2019 Audi S5 Sportback vs. 2019 Cadillac CTS

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 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 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 S5 Sportback. But it costs extra on the CTS.

Both the S5 Sportback and the CTS 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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:

 

S5 Sportback

CTS

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 was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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

Engine

The S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 81 more horsepower (349 vs. 268) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 295) than the CTS’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 14 more horsepower (349 vs. 335) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 285) than the CTS’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi S5 Sportback is faster than the Cadillac CTS turbo 4 cyl.:

 

S5 Sportback

CTS

Zero to 60 MPH

4.5 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

106 MPH

93.5 MPH

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 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking 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 (3 to 5). This means the S5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CTS every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S5 Sportback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CTS:

 

S5 Sportback

CTS

CTS V-Sport

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.4 inches

12.4 inches

The S5 Sportback stops much shorter than the CTS:

 

S5 Sportback

CTS

 

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CTS (265/30R20 vs. 255/35R19).

The S5 Sportback’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CTS’ standard 45 series tires. The S5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the CTS’ optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 Sportback has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the CTS. The S5 Sportback’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the CTS.

Suspension and Handling

The S5 Sportback Prestige handles at .95 G’s, while the CTS Premium pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S5 Sportback Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the CTS Luxury AWD (25 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis

The S5 Sportback is 8.4 inches shorter than the CTS, making the S5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

 

S5 Sportback

CTS

At idle

40 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

79 dB

84 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 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 can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The S5 Sportback’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The CTS’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

The S5 Sportback will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S5 Sportback will retain 51.38% to 51.57% of its original price after five years, while the CTS only retains 39.07% to 55.18%.

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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