Kemna Automotive Group Compares 2002 Mercedes Benz CL-Class VS 2002 Cadillac Eldorado In IA

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2002 Mercedes Benz CL-Class

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2002 Mercedes Benz CL-Class

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2002 Cadillac Eldorado

Safety Comparison

To maximize occupant safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes CL Class have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Cadillac Eldorado doesn’t offer pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes CL Class are height adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Cadillac Eldorado has only front height adjustable seat belts.

The Mercedes CL Class has shoulder harnesses for all seating positions. A shoulder harness better protects the passenger from head injury and prevents internal injuries that are possible with lap belts alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lap and shoulder belts are 10% safer than lap belts alone. The Cadillac Eldorado has only a lap belt in the rear center seating position.

The CL Class has standard front and rear seat side-impact airbags and head airbags which act as a forgiving barrier between the passengers and the door. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases protection from broadside collisions. The Eldorado doesn’t offer side-impact airbags.

Using vehicle speed sensors, smart airbags in the CL Class deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Eldorado’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The CL Class offers an optional Parktronic System to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind their vehicle. This collision warning system uses radar to detect obstacles behind the rear bumper. The Eldorado doesn’t offer a rear collision sensor.

Both the CL Class and the Eldorado have standard driver and passenger side airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four wheel antilock brakes and traction control.

Warranty Comparison

Mercedes pays for scheduled maintenance on the CL Class for 4 years and 50,000 miles. Mercedes will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Cadillac doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Eldorado.

Reliability Comparison

The engines in the CL Class have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Eldorado have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

The battery on the CL Class is under the rear seat, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the CL Class’ battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Eldorado’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine Comparison

The CL Class has more powerful engines than the Eldorado:



CL500 5.0 SOHC V8

302 HP

339 lbs.-ft.

CL55 5.4 SOHC V8

355 HP

391 lbs.-ft.

CL600 5.8 SOHC V12

362 HP

391 lbs.-ft.

Eldorado 4.6 DOHC V8

275 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

Eldorado Touring Coupe 4.6 DOHC V8

300 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the CL500 5.0 SOHC V8 is faster than the Eldorado Touring Coupe:

CL Class


Zero to 60 MPH

5.8 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.9 MPH

96.5 MPH

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the CL Class’ engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the Eldorado:


CL500 5.0 SOHC V8

2700 RPM

CL55 5.4 SOHC V8

3150 RPM

CL600 5.8 SOHC V12

4250 RPM

Eldorado 4.6 DOHC V8

4000 RPM

Eldorado Touring Coupe 4.6 DOHC V8

4400 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The CL Class has 4.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Eldorado (23.3 vs. 19 gallons), for longer range between fill ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the CL Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Eldorado:

CL Class



Front Rotors

13.1 inches

13.6 inches

11.85 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

10.94 inches

The CL Class’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Eldorado are solid, not vented.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. Whatever factors cause this tendency, the CL Class has standard Brake Assist to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Eldorado doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The CL Class with its standard antilock brakes stops much shorter than the Eldorado with antilock brakes:

CL Class


70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

196 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

142 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the CL Class’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Eldorado (F:245/45R18 & R:275/40R18 vs. 235/60R16).

The CL Class’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Eldorado’s standard 60 series tires. The CL Class’ optional 245/45R18 front and 275/40R18 rear tires have a lower 45 series front and 40 series rear profile than the Eldorado’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CL Class has standard 17 inch wheels. Only 16 inch wheels are available on the Eldorado.

The CL Class offers an optional tire pressure monitoring system, which will alert the driver to a drop in tire pressure. This system can help warn drivers about low tire pressure before damage to the tire or an accident might occur. The Eldorado doesn’t offer a low tire pressure warning system.

The CL Class has a standard full size spare tire. A full size spare isn’t available on the Eldorado.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The CL Class has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads The Eldorado’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The CL Class offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Cadillac doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Eldorado.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CL Class’ wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the Eldorado (113.6 vs. 108 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CL Class is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Eldorado.

The CL Class’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (51% to 49%) than the Eldorado’s (63% to 37%). This gives the CL Class more stable handling and braking.

The CL500 handles at .84 G’s, while the Eldorado Touring Coupe pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability the CL Class’ turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Eldorado’s (37.7 vs. 40.35 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The CL Class is 4 inches shorter than the Eldorado, making the CL Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The CL Class is 2.4 inches narrower than the Eldorado, making the CL Class easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

The design of the Mercedes CL Class amounts to more than styling. The CL Class has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .28 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Eldorado (.33). A more efficient exterior helps the CL Class go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the CL Class get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the CL500 is quieter than the Eldorado Touring Coupe:

CL Class


At idle

43 dB

45 dB


73 dB

78 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

68 dB

70 MPH Coasting

67 dB

67 dB

Ergonomics Comparison

The CL Class’ memory seats store positions for the driver and front passenger. The Eldorado’s available memory system is only for the driver.

The CL Class’ power windows raise and lower automatically with one touch, especially convenient at toll booths or drive-up windows. The power windows on the Eldorado don’t raise automatically, and only the driver’s window lowers automatically.

The CL Class has one key for everything, and a separate valet key for the doors and ignition only. The Eldorado has one key for the ignition and a separate key for the doors and trunk; this requires a person to use two keys every time they drive.

The CL Class uses a double-sided key system. The Eldorado has one sided keys. Trying to get them right side up while in a hurry or with full hands is inconvenient.

The CL Class’ standard rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Eldorado’s standard intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose there effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The CL Class offers available headlight wiper/washers to keep headlight output high. The Eldorado doesn’t offer headlight wiper/washers.

A power rear sun shade is standard in the CL Class to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Eldorado doesn’t offer a rear sun shade.

A built-in pollen filter with a charcoal activated canister removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the CL Class’ passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Eldorado’s air conditioner doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the CL Class offers an optional Distronic, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Eldorado doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The CL Class’ standard separate stalk mounted cruise control is close at hand. The Eldorado’s standard cruise control is on an over-crowded turn signal stalk.

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