2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2018 Mercedes CLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A5 Sportback has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CLS 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A5 Sportback. But it costs extra on the CLS.

To help make backing safer, the A5 Sportback’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The CLS doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A5 Sportback and the CLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A5 Sportback the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CLS has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CLS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A5 Sportback’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the CLS’ engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the CLS 550 4MATIC (23 city/34 hwy vs. 17 city/25 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the A5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CLS doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 Sportback uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The CLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Chassis

The Audi A5 Sportback may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 700 pounds less than the Mercedes CLS.

The A5 Sportback is 8.2 inches shorter than the CLS, making the A5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The A5 Sportback has standard seating for 5 passengers; the CLS can only carry 4.

The A5 Sportback has 2.5 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more rear headroom and .1 inches more rear legroom than the CLS.

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Sportback has a much larger trunk than the CLS (21.8 vs. 15.3 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the A5 Sportback’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CLS doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

The A5 Sportback Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The CLS doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A5 Sportback has standard extendable sun visors. The CLS doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Mercedes CLS isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Mercedes CLS by almost 27 to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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