2018 Cadillac CTS vs. 2018 Audi S5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Cadillac CTS 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 Audi S5 Sportback has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the CTS and S5 Sportback have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The CTS has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The S5 Sportback’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The CTS offers optional Reverse Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the CTS and the S5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the CTS 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the S5 Sportback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the S5 Sportback ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Cadillac pays for scheduled maintenance on the CTS for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Cadillac will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the S5 Sportback.

There are over 3 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CTS’ warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the CTS has a standard 730-amp battery. The S5 Sportback’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Cadillac vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 20th in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 26th.

Engine

The CTS V-Sport’s standard 3.6 turbo V6 produces 66 more horsepower (420 vs. 354) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (430 vs. 369) than the S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the CTS V-Sport is faster than the Audi S5 Sportback:

 

CTS

S5

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

4.5 sec

Quarter Mile

12.8 sec

13.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111.9 MPH

106 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CTS V6’s fuel efficiency. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The CTS has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the S5 Sportback (19 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The CTS has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The CTS stops shorter than the S5 Sportback:

 

CTS

S5

 

70 to 0 MPH

149 feet

158 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

105 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the CTS can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CTS’ wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the S5 Sportback (114.6 inches vs. 111.2 inches).

The CTS’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.3% to 49.7%) than the S5 Sportback’s (56% to 44%). This gives the CTS more stable handling and braking.

The CTS V-Sport handles at .96 G’s, while the S5 Sportback Prestige pulls only .93 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CTS V-Sport executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S5 Sportback Prestige (24.5 seconds @ .78 average G’s vs. 25 seconds @ .76 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CTS V-Sport’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the S5 Sportback’s (36.7 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Cadillac CTS may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Audi S5 Sportback.

The front grille of the CTS (except V-Sport or Driver Assist Package) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The CTS uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the CTS V-Sport is quieter than the S5 Sportback Prestige (66 vs. 70 dB).

Passenger Space

The CTS has 1 inch more front headroom, 4.4 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, .3 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the S5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the CTS offers cargo security. The S5 Sportback’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Towing

The CTS V6 offers up to a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The S5 Sportback has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The CTS has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

On a hot day the CTS’ driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the S5 Sportback can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CTS offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the CTS to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The CTS offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The CTS Premium/V-Sport’s Automatic Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The CTS is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

The CTS V-Sport was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 6 of the last 11 years. The S5 Sportback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the CTS as their 2014 Car of the Year. The S5 Sportback has never been chosen.

The CTS was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The S5 Sportback has never been an “All Star.”

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

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