2019 Cadillac CTS vs. 2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan

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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the CTS and C-Class Sedan have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The CTS has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The C-Class Sedan’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

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

Both the CTS and the C-Class Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver 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, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

CTS

C-Class Sedan

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Stress

174 lbs.

203 lbs.

Neck Compression

7 lbs.

62 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

277/456 lbs.

421/449 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

45%

60%

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

219 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, results indicate that the Cadillac CTS is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

CTS

C-Class Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

287 lbs.

452 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

83

459

Spine Acceleration

49 G’s

67 G’s

Hip Force

701 lbs.

949 lbs.

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 Mercedes covers the C-Class Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the C-Class Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The CTS’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Cadillac pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the CTS. Cadillac will pay for an oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C-Class Sedan.

There are over 2 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CTS’ warranty.

Reliability

The battery on the CTS is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the CTS’ battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The C-Class Sedan’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

Engine

The CTS has more powerful engines than the C-Class Sedan:

 

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.

C 300 Sedan 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

255 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

AMG C 43 Sedan 3.0 turbo V6

385 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

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 C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The CTS has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the C-Class Sedan (19 vs. 17.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The CTS stops much shorter than the C-Class Sedan:

 

CTS

C-Class

 

70 to 0 MPH

149 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CTS has larger standard tires than the C-Class Sedan (245/45R17 vs. 225/50R17). The CTS’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the C-Class Sedan (255/35R19 vs. 225/40R19).

The CTS’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the C-Class Sedan’s standard 50 series tires. The CTS’ optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the C-Class Sedan’s optional 40 series front tires.

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. Run-flat tires aren’t available on some tire packages on the C-Class Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CTS’ wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the C-Class Sedan (114.6 inches vs. 111.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the CTS is 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the C-Class Sedan.

The CTS’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.3% to 49.7%) than the C-Class Sedan’s (53% to 47%). This gives the CTS more stable handling and braking.

The CTS V-Sport handles at .96 G’s, while the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CTS V-Sport executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC (24.5 seconds @ .78 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the CTS has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The C-Class Sedan uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The design of the Cadillac CTS amounts to more than styling. The CTS has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .3 Cd. That is lower than the C-Class Sedan (.3 to .32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the CTS get better fuel mileage.

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

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the CTS a Mid-size car, while the C-Class Sedan is rated a Compact.

The CTS has 7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the C-Class Sedan (97 vs. 90).

The CTS has 3.3 inches more front headroom, 4 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom and .2 inches more rear legroom than the C-Class Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The CTS has a much larger trunk than the C-Class Sedan (13.7 vs. 12.6 cubic feet).

Towing

The CTS V6 offers up to a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The C-Class Sedan has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

Both the CTS and the C-Class Sedan offer optional heated front seats. The CTS Premium/V-Sport Premium also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the C-Class Sedan.

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 C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CTS is less expensive to operate than the C-Class Sedan because it costs $108 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CTS than the C-Class Sedan, including $251 less for a water pump, $197 less for a starter, $105 less for fuel injection and $47 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The CTS V-Sport was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 6 of the last 12 years. The C-Class Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the CTS as their 2014 Car of the Year. The C-Class Sedan has never been chosen.

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

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