Audi S7 vs Mercedes CLS 500

20 Aug, 2012 5:15pm

New Audi S7 mixes style, luxury and pace. Can it beat the CLS 500?

The Audi A7 Sportback follows the Mercedes CLS in attempting to bridge the gap between saloons and traditional coupes by mixing luxury, sleek looks and four-seat versatility.

The new flagship S7 adds huge performance to the mix. Powered by a 414bhp twin-turbo V8 that’s also used in the brilliant Bentley Continental GT V8, the four-wheel-drive Audi has blistering all-weather pace. Plus, it packs an upmarket cabin inspired by the brand’s luxurious A8 limousine.

On top of that, Audi’s trademark sporty styling cues leave you in no doubt about the car’s potential. The CLS 500 doesn’t need racy add-ons to turn heads, while its classy interior is one of the best around. And under the bonnet is another big twin-turbo V8, so it has the Audi covered for pace.

These two contenders are closely matched for price, power and kerb appeal – but which one is better?

Verdict

Both these cars are enormously desirable. The S7 and CLS 500 look great and feature refined and powerful V8 petrol engines, which have economy and emissions figures that would have been the stuff of fantasy a few years ago.

These models stylishly blur the boundaries between coupe and saloon, plus their genuine four-seater interiors treat occupants to top-notch quality and executive levels of comfort.

There’s huge scope for personalisation in both models, plus you get plenty of plush equipment as standard. The Mercedes is the cleaner of the pair and every bit as fast as its rival – but the S7’s new V8 engine is a real gem. It’s smooth yet characterful, and combines with a dual-clutch gearbox, all-wheel drive and taut dynamics to ensure the Audi is the sportier choice here.

Yet the S7 gives nothing away in terms of first-class refinement. Add in the practicality of a hatchback tailgate, and it makes a lot of sense.

The CLS 500 is equally desirable, but it’s let down by its auto box, plus it doesn’t have the Audi’s grip or body control. So the new S7 takes victory by the smallest margin – although we’d understand if the Mercedes won you over with its more subtle charms.

Winner: Audi S7 ★★★★

Blistering performance is matched to sure-footed grip and executive comfort in the all-new S7. This is a winning blend that’s now a trademark of fast Audis. The handling could be more engaging and options are expensive, plus while the S7 is cheaper to buy here, it’s a more costly company car choice. But with its great V8, this is one of the finest S models yet. 

2nd: Mercedes CLS 500 ★★★

Classic Mercedes attributes like refinement and luxury mark out the CLS, and it’s one of the most attractive cars the company builds. Decent running costs are another plus. Yet the saloon body hampers practicality, while it can’t quite match the all-round appeal of the accomplished Audi. It also struggles to rival the S7’s grip and composure through corners.

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excellent,i love the a7,it looks perfect and is art of perfection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!s7 is even better

Can't wait to pick up my S7 soon...It is on the boat as I read this article and I am even more excited.

It is your opinion,but I like Mercedes-Benz' CLS much more than the Audi A7.The CLS is much more Distinctive and Stands out easily,while the A7 looks almost as Usual as the other Audi's Saloons

It's not a saloon and unless you have issues with your eyes, looks nothing like any of the other Audi models

Huh - the A7 is a long Hatchback... it looks nothing like other Audi's. It's ok to like the Benz more...but don't make up a reason that doesn't exist.

Beauty, AND perception, are in the eye of the beholder. I wouldnt buy a MB in a pink fit. Dislike enormously the way they do business, and the arrant arrogance they exude. Which leaves the S7 not as a default, but my primary choice, whatever my tetchy thoughts are about MB. The Audi will simply be a better car. Couldnt agree more with your decision........

Whattttttt???How comes that?!!!! How can you say that??? Look at the A5 and tell me it doesn't look 95% the same.I am not a hater(of Audi) but I don't like Audi's philosophy of making such similarly designed cars

first you said A7 now you are saying A5? the A5 looks as close to the rest of the Audi lineup as the E-Class coupe does to the rest of Mercedes.

hahhahahahahahah You wish it was,But no Audi comes even close of Being so Different from other models as Mercedes' models do.I have not heard a single complain from AutoExpress or a dozen of other car Magazines.Mercedes does not Use the same Design on all of it's models,Everybody knows that.As for the A5,ask someone who is not a car expert,at least an Ausi expert,and you'll see they will say they are the same(A5=A7).The E class Coupe is easily distinguished from Mercedes' other models,even from the E class Saloon.I like Audi and BMW too,But i Love Mercedes-Benz(The Best)<3<3<3

Are we talking about the A7 or S7?

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