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Audi A7 and Mercedes CLS in the test: hatchback versus four-door coupé

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi A7 and Mercedes CLS in the test
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Z The grandeur presented was that Upper middle class suspect for a long time, luxury even offensive. Until the Mercedes CLS came as a GT-like fine spirit based on the E-Class. He clearly admitted to extravagance and indulgence, made both not only courtly but also suitable for a company car. Which triggered a trend towards the flat roof sedan and encouraged Mercedes to adopt the second generation of the CLS. As a diesel type 350 CDI, it meets the Audi A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI.

Despite the hatchback, the Audi A7 belongs to the coupé faction

The odd number in the nomenclature underlines the specialty of the Audi A7 and shows that he actually belongs to the Coupé faction. But the Audi A7 Sportback frees itself from their habitual constraints; it stands for a dignified four-door model with a receding roofline and cleverly concealed utility in the form of a hatchback. The Audi A7 can open its tailgate, which extends far into the roof, almost as skillfully as a station wagon. And still looks elegant when closed. Audi has thus creatively developed the idea of ​​the first 100 Avant from 1977 on the basis of the A6.

The Mercedes CLS is still committed to the notchback, including the conventionally short trunk lid and fixed parcel shelf. It limits the loading capacity of bulky items - even if the rear seat back willingly makes room on request. The Mercedes CLS shows its strengths more in terms of suitability for travel than transport. Despite the roof shape, which is also flat, there is so much space in the rear that two adults with average figures can survive an excursion in the individual seats without complaining, and unlike in the Audi A7, they even find the right space for their feet to develop. The measured values ​​show the Audi A7 Sportback to be somewhat more spacious in the comparison test; but its rear has the same separate character as that of the Mercedes CLS.

Audi A7 and Mercedes CLS offer interior ambience like in a luxury sedan

In both wood and decorated Chrome jewelry, the leather wallpaper, which is why the back seat is not presented as an emergency solution, but as a box. Even here, the ambience of the Audi A7 and Mercedes CLS leaves the mid-range roots in the direction of the luxury sedan in the comparison test. But that can hardly hide the fact that the desirable place is at the front - where the large Audi models have long made a deep impression with their stylish nobilityleave. And wherever Mercedes has found a new connection: all the trim elements in the Mercedes CLS are of selected quality and neatly fitted; alone, the subtle extravagance of the predecessor is missing. One would have expected the current Mercedes CLS dashboard in this form in the E-Class.

Mercedes CLS and Audi A7 with modern diesel engines

The dandyism of the Mercedes CLS pioneer the new one no longer celebrates, but has an enormous presence in the rearview mirror - it doesn't need a flasher to draw attention to itself. If the lane is clear, the Mercedes CLS gains space with extraordinary determination and smooth gear changes.

The supercharged three-liter Mercedes CLS pushes almost as powerfully as an electric motor, sounds like a V6 gasoline engine, but requires as little fuel as a hybrid. Modern diesel engines can be very exciting. The three-liter TDI of the Audi A7 Sportback goes one better when it comes to revving power, but it runs a bit rougher. Its thrust also takes hold, and the Audi A7 even makes up for the performance disadvantage (245 to 265 hp) thanks to standard all-wheel traction when sprinting from zero to 100.

Audi A7 is hardly cheaper than the Mercedes CLS

Audi plays the entire repertoire of dynamic aids in the A7 test car: optional 19-inch tires increase grip, and shock absorbers also adjustable characteristic curve including air suspension cover the range from tentative to jagged, and a mechanical limited-slip differential supports the efforts of the Quattro system to enhance the traction-enhancing advantages of the 4x4 principle with the will of a rear-wheel drive vehicle. The result is an Audi A7, which, adjusted for equipment, is hardly cheaper than the expensive Mercedes CLS - but on the other hand sets standards.

The suspension comfort is so convincing that the Audi A7 should look good even compared to the flagship A8. And in the dynamic position of the chassis, it wags across the country road like the much smaller A4. The options bring advantages in terms of comfort and handling, but at the same time a lot of ballast on board. With an empty weight of 1,949 kilograms, the result is a ridiculous payload of 371 kilograms. Four strong men could only take their credit cards with them on vacation.

The Mercedes CLS ends up just ahead of the Audi A7

The Mercedes CLS can load around 100 kilograms more because it largely dispenses with heavy options and relies on its steel series chassis. Its one-for-all vote turned out to be exceptional. Despite 19-inch optional wheels, the Mercedes CLS cushions more gently than the Audi A7 Sportback, without looking fidgety when turning. But it is subject to it on long bumps with slight catapult movements. At the same time, he does not allow himself to be significantly dependent on the Audi A7 on winding country lanes or in the driving dynamics tests, mastered thatbrazen flow of imperturbable relaxation, to which the smooth and precise steering also contributes.

That the Sportback is pushing only became apparent towards the end of the comparison - both flirt provocatively with the luxury league and celebrate the luxury class Extremely sporty comfort. The victory brings the Mercedes CLS the even better safety equipment including its impressive braking performance; It sets standards especially when it comes to decelerating on different coefficients of friction.

The second generation of the Mercedes CLS remains a trendsetter

And then there is the brilliant economy of the three-liter V6 CDI Mercedes CLS; it fully lives up to the addition of Blue Efficiency. When strolling around, average fuel consumption of 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers can be achieved, in the test average it is an excellent 8.7 liters - even without a start-stop system. The Audi A7 Sportback does have that, but it only lets the engine start with a delay, which leads to a leisurely traffic light start and does not bring any consumption advantage compared to the Mercedes CLS (Audi A7: 8.9 liters). Even in the second generation, the Mercedes CLS remains a trendsetter: It combines indulgence with frugality.


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