Which to Buy: Cadillac CTS vs. Audi A6

These two good-looking, performance luxury sedans are worth your consideration.

H2H: Cadillac CTS vs Audi A6 | CarMax

November 2016

There are cars that do the job, and there are cars that get the job done with style. The Cadillac CTS and Audi A6 are two examples of the latter. They’re the kind of cars you can treat yourself to as a reward for hard work, or perhaps as an indulgence. If you’re fortunate to shop for a car like this, it can be mighty hard to choose between the two. Here’s a CarMax comparison to help, whether you’re searching for a used Audi or a used Cadillac for sale.

Cadillac CTS Overview

Now in its third iteration, the CTS debuted in 2003 as a premium sports sedan with distinctive, sharp-edged styling. The second generation emerged five years later in coupe, four-door sedan, and wagon forms. The car grew bigger starting with the 2013 Cadillac CTS, gaining four inches in length and sitting an inch lower to the ground. This third generation is more truly mid-sized than previous models, with proportions very similar to the Mercedes E-class cars. And like the Mercedes, the CTS made the CarMax Top 15 Luxury Cars of 2016 list.

Powertrains

The base CTS engine is a 2.0L, turbocharged four-cylinder that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine makes over 200 hp, which is enough to get the CTS off the line sharply. A 3.0L V6 option was dropped from third generation vehicles. If you’re seeking more performance, look for cars equipped with the 3.6L V6 that puts some 330 hp through an eight-speed transmission. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, check out the ultra-quick CTS-V’s turbocharged V6 or 550 hp V8. Rear wheel drive is standard across the CTS range, although AWD is available (look for the CTS4 badge on the trunk).

Interior and equipment

The CTS base trim level is Standard, although most of these models are ordered in Luxury, Performance, or range-topping Premium trim levels. An eight-inch touchscreen is well-integrated into the center stack console, which incorporates touch controls that take a little getting used to. On the upside, they do create an exceptionally smooth and stylish appearance. Higher trim levels get leather upholstery and high-end audio systems, plus an array of optional features.

Audi A6 Overview

Audi’s mid-sized offering first arrived in 1994; the second generation followed in 1997, and the third set of A6 models came in 2004. The current model appeared in 2010, although sharp-eyed observers will notice several updates to the 2016 Audi A6. Note that coupe models are badged as A7s. A wagon is available, sold as the A6 Avant, although you might have to look hard to find one.

Powertrains

Like the Cadillac, the Audi’s base engine is a lusty, 2.0L turbo four. The difference here, though, is that it only powered the front wheels until 2013, when the A6 was offered with Audi’s all-wheel drive Quattro system. Quattro is available with the 3.0L turbo/eight-speed transmission combo, the 3-liter turbodiesel, and the S6 performance model that comes with a 4.0L, turbocharged V8.

Interior and equipment

Trim levels start with Premium, go to Premium Plus, and then to Prestige. Like Mercedes, Audi has chosen to mount their touchscreen above, rather than within, the center stack console. This widely—praised system allows a more traditional, horizontal flow of air ventilation. The A6’s ergonomics are excellent and the seats are comfortable. It’s an unflashy but elegant and well-executed interior, with high quality materials and great fit and finish.

Pluses and minuses

Nearly the same size inside and out and equally well equipped, these cars are still quite different. The Cadillac’s character is more extroverted, with distinctive looks that convey an aggressive, sporting nature. Meanwhile, the A6’s styling is more reserved; it’s the very model of Teutonic discretion and, correspondingly, it delivers a firmer ride than the Cadillac. It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll find greater choice when seeking a used Cadillac CTS for sale than an A6.

City EPA gas mileage numbers for the two are almost identical at 18 mpg. The Audi delivers up to 27 mpg on the highway and the CTS delivers up to 29 mpg) and both get five-star crash ratings from the NHTSA.

Other contenders

Buyers searching for a used Cadillac or Audi will find several alternatives that deserve their consideration. The 5-Series BMW, the E-Class Mercedes, the Infinity G37 (and its predecessor, the G35), and the Lexus ES 350, are all vehicles that deliver luxury and performance with style. 



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