2019 Cadillac CTS vs. 2019 Mercedes CLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 CLS doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the CTS and the CLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.


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

The CTS’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CLS’ (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 CLS.

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.


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.


The CTS V-Sport’s 3.6 turbo V6 produces 46 lbs.-ft. more torque (430 vs. 384) than the AMG CLS 53’s optional 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the CTS V-Sport is faster than the CLS 450:




Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

12.8 sec

13.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111.9 MPH

103.5 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 CLS 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 CLS doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The CTS stops much shorter than the CLS:





70 to 0 MPH

149 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CTS’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CLS (255/35R19 vs. 245/40R19).

The CTS’ optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CLS’ 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CTS’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.3% to 49.7%) than the CLS’ (53.9% to 46.1%). This gives the CTS more stable handling and braking.

The CTS V-Sport handles at .96 G’s, while the CLS 450 4MATIC pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CTS V-Sport executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the CLS 450 4MATIC (24.5 seconds @ .78 average G’s vs. 25.8 seconds @ .72 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CTS V-Sport’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the CLS’ (36.7 feet vs. 39.1 feet). The CTS AWD’s turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the CLS’ (39 feet vs. 39.1 feet).


The Cadillac CTS may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 500 pounds less than the Mercedes CLS.

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 CLS 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 CLS 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 CLS is rated a Compact.

The CTS has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CLS (97 vs. 93).

The CTS has 3.5 inches more front headroom, 3.8 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear legroom than the CLS.

Cargo Capacity

The CTS has a much larger trunk than the CLS (13.7 vs. 11.9 cubic feet).

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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CTS owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CTS will cost $1930 to $9305 less than the CLS over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Cadillac CTS will be $30873 to $32167 less than for the Mercedes CLS.


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

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

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

The Cadillac CTS outsold the Mercedes CLS by almost 12 to one during 2018.

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

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