2019 Audi A6 vs. 2018 Mercedes CLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A6 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 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 A6. But it costs extra on the CLS.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the A6 Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The CLS doesn’t offer a night vision system.

To help make backing safer, the A6’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 A6 and the CLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

The A6’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CLS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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 A6 3.0T gets better fuel mileage than the CLS 550 4MATIC (22 city/29 hwy vs. 17 city/25 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the A6’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 A6 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The CLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A6 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the CLS. The A6 Prestige’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the CLS.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A6’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the CLS (115.1 inches vs. 113.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A6 is 1.8 inches wider in the front and .1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the CLS.

For better maneuverability, the A6’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the CLS’ (36.4 feet vs. 36.7 feet). The A6’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the CLS 4MATIC’s (36.4 feet vs. 37 feet).

Passenger Space

The A6 has standard seating for 5 passengers; the CLS can only carry 4.

The A6 has 1.1 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom and 2.4 inches more rear legroom than the CLS.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the A6’s available trunk, 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 A6 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction 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.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A6 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CLS doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A6 has standard extendable sun visors. The CLS doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Recommendations

The Audi A6/S6 outsold the Mercedes CLS by almost 10 to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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