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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S5 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 ATS-V doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The S5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The ATS-V doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The S5’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The S5 has standard Pre Sense Front, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The ATS-V offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
The S5 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 ATS-V 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.
The S5 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ATS-V doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The S5 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ATS-V only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
Both the S5 and the ATS-V have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 185 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ATS-V has not been tested, yet.
The S5’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ATS-V’s (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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 16 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.
Regenerative brakes improve the S5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S5’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 ATS-V doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi S5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The ATS-V requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Cadillac ATS-V (3). This means the S5 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ATS-V every 15,000 miles.
The Audi S5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the ATS-V.
All-wheel drive, available in the S5, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all-wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Cadillac ATS-V is not available with all-wheel drive.
The S5 stops shorter than the ATS-V:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
For better traction, the S5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ATS-V (265/30R20 vs. 255/35R18).
The S5’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ATS-V’s 35 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The ATS-V’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The S5 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ATS-V; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S5 is 2 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than on the ATS-V.
For better maneuverability, the S5’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the ATS-V’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.4 feet).
As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the S5 Prestige Coupe is quieter than the ATS-V:
70 MPH Cruising
The S5 Coupe has 1.2 inches more front shoulder room and 1 inch more rear headroom than the ATS-V.
The S5 Coupe has a larger trunk than the ATS-V (10.9 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).
With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S5 offers cargo security. The ATS-V’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S5’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
If the windows are left open on the S5 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 ATS-V can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The S5’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 ATS-V’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The ATS-V doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S5 Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The ATS-V doesn’t offer headlight washers.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the S5 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The ATS-V doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the S5 Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The S5 has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the ATS-V.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S5 (except Premium) offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The ATS-V doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The S5 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ATS-V doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Audi S5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Cadillac ATS-V isn’t available as a convertible or four door.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi S5 will be $2809 to $16252 less than for the Cadillac ATS-V.
The Audi A5/S5/RS 5 outsold the Cadillac ATS by over 20 to one during 2019.
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