2019 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2019 Cadillac XTS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Cadillac XTS doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S-Class’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The XTS doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The rear seatbelts optional on the S-Class 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 XTS doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the S-Class helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The XTS doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The S-Class’ 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 XTS doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S-Class and the XTS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.


J.D. Power and Associates rated the S-Class third among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The XTS isn’t in the top three.

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’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 11 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.


The S-Class has more powerful engines than the XTS:




S 450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

S 560 4.0 turbo V8

463 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

AMG S 63 4.0 turbo V8

603 HP

664 lbs.-ft.

AMG S 65/Maybach S 650 6.0 turbo V12

621 HP

738 lbs.-ft.


304 HP

264 lbs.-ft.

XTS V-Sport 3.6 turbo V6

410 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the S 560 is faster than the XTS V-Sport:




Zero to 60 MPH

4.9 sec

5.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.5 sec

12.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.2 sec

5.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.4 sec

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.4 sec

13.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108 MPH

105 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S-Class gets better fuel mileage than the XTS:









19 city/28 hwy




19 city/28 hwy






17 city/26 hwy




18 city/28 hwy

16 city/23 hwy

Turbo V6/Auto V-Sport



17 city/27 hwy




AMG 63/Auto

17 city/26 hwy




Maybach 560/Auto

16 city/25 hwy



An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the S-Class 560/63’s fuel efficiency. The XTS doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the S-Class Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The XTS doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S-Class’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The XTS doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The S-Class’ standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the XTS FWD’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 19 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The S-Class V12’s standard fuel tank has 4.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the XTS AWD’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 20 gallons).


A nine-speed automatic is available on the Mercedes S-Class, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the XTS.

The S-Class 63/65’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The XTS doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the XTS:


S 450/560

S 63/65


Front Rotors

14.6 inches

16.5 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

14.2 inches

12.4 inches

The S-Class S 63/65 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The XTS doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The S-Class stops much shorter than the XTS:





70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

116 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S 63’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the XTS (F:255/40R20 & R:285/35R20 vs. 245/45R19).

The S 63’s 285/35R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XTS’ optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the S-Class can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The XTS doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The S-Class has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the S-Class flat and controlled during cornering. The XTS’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the XTS, which uses coil springs in front. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The S-Class offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Cadillac doesn’t offer an active suspension on the XTS.

The S-Class’ 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 XTS doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 12.9 inches longer than on the XTS (124.6 inches vs. 111.7 inches). The Maybach S-Class’ wheelbase is 20.8 inches longer than on the XTS (132.5 inches vs. 111.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S-Class is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the XTS.

The S-Class handles at .88 G’s, while the XTS AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S 600 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the XTS AWD (25.8 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S AMG S 65’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the XTS’ (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).


As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the S 560 is quieter than the XTS AWD (75 vs. 78 dB).

Passenger Space

The S-Class has 7.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the XTS (112 vs. 104.2).

The S-Class has .7 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room and 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the XTS.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the S-Class’ available rear seats recline. The XTS’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S-Class easier. The S-Class’ trunk lift-over height is 27.4 inches, while the XTS’ liftover is 30 inches.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the S-Class has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The XTS doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the S-Class is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the XTS. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.


If the windows are left open on the S-Class 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 XTS can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The S-Class has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The XTS doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The S-Class’ 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 XTS’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the S-Class to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The XTS doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

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

Optional air conditioned front and rear seats keep the S-Class’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The XTS doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

Model Availability

The Mercedes S-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Cadillac XTS isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the S-Class owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the S-Class with a number “1” insurance rate while the XTS is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S-Class is less expensive to operate than the XTS because it costs $225 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the S-Class than the XTS, including $33 less for front brake pads, $59 less for a fuel pump and $559 less for a timing belt/chain.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes S-Class and the Cadillac XTS, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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