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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A6 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 A6’s 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 A6 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The XTS doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A6. But it costs extra on the XTS.
A passive infrared night vision system optional on the A6 Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The XTS doesn’t offer a night vision system.
Both the A6 and the XTS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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 blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 55 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The XTS has not been fully tested, yet.
The A6’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the XTS’ (12 vs. 6 years).
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 21 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.
The A6 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 264) than the XTS’ standard 3.6 DOHC V6.
As tested in Motor Trend the A6 55 TFSI 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid is faster than the Cadillac XTS V6:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the A6 55 TFSI gets better fuel mileage than the XTS AWD (22 city/29 hwy vs. 17 city/26 hwy).
On the EPA test cycle the A6 45 TFSI Auto gets better fuel mileage than the XTS AWD with its standard engine (24 city/32 hwy vs. 17 city/26 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the A6’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 A6’s 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.
A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the XTS.
The A6 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The XTS doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.
The A6 stops shorter than the XTS:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the A6’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the XTS (255/40R20 vs. 245/45R19).
The A6 Prestige’s optional 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.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A6 Prestige offers optional 21-inch wheels. The XTS’ largest wheels are only 20-inches.
The A6 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the A6 flat and controlled during cornering. The XTS’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A6’s wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the XTS (115.1 inches vs. 111.7 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A6 is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the XTS.
The A6’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the XTS’ (57.8% to 42.2%). This gives the A6 more stable handling and braking.
The A6 Prestige handles at .93 G’s, while the XTS AWD pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The A6 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.7 seconds quicker than the XTS AWD (24.9 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the A6’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the XTS’ (36.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).
The A6 is 6.5 inches shorter than the XTS, making the A6 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The A6 has .3 inches more rear headroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the XTS.
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A6 easier. The A6’s trunk lift-over height is 27 inches, while the XTS’ liftover is 30 inches.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A6 (except Premium) offers an optional 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.
The A6’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the XTS’ (3500 vs. 1000 pounds).
The engine in the A6 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 A6 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 A6’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 XTS’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A6 Premium Plus/Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The XTS doesn’t offer headlight washers.
Insurance will cost less for the A6 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the A6 with a number “3” insurance rate while the XTS is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
The A6 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A6 will retain 35.72% to 36.55% of its original price after five years, while the XTS only retains 32.55% to 33.65%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A6 is less expensive to operate than the XTS because it costs $272 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the A6 than the XTS, including $27 less for a muffler, $3 less for front brake pads, $5 less for a fuel pump, $314 less for a timing belt/chain and $768 less for a power steering pump.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the A6 third among midsize premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The XTS isn’t in the top three in its category.
The Audi A6/S6 outsold the Cadillac XTS by 17% during the 2019 model year.
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