland Maine, you can live pretty well on $360K a year. $300K will buy you a nice 4br 2.5 ba house on 3/4 acre in a town with a decent school system. Same house out in the boonies in Maine might be $150K or less. Same house in a town with a TOP school system is $500K. On the water is $1.5M+, though of course as the land gets more expensive the houses get more elaborate because the cost is in the land, not the building. How much does it cost to buy something like that in the Greater Boston area? At least double, probably getting to be more like triple these days. How much in the Bay Area – dear God I would not even want to know. A friend of mine recently bought a 2br 1.5 bath 900sq/ft condo out there for $1.3M (plus my total mortgage payment in condo fees monthly), and it is a little bit of a “fixer upper”. In a neighborhood that is NOT as nice as the one I live in by a long shot. He takes the bus to work and eats ramen noodles 3x a week. $360K does not go far at all out there.

            Ultimately, most of the country looks a lot more like Portland than Waltham MA or Cupertino, CA or Westchester, NY. But most of the higher paying jobs are also in higher cost of living areas. I’m lucky, I live in a low/moderate cost of living area but have a job based in a high cost of living area. You could live like a king in most of the rural areas of the country on $360K, but good luck making that much out there.

            Chris2k is spot on. Most of the 1% don’t make very much money at all if they are actually earning it by sweat of brow as opposed to from investment income. But I think Fred is right too – there is a big tendency for consumption to rise with income. My couple of friends who bought similar houses to mine who have done well and/or gotten married are all trading up to much larger and more expensive homes, even though they only have a single kid, and don’t plan on any more. I buy relatively expensive cars because I am in to cars, not because I care what the neighbors will think. They all think I am some weird mechanic guy anyway.

            My next housing purchase is going to be a winter home down south, I am soooo done with winter in Maine, and with my job I can live almost anywhere. Time to start taking advantage of that.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I’m a dyed-in-the-wool car guy, but I’d rather spend more on a house and less on a car. I like cool cars, yes, but financially they are depreciating assets. A house on the other hand almost always appreciates.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            But how much house do you NEED? I’m a single guy with a roommate. We share a 1200sq/ft house. We have two whole rooms we don’t even use for anything, so really a smaller house would be just fine. The people I bought it from raised four kids in it. I just can’t see the point of having a gigantic house. Costs a fortune to buy, heat, A/C, tax, clean, maintain, etc. It may or may not appreciate more than a smaller house, but it will certainly cost a heck of a lot more along the way. You can say the same thing about nicer cars, of course, but cars are a couple orders of magnitude cheaper all the way around than even a cheap house.

            I do not see cars as “depreciating assets” and thus a bad thing. Depreciation is simply a way of costing the use that you get out of something. Cars are very useful devices. And really the only way to see an actual real profit out of a house is to be either VERY lucky to buy the right house at the right time in the right place or live in it for a very, very long time. I actually was that lucky with my house – I bought well before the bubble in a place that had not been “discovered” yet so it was cheap. On paper, it has appreciated over $100K in the 15 years since I bought it. But in reality most of that $100K has been eaten by maintenance and repairs, taxes and interest, and what it would actually cost to sell the place. Plus what I would have made on the downpayment. And simple inflation. Renting would have been cheaper over the past 15 years, but the house does have the added utility of a garage that supports a serious car habit.

            My best friend just had to write a $20K check to get out of the house he paid too much for in a dumb location. He did not get lucky. I also personally think he is buying waaaay too much house this time around, but happy wife, happy life, and she wants Tara with the 2-story foyer even though they have a single kid with no plans for another one. 4500sq/ft. Hope they both stay well-employed.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think about the car vs. house spending thing like this:

            -I spend many more hours in the house than I do the car.
            -I can spend $50,000 additional dollars on a car, and it will still just drive me to work. That same money on a house gets me another bedroom or a high-end kitchen, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “But how much house do you NEED?”

            Just like I tell my wife ;) it’s not about size. Just like cars, you don’t necessarily buy by the foot. I recently rented out my ~3600 sq ft house (1800 + 1k finished basement + 800sq ft storage) and bought a ~1700 sq ft (inc. ~500 sq ft finished basement) house, that I paid about $80k more for than the bigger ranch. But the new house is in the “it” town, best schools, much closer to work, etc. I’ll agree, spending money for a massive house is dumb and wasteful, but that’s not necessarily what a more $$$ house means. Just like you spend more money for a BMW 2-series than a Dodge Grand Caravan.

