2019 Cadillac CTS vs. 2018 Audi A6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Cadillac CTS are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Audi A6 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 5 points, IIHS rates the Forward Automatic Braking optional in the CTS as “Superior.” The A6 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The CTS offers optional Reverse Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A6 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the CTS’ 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 A6 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The CTS has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The A6 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CTS and the A6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Cadillac CTS is safer than the Audi A6:

 

CTS

A6

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

25%

30%

Neck Stress

174 lbs.

252 lbs.

Neck Compression

7 lbs.

18 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

277/456 lbs.

410/454 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Cadillac CTS is safer than the Audi A6:

 

CTS

A6

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

113

211

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

189 G’s

238 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

83

255

Spine Acceleration

49 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

701 lbs.

710 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches

HIC

297

464

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the CTS 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A6. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A6 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CTS’ warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Cadillac vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The CTS has more powerful engines than the A6:

 

Horsepower

Torque

CTS 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

268 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

CTS 3.6 DOHC V6

335 HP

285 lbs.-ft.

CTS V-Sport 3.6 turbo V6

420 HP

430 lbs.-ft.

A6 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

252 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

A6 3.0T 3.0 supercharged V6

340 HP

325 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the CTS V-Sport 3.6 turbo V6 is faster than the A6 3.0T 3.0 supercharged V6:

 

CTS

A6

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

1.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

5.4 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

7 sec

8.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.5 sec

13.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.8 sec

5.9 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.5 sec

2.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.2 sec

3.6 sec

Quarter Mile

12.9 sec

13.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111 MPH

102 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CTS non-turbo V6’s fuel efficiency. The A6 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The CTS has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The A6 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The CTS’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the A6 2.0T are solid, not vented.

The CTS stops much shorter than the A6:

 

CTS

A6

 

70 to 0 MPH

149 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the CTS can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A6 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CTS offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The A6’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The CTS’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.3% to 49.7%) than the A6’s (53.5% to 46.5%). This gives the CTS more stable handling and braking.

The CTS V-Sport handles at .96 G’s, while the A6 2.0T Premium Quattro pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CTS V-Sport goes through AutoWeek’s slalom 2.8 MPH faster than the A6 3.0T Premium Plus Quattro (44.8 vs. 42 MPH).

The CTS V-Sport executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the A6 2.0T Premium Quattro (24.5 seconds @ .78 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CTS V-Sport’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the A6’s (36.7 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The front grille of the CTS (except V-Sport or Driver Assist Package) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A6 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The CTS uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A6 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the CTS V-Sport is quieter than the A6 3.0T Premium Plus Quattro (66 vs. 68 dB).

Passenger Space

The CTS has 3.2 inches more front headroom and 4.4 inches more front legroom than the A6.

Ergonomics

The CTS has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A6 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

On a hot day the CTS’ driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the A6 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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

When the CTS is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A6’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The CTS offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A6 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The CTS Premium/V-Sport’s Automatic Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A6 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CTS owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CTS will cost $835 less than the A6 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CTS is less expensive to operate than the A6 because typical repairs cost much less on the CTS than the A6, including $246 less for a water pump, $545 less for a starter, $1379 less for fuel injection and $2 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its May 2017 issue and they ranked the Cadillac CTS V-Sport Premium Luxury higher than the Audi A6 3.0T Competition Quattro.

The CTS V-Sport was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 6 of the last 11 years. The A6 hasn’t been picked since 2014.

Motor Trend selected the CTS as their 2014 Car of the Year. The A6 has never been chosen.

The CTS was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The A6 has never been an “All Star.”

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

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