2019 Mercedes E-Class Sedan vs. 2019 Cadillac CTS

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 Cadillac CTS 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 CTS doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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 CTS doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the E-Class Sedan and the CTS 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mercedes E-Class Sedan is safer than the CTS:

 

E-Class Sedan

CTS

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

173

183

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

1.4/1 kN

5.9/3.7 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

14%/1%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.43/.4

.43/.74

Tibia forces R/L

3/2 kN

5.7/7.8 kN

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 CTS was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the E-Class Sedan has a standard 850-amp battery. The CTS’ 730-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 45 points higher than the CTS.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 27th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 13 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

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

 

Horsepower

E 450 4MATIC Sedan 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

AMG E 53 Sedan 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

429 HP

CTS 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

268 HP

CTS 3.6 DOHC V6

335 HP

CTS V-Sport 3.6 turbo V6

420 HP

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 CTS doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the E-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CTS V-Sport doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The E-Class Sedan 450/AMG 53’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the CTS (21.1 vs. 19 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 Cadillac CTS (3 to 5). This means the E-Class Sedan produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CTS 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 CTS.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the E-Class Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the CTS:

 

E-Class

AMG E 53

CTS

CTS V-Sport

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

14.6 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

14.2 inches

12.4 inches

12.4 inches

The E-Class Sedan stops shorter than the CTS:

 

E-Class

CTS

 

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

158 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

143 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the E-Class Sedan has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the CTS.

Suspension and Handling

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 CTS 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 CTS 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 CTS (115.7 inches vs. 114.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the E-Class Sedan is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the CTS.

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC handles at .93 G’s, while the CTS Luxury AWD pulls only .81 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 CTS Luxury AWD (25.1 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the E 300 Sedan 4MATIC is quieter than the CTS V-Sport Premium Luxury:

 

E-Class Sedan

CTS

At idle

38 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

76 dB

84 dB

Passenger Space

The E-Class Sedan has .9 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more rear legroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the CTS.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the E-Class Sedan easier. The E-Class Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 27.7 inches, while the CTS’ liftover is 29.5 inches.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the E-Class Sedan’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CTS doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the CTS, the E-Class Sedan has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

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 CTS can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The E-Class Sedan’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The CTS’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 CTS doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

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 CTS’ headlights are rated “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 CTS doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

Model Availability

The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Cadillac CTS isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or station wagon.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes E-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Cadillac CTS isn't recommended.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its May 2017 issue and the Mercedes E-Class Sedan 4MATIC won out over the Cadillac CTS V-Sport Premium Luxury.

The E-Class was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The CTS V-Sport hasn’t been picked since 2016.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the Cadillac CTS by over four to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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