New Volkswagen Arteon vs used Mercedes-Benz CLS: which is best?

The new Volkswagen Arteon is a seriously desirable four-door coupΓ© – but is a nearly new Mercedes-Benz CLS for the same price even more tempting?

Words By Alex Robbins

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New Volkswagen Arteon vs used Mercedes-Benz CLS – costs

Our Target Price of Β£32,202 for the Volkswagen Arteon suggests it’s possible to scrape a few thousand pounds off its list price of Β£34,655. And you should try, because that figure’s pretty steep. In fact, even at our recommended price, the Arteon feels a touch on the pricey side – especially when you consider just how much Mercedes-Benz CLS that amount gets you.

We reckon around Β£30,000 is all you need to get yourself behind the wheel of a two-year-old CLS 350 CDI with less than 20,000 miles and a full service history. And given the extra performance and prestige of this car, that sounds like something of a bargain – even more so when you remember that the CLS retailed at more than Β£50,000 when new.

That’s good news in more ways than one, because it means the CLS’s heaviest depreciation is out of the way, whereas a brand new Arteon’s has yet to come.

The flipside is that the CLS of this age will only have a year’s worth of its warranty left. However, extending the warranty at Mercedes’s highest level of cover and with Β£0 excess will cost you around Β£1000 a year – so were you to plump for the CLS, you could keep hold of the extra cash you’d have spent on the Arteon and use it to extend the warranty for two more years when the time came.

Where the CLS doesn’t stack up on the cost front is in terms of its day-to-day running. Its official fuel consumption figure of 51.4mpg is considerably less than the 65.7mpg the Arteon can lay claim to. While both cars will struggle to get anywhere near their figures in the real world, the difference between the two is likely to remain largely the same. In real terms, that means the CLS will probably cost you somewhere in the region of Β£50 more to run over the course of 10,000 miles than the Arteon.

The CLS will also cost you more to tax – although not by as much as you might think. That’s because a two-year-old CLS is still taxed under the pre-April 2017 system, which is based on CO2 emissions. As a result, it’ll cost Β£150 a year to tax.

By contrast, a new Arteon is taxed under the newer, flat-rate system, so it’ll set you back Β£160 in the first year, then Β£140 a year thereafter, despite emitting much less CO2. Keep in mind, though, that if you were to get a bit carried away with the options list and tip your Arteon’s price over the Β£40,000 mark, you’d face a Β£310 yearly surcharge on the latter tax figure.

New Volkswagen Arteon vs used Mercedes-Benz CLS – alternatives

If the idea of a new Arteon floats your boat, the obvious alternative is the BMW 4 Series Gran CoupΓ©. A 420d SE is about the same sort of price and offers a more exciting driving experience, although it’s a smidge less well equipped as standard.

You could also look at an Audi A5 Sportback, which features the same range of engines and an even higher-quality interior. It’s actually cheaper to buy than the Arteon, like for like, but you also get less equipment as standard.

Or for something a little more left-field, you could try the Kia Stinger. Despite the budget connotations of the Kia badge, the Stinger feels upmarket enough to be a real rival to the cars listed above and comes with loads of kit along with a five-year warranty. However, it’s best served with a petrol engine, since the diesel options aren’t as polished.

Buying used opens up a selection of alternatives to the CLS. The BMW 6 Series Gran CoupΓ©, for example, can be had for a little less money than the CLS. True, it isn’t quite as classy inside, but it is sportier to drive and has sharper handling. Plus, you get a fifth rear seat – albeit one that forces the passenger to straddle the central console rather awkwardly.

If practicality’s a concern, though, you’ll want to try out the Audi A7 Sportback. It can’t match the 6 Series, or even the CLS, for driving enjoyment but you do get a proper hatchback tailgate and three seats across the rear – the middle of which is more accomodating than the 6 Series’.

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Volkswagen Arteon

What Car? Says Rated 4 out of 5
Owners say Not yet rated

It’s a little pricey but the VW Arteon is good to drive, stylish and amazingly practical next to other coupΓ©s and even some saloons in the class