2018 Audi RS 7 vs. 2017 Cadillac CTS-V

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 7 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and 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 CTS-V doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The RS 7 has a standard Audi Backguard System, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Audi Backguard System moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The RS 7 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The RS 7 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The CTS-V doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the RS 7 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the RS 7 and the CTS-V have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.


The RS 7’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the CTS-V’s (12 vs. 6 years).


For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the RS 7 have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engine in the CTS-V.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi fourth in reliability. Cadillac is ranked 21st.


As tested in Motor Trend the Audi RS 7 4.0 is faster than the Cadillac CTS-V:


RS 7


Zero to 60 MPH

3.2 sec

3.8 sec

Quarter Mile

11.6 sec

11.9 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the RS 7’s fuel efficiency. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

The RS 7 Performance has standard heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The CTS-V doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The RS 7 stops shorter than the CTS-V:


RS 7



60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

112 feet

Road and Track

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 7 has larger tires than the CTS-V (275/30R21 vs. 265/35R19).

The RS 7’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CTS-V’s 35 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Only 19-inch wheels are available on the CTS-V.

The RS 7 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the CTS-V; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the RS 7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the CTS-V, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The RS 7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The RS 7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RS 7 is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the CTS-V.

For better maneuverability, the RS 7’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the CTS-V’s (39 feet vs. 40.3 feet).


The design of the Audi RS 7 amounts to more than styling. The RS 7 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .3 Cd. That is significantly lower than the CTS-V (.34) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the RS 7 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the RS 7 is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the CTS-V is rated a Mid-size.

The RS 7 has .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the CTS-V.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the RS 7’s power trunk can be opened just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The RS 7’s power trunk can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.


Unlike the driver-only memory system in the CTS-V, the RS 7 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

If the windows are left down on the RS 7 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the CTS-V can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the RS 7 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The CTS-V doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RS 7 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CTS-V doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RS 7 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The CTS-V doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RS 7 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RS 7 offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, 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 CTS-V doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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