Cadillac CTS tops in luxury sedans

The Cadillac CTS posted an “Excellent” overall score and outpointed competitors from Acura, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Lincoln in Consumer Reports’ recent testing of five luxury sedans.
The CTS earned an “Excellent” overall road test score of 84, outdistancing freshened versions of the Acura RL, which earned a “Very Good” score with 80 points; the redesigned Mercedes-Benz E350 and freshened Audi A6, which both earned “Very Good” scores of 79 points; and the Lincoln MKS, which earned a “Very Good” road test score of 75 points. The CTS trails only the Infiniti M35 among all luxury sedans in the category that CR has tested, but below-average reliability prevents CR from recommending it.
The new Mercedes-Benz E350 has a slightly roomier interior and retains the same high-quality materials and fit and finish of the previous E-class, but it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor’s great ride and handling. The Audi A6, now 5 years old, still holds its own against even the newest luxury sedans. The Acura RL has a smooth and refined powertrain, but it’s not the most exciting sedan to drive. The Lincoln MKS came with the uplevel EcoBoost turbocharged engine, which is bundled with AWD.
Prices for the luxury sedans as tested ranged from $50,660 for the Acura to $55,245 for the Mercedes-Benz. Only the Acura is recommended. The Mercedes-Benz is
too new to have reliability
data. Because CR tested the Audi A6 3.0T and MKS EcoBoost with newly introduced engines, CR cannot predict their reliability. CR only Recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey of its more than 7 million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.
CRs other findings include:
The Cadillac CTS gives up virtually nothing to the premium European cars tested in terms of refinement, powertrain, ride or handling. The ride is supple and controlled and handling is agile and sporty. The Cadillac CTS Premium RWD ($50,995, Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price as tested), is powered by a 304-hp, 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine that delivers lively performance and gets 19 mpg overall in CR’s own fuel economy tests.
The Acura RL is a pleasant and refined car, but the driving experience isn’t special enough to justify its $50,000 price tag. The car is full of electronic conveniences, but the ride and backseat are not as comfortable as those found in competing vehicles. The Acura RL AWD ($50,660 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 300-hp, 3.7-liter V6 engine that is smooth and slick and delivers 19 mpg overall on premium gasoline.
The redesigned Mercedes-Benz E350 doesn’t ride as comfortably or handle as well as its predecessor. Handling is still capable, but not exceptional, and the ride isn’t as absorbent as before, but the E350 is quick and quiet, solid, comfortable and luxurious. The Mercedes-Benz E350 RWD, ($55,245 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers smooth and strong performance and 19 mpg overall on premium fuel.
Audi freshened the A6 with a new, supercharged engine that improves performance while retaining decent fuel economy. Handling remains responsive and secure, the seats are very comfortable, and the interior is nicely finished. The A6 Premium 3.0T Quattro AWD, $53,075 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 300-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that delivers strong acceleration and 20 mpg overall on premium fuel.
The Lincoln MKS, which is based on the Ford Taurus, doesn’t do much to set itself apart for its higher price. It has many amenities and well-finished interior but the driving experience is ordinary. The Lincoln MKS EcoBoost AWD, ($52,770 MSRP as tested,) is powered by a 355-hp, 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine that provides strong performance and gets 18 mpg overall.

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