2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2019 Audi S5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The C-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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the S5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure 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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the C-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S5 Sportback has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the C-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-amp battery. The S5 Sportback’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 12th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the S5 Sportback (23 city/33 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

The C-Class Sedan has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the S5 Sportback (17.4 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes C-Class Sedan higher (6 out of 10) than the Audi S5 Sportback (5). This means the C-Class Sedan produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the S5 Sportback every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the S5 Sportback.

Tires and Wheels

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Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The C-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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the S5 Sportback’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 450 pounds less than the Audi S5 Sportback.

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The C-Class Sedan has .4 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the S5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The S5 Sportback’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The C-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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the S5 Sportback, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional 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.

The C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The C-Class Sedan’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The S5 Sportback’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the C-Class Sedan offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the C-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The S5 Sportback Prestige’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The C-Class Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the C-Class Sedan will cost $3805 less than the S5 Sportback over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mercedes C-Class Sedan will be $62 to $11497 less than for the Audi S5 Sportback.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/21

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-Class Sedan first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The S5 Sportback isn’t in the top three.

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The S5 Sportback has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Audi A5/S5/RS 5 by almost three to one during the 2019 model year.

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