2019 Audi S5 Sportback vs. 2019 Cadillac CTS-V

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S5 Sportback 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 S5 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 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 S5 Sportback has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The CTS-V doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The S5 Sportback Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CTS-V only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the S5 Sportback 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, collision warning systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi S5 Sportback is safer than the CTS-V:

 

S5 Sportback

CTS-V

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

171

183

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

1.3/.4 kN

5.9/3.7 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

14%/1%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1 kN

5.7/7.8 kN

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 S5 Sportback the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CTS-V was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The S5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the CTS-V’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the S5 Sportback has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engine in the CTS-V.

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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 45 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 27th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 21 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the S5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S5 Sportback’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CTS-V doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S5 Sportback higher (5 out of 10) than the Cadillac CTS-V (1). This means the S5 Sportback produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CTS-V every 15,000 miles.

Tires and Wheels

The S5 Sportback’s optional 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 optional 35 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 Sportback offers optional 20-inch wheels. The CTS-V’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the S5 Sportback’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the CTS-V’s (38.4 feet vs. 40.3 feet).

Chassis

The Audi S5 Sportback may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 pounds less than the Cadillac CTS-V.

The S5 Sportback is 10.5 inches shorter than the CTS-V, making the S5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi S5 Sportback amounts to more than styling. The S5 Sportback has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 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 S5 Sportback get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the S5 Sportback Prestige is quieter than the CTS-V:

 

S5 Sportback

CTS-V

At idle

40 dB

50 dB

Full-Throttle

79 dB

83 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

73 dB

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S5 Sportback’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CTS-V doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the S5 Sportback the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the CTS-V can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S5 Sportback 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.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S5 Sportback Prestige has a standard 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.

Model Availability

The Audi S5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Cadillac CTS-V isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5/RS 5 outsold the Cadillac CTS by almost three to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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