2020 Mercedes CLS vs. 2019 Audi A5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/12

The CLS’ 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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the CLS and the A5 Sportback 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Mercedes CLS weighs 408 to 529 pounds more than the Audi A5 Sportback. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 CLS’ warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the CLS first among midsize premium cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The A5 Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.

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.

Engine

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The CLS’ 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 114 more horsepower (362 vs. 248) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 273) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mercedes CLS is faster than the Audi A5 Sportback:

CLS

A5 Sportback

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

5.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.3 sec

14 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.4 sec

6.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

3.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107 MPH

100 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/12

The CLS has 5.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the A5 Sportback (21.1 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 CLS higher (6 out of 10) than the Audi A5 Sportback (5). This means the CLS produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A5 Sportback every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes CLS, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A5 Sportback.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the CLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the A5 Sportback:

CLS

A5 Sportback

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

13 inches

The CLS stops shorter than the A5 Sportback:

CLS

A5 Sportback

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

164 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/12

For better traction and acceleration, the CLS has larger rear tires than the A5 Sportback (275/35R19 vs. 245/40R18). The CLS’ rear tires are larger than the largest rear tires available on the A5 Sportback (275/35R19 vs. 255/35R19).

The CLS’ standard 275/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A5 Sportback’s standard 40 series tires. The CLS’ optional 275/30R20 rear tires have a lower 30 series profile than the A5 Sportback’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CLS has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the A5 Sportback. The CLS’ optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the A5 Sportback.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the CLS can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The CLS has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The CLS’ 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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The CLS’ 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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CLS’ wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than on the A5 Sportback (115.7 inches vs. 111.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CLS is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than on the A5 Sportback.

Chassis

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The design of the Mercedes CLS amounts to more than styling. The CLS has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the A5 Sportback (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the CLS get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the CLS 450 4MATIC is quieter than the A5 Sportback Prestige (37 vs. 38 dB).

Passenger Space

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The CLS has .6 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the A5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the CLS offers cargo security. The A5 Sportback’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/12

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 CLS 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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the A5 Sportback, the CLS 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.

The CLS’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the CLS 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 A5 Sportback can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the CLS offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights. The CLS also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the CLS to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The CLS offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The CLS’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The A5 Sportback Prestige’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The CLS is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/12

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CLS second among midsize premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A5 Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.

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