2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 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.

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, 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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.

Transmission

The A5 Sportback offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The CLS doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The A5 Sportback’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The CLS doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

The A5 Sportback stops shorter than the CLS:

 

A5 Sportback

CLS

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CLS (255/35R19 vs. 245/40R19).

The A5 Sportback’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CLS’ 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A5 Sportback Prestige handles at .94 G’s, while the CLS 450 4MATIC pulls only .93 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the A5 Sportback’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the CLS’ (38.4 feet vs. 39.1 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A5 Sportback may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 550 pounds less than the Mercedes CLS.

The A5 Sportback is 10.4 inches shorter than the CLS, making the A5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The A5 Sportback has 2.5 inches more front headroom, 1.1 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. 11.9 cubic feet).

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

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A5 Sportback to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The CLS doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A5 Sportback owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A5 Sportback will cost $4115 to $8685 less than the CLS over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A5 Sportback will be $37379 to $57212 less than for the Mercedes CLS.

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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