            Also, same with cars, buying the features you want might mean a step up in price/size. You want a three car garage? A big master suite? a decent sized kitchen? walk in closets? etc etc etc? Usually it’s hard to find those things in a smaller house. Not impossible, but people are only just starting to catch on to the “premium smaller house” just like it was hard to buy a well-equipped small car a few years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Personally I’d like to construct a twelfth century castle made of solid stones. Think about it, a moat, drawbridge, towers complete with arrow slits, and plenty of dank inside. Heaven.

    • 0 avatar
      ccode81

      From another broker who is not allowed to behave same because of the higher tax rate, higher car transaction price, and lack of lease programs, I’m envy and let me leave a comment.
      Why’d he keeps renew his uniform frequently to similar thing rather than stepping up to something more nice?
      Aston Rapid, Bentley, Alpina. Those sort of things..

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Does anyone in the market for a CLS or A7 really expect to use the hatchback opening to haul something over-sized? I assume most of them just have things delivered.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Remember the Quinto Vs. Nimoy commercial? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPkByAkAdZs

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I use the cargo bay of my BMW wagon all the time. It’s the whole reason I drive wagons and hatches. Nothing more annoying than finding something interesting while you are out and about and not being able to get it home. People have things delivered because they won’t fit in their cars, not because they have more money. Though like myself, most people in this market probably also have a decent size SUV in the garage too.

      I find it fascinating how the hatch has gone from the entry-level option to the premium option over the past 10 years for most car makers.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      You never know, people can attempt to use their impractical cars for surprisingly practical things.

      I came across a Ferrari 458 at a stoplight. I asked the driver if he was in the local club chapter, and he said he was too busy to go on those drives. He also mentioned that he was going to Home Depot.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        LOL – I used my Triumph Spitfire to bring home a bunch of 2x4x8s from Lowe’s last weekend. THAT gets some looks from the staff. Way easier than stuffing them into the Rover or BMW, as long as it is a nice day.

  • avatar
    Serpens

    Did the author not notice the CLS400 was just introduced this year? Before this model year the CLS range started $7k above the A7. Also the CLS had massive shipping constraints towards the end of 2014.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Thinking of this, I’m now a little surprised Lexus has not got into the large saloon hatch market, with the LH460L or something.

    Everybody else has done it, and Infiniti has the hatch styling with a trunk on the Q70.

    Though our chance for a Lexus wagon got missed.
    http://www.cars-directory.net/pics/toyota/crown_wagon/1996/toyota_crown_wagon_a1235811604b1235811604_orig.jpg

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    In Europe the CLS is available as a wagon … it looks IMHO much better with this configuration. http://www.gtspirit.com/2012/05/25/exclusive-2013-mercedes-benz-cls-shooting-brake-world-premiere-at-goodwood-festival-of-speed-2012/

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Looking at that photo, and the way it’s pinched at the back – it just looks like a pinched off silver baguette. I don’t like that any better than the sedan version*.

      *I did like the first CLS.

  • avatar

    Around here the a7 seems to be the classy option for wealthy folks who don’t want to be ostentatious whereas the CLS is more of a look at me option. Is it possible that despite their similarities they aren’t actually cross shopped much?

  • avatar
    JRobUSC

    While I’d take the A7 if I was choosing only between these two I’d rather have a 6-series Gran Coupe than either, it’s better looking than both inside and out.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbo1126

      Agree, and doesn’t the Gran Coupe blow both of these away in sales anyway? (Maybe not. I really don’t know. But I sure see a lot of GCs around.)

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    In Australia the A7 and other sedans like prior Citroen C5s and some older Toyotas are referred to as lift backs.
    The term hatchback is reserved for the near vertical hatch almost directly behind the rear seats and usually in small cars.
    Does the term “Lift back” not exist in the US?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “Liftback” was used for a while in the ’70s and ’80s for cars that were generaly sedan-based, but it became superfluous when both styles became rare and unpopular in the ’90s. “Hatchback” stayed in use since the few that remained were of the more upright variety.

  • avatar
    derekson

    For some reason I always thought the CLS was a larger car than it actually is. I saw one parked next to a Mk VI Jetta recently and it was barely any larger than the Jetta, which was surprising to me. I guess when I see them on the road or in photos they have enough presence that they just look larger than they are?

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Tim,

    I’ve had the same problem trying to compare lower end Audi and BMW offerings.

    It took me a while to see that the A4 and A5 are really closer to what BMW calls the 328i and 335i. The Audi A4 alone is NOT the Audi competitor for the BMW 3-series; and A5 is not a competitor for the 5-series. It’s almost as though Audi, unlike Mercedes, did not want head-to-head comparisons to be made, and sought to stake out claims to “within” categories, to distinguish itself with more offerings for customers. Very clever.

    ===================

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