If you’re interested in a luxury sedan that offers lots of equipment, a smooth ride, a wide variety of powertrain choices and cutting-edge technology, the 2016 Audi A6 and the 2016 Cadillac CTS are probably on your shopping list. But which is better? And which one should you get? To help you answer those questions, we’ve created a close comparison of the two models. But first, let’s see what’s new with the CTS and the A6 for the 2016 model year.
2016 Audi A6
The A6 receives several changes for the latest model year. There’s more power for the sedan’s 4- and 6-cylinder engines, along with revised styling, a revised infotainment system, faster in-car Wi-Fi and an improved S tronic automatic transmission in the sedan’s base model, replacing last year’s continuously variable transmission. See all 2016 Audi A6 models available near you
2016 Cadillac CTS
The CTS receives an updated 3.6-liter V6 for the latest model year, along with a new 8-speed automatic transmission and standard fuel-saving stop/start technology. The CTS also adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for 2016, along with a newly standard backup camera and a newly optional 360-degree camera system. See all 2016 Cadillac CTS models available near you
According to the reliability experts at J.D. Power, the Cadillac CTS earned an above-average score for reliability. That tops the A6’s reliability, as J.D. Power lists the Audi as below average. The CTS also has an advantage in warranty coverage: While the Audi offers 4 years or 50,000 miles of total coverage (bumper-to-bumper and powertrain), the CTS boasts 4 years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and 6 years or 70,000 miles of powertrain protection.
The result? While long-term reliability won’t matter to shoppers who lease these cars for only a few years, drivers looking to buy an A6 or CTS and own it for a long period of time will probably prefer the Cadillac to the Audi, both in terms of dependability and warranty coverage.
The A6 offers four engine choices. Base models get a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque mated to front- or all-wheel drive. Drivers looking for more power can get the all-wheel-drive-only A6 3.0T, which uses a 333-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6, while shoppers interested in better gas mileage can opt for a 240-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that gets up to 24 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. For those who want even stronger performance, there’s the S6, which offers a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 that makes 450 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.
Meanwhile, the CTS also offers four engines. Base models use a 270-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that’s available with rear- or all-wheel drive and gets up to 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy. Drivers looking for more power can upgrade to a 335-hp 3.6-liter V6 that returns 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy or a turbocharged version of that engine that makes 420 hp and can hit 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds. Of course, there’s also the wildly fast CTS-V, which boasts a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that makes an amazing 640 hp and reaches 60 mph in a lightning-quick 4 seconds.
So which is better? From a performance standpoint, we’d go with the CTS. Not only does it offer more standard horsepower, but it also comes in an ultra-high performance version (the CTS-V) that you can’t get with the A6. Plus, the CTS uses enthusiast-friendly rear-wheel drive, rather than similar (but not quite as performance-oriented) all-wheel drive. With that said, drivers who prioritize gas mileage will probably prefer the A6, as it offers excellent fuel economy with its base-level model and its turbodiesel variant.
In crash testing carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, both the CTS and the A6 earned a perfect 5-star overall score. The A6 also earned the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Disappointingly, the CTS fell short of that score after earning a mediocre Marginal score in the firm’s challenging small-overlap front crash test.
As for safety features, both the CTS and the A6 are up on all the latest equipment. Both models come standard with all the basics including side-curtain airbags, traction and stability control and anti-lock brakes. As for options, the two models offer forward-collision warning with automatic braking, a blind spot monitoring system, lane-keep assist and multi-angle camera systems.
Of course, there are some differences between the two models. For example, the A6 offers a night-vision camera system and a feature that flashes the brake lights if you’re in danger of being rear-ended. On the other hand, the CTS comes standard with a backup camera, while it’s still an option in the A6. Generally speaking, however, both sedans will be highly rewarding to shoppers who prioritize safety.
In terms of technology, both the CTS and A6 come fully loaded with the latest gadgets. Each model offers a seemingly unending list of equipment for technophiles to choose from. As a result, we think both models would be great choices for drivers into technology and equipment.
With that said, there are some differences between the two. For instance, only the CTS offers an automated parking system, while night vision is only available in the A6. Only the CTS boasts available magnetic suspension technology, which is highly impressive. And the A6 offers more available stereo speakers than the CTS, with a whopping total of 14.
In other words, while these two cars are very advanced, there are some differences between them, so if you want a specific gadget or feature, you may want to check their equipment lists to make sure the item you want is available.
The CTS and the A6 offer very similar starting prices: The A6 starts around $48,600 with shipping, compared to $46,600 for the Cadillac. The Audi’s slight premium continues throughout the trim levels until you get to the high-performance Cadillac CTS-V, which starts at roughly $85,000 and has no Audi A6 counterpart.
Due to the A6’s slight price premium, we’re inclined to say the CTS is the better value, as these two cars are fairly closely aligned in our comparison.
The 2016 Cadillac CTS and the 2016 Audi A6 are both compelling luxury sedans with a lot of impressive attributes like high-tech gadgets, impressive luxury features, a wide range of engine choices, available all-wheel drive and extensive safety equipment. But for our money, the CTS is a better choice. It’s cheaper than the A6, and it offers stronger reliability, enthusiast-friendly rear-wheel drive, more standard and optional horsepower, GM’s excellent magnetic ride-control suspension and a few more standard features.
Its sole drawback is a mediocre safety rating from the IIHS, but that’s not enough to sway our opinion towards the A6, excellent though it may be.