2019 Mercedes E-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 E-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 rear seatbelts optional on the E-Class Sedan inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The A6 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

To help make backing safer, the E-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 E-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 E-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 E-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, 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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the E-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2018, a rating granted to only 28 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A6 was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2017.

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 E-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the E-Class Sedan’s reliability 29 points higher than the A6.

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 E-Class Sedan has more powerful engines than the A6:

 

Horsepower

Torque

E 450 4MATIC Sedan 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

AMG E 53 Sedan 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

429 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

A6 2.0T turbo 4 cyl.

252 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

A6 3.0T supercharged V6

340 HP

325 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the E-Class Sedan 53 AMG’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A6 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The E-Class Sedan 450/AMG 53’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the A6 (21.1 vs.

19.8 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes E-Class Sedan higher (5 out of 10) than the Audi A6 (3 to 5). This means the E-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 E-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 E 53 Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the A6 3.0T:

 

E-Class

A6

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

14 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

13 inches

The E-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 E-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the A6:

 

E-Class

A6

 

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 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 E-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 E-Class Sedan 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 E-Class Sedan has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Sedan’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The A6 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the A6 (115.7 inches vs. 114.6 inches).

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC handles at .93 G’s, while the A6 2.0T Premium Quattro pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the A6 2.0T Premium Quattro (25.1 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the E-Class Sedan’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the A6’s (38.2 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the E 300 Sedan 4MATIC is quieter than the A6 3.0T Premium Plus Quattro (38 vs. 39 dB).

Passenger Space

The E-Class Sedan has .2 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the A6.

Ergonomics

The E-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 E-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.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Sedan to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The A6 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The E-Class Sedan’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the A6’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the E-Class Sedan has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The A6 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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

When the E-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 E-Class Sedan 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 E-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 E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Audi A6 isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or station wagon.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes E-Class Sedan and the Audi A6, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its May 2017 issue and they ranked the Mercedes E-Class Sedan 4MATIC first. They ranked the Audi A6 3.0T Competition Quattro third.

The E-Class was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The A6 hasn’t been picked since 2014.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the Audi A6/S6 by over four to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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