2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Audi A6 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Active Brake Assist optional in the C-Class Sedan as “Superior.” The A6 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

To help make backing safer, the C-Class Sedan’s 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 C-Class Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A6 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The C-Class Sedan has standard Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call, 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 C-Class Sedan and the A6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Audi A6:

 

C-Class Sedan

A6

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

138

144

Neck Injury Risk

24%

30%

Neck Stress

203 lbs.

252 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Audi A6:

 

C-Class Sedan

A6

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

76

211

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

238 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

HIC

248

464

Spine Acceleration

43 G’s

51 G’s

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

Warranty

There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the C-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The C 300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 3 more horsepower (255 vs. 252) than the A6 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG C 43 Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 45 more horsepower (385 vs. 340) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 325) than the A6 3.0T’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the C 300 4MATIC Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the A6 2.0T Quattro (22 city/33 hwy vs. 22 city/31 hwy).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes C-Class Sedan higher (5 out of 10) than the Audi A6 (3 to 5). This means the C-Class Sedan produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A6 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the A6.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the AMG C 43 Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the A6:

 

AMG C 43

A6 2.0T

A6 3.0T

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

13.6 inches

14 inches

The C-Class Sedan’s 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 C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the A6:

 

C-Class

A6

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-Class Sedan 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 C-Class Sedan offers an available 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 C-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The A6 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the A6 2.0T Premium Quattro pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the A6 2.0T Premium Quattro (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the A6’s (36.8 feet vs. 39 feet). The AMG C 43 Sedan’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the A6’s (38.7 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 pounds less than the Audi A6.

The C-Class Sedan is 9.7 inches shorter than the A6, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan 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.

Ergonomics

The C-Class Sedan 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.

If the windows are left open on the C-Class Sedan 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 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 C-Class Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The A6 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the C-Class Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The A6’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking 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.

Model Availability

The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Audi A6 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the A6 because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the A6, including $56 less for front brake pads, $348 less for a starter, $1274 less for fuel injection, $3 less for front struts and $246 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The A6 has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Audi A6/S6 by almost six to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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