If you like your compact executive cars German and luxurious, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A5 are likely to be two you'd immediately consider buying.
While neither model is the absolute top of the price point, any luxury car is a hefty investment and deserves careful consideration. Let us help with our side-by-side comparison.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz is available in sedan, coupe and convertible form, and it is stunning in any form. Although it's far from cheap, your first impression will be that it's bigger and even more luxurious than it really is. It's handsome rather than pretty, although the convertible does border on pretty, especially with the roof down. The Audi is also available as a coupe and a convertible, but rather than a sedan completing the triumvirate, the third format is a four-door coupe Audi calls a Sportback. That's gives the A5 a slight advantage in terms of sleekness over the C-Class, but that edge is razor thin.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now close to a midsize rather than a regular compact, and it really does add to the comfort levels inside. Even the rear seats are usable for adults, although the sloping roof does compromise head room a little for taller passengers in the back. If the sloping roof in the C-Class is an issue for rear-seat passengers in the sedan, the ultra-sloping roof of the A5 means you wouldn't want four adults riding in there with you for long if you wanted to stay friends. The comfort offered by the design and materials is excellent in both cars, but the extra room in the C-Class makes it the winner here.
Engines and Performance
An inline-four is the standard engine in the 2017 Mercedes C-Class, which develops an impressive 241 horsepower in the entry level C 300 Sedan and the kind of performance you'd expect from that amount of power. You can opt for four different engines throughout the range, or make that five if you include the hybrid. If you add in the AMG® models, the performance is truly incredible. The Audi also employs an inline-four as its starting point for engines, but at just 220 horsepower it's a little disappointing at the side of the Mercedes. At the other end of the spectrum there is a 450 horsepower V-8 in the RS 5, but even then the C-Class eclipses it with a 503 horsepower V-8 of its own in the AMG® C 63 Sedan. All around, the better power and performance goes to the C-Class.
If you're prepared to spend the cash you can have just about anything you want in a C-Class, but that doesn't mean things are sparse in a standard entry level model by any means. A power driver seat, cruise control, keyless ignition, a rearview camera, and the COMAND® interface with capacitive touch pad and a 7.0-inch display are all standard in the C-Class. The Audi A5 isn't lacking in the standard features, but there are some glaring omissions that are frankly pretty hard to fathom. Options like Bluetooth® connectivity and even iPod/media connectivity are optional in the Audi, which is rather absurd for a luxury vehicle. This is another easy and big win for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Only the most discerning or hard to please buyers would be too disappointed with either of these compact luxury cars, but the A5 is starting to get left behind a little by the C-Class. The Mercedes has the edge in terms of power, performance and standard equipment, and it's starting to look a lot more contemporary than the Audi these days too. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class provides luxury performance, luxury comfort, and luxury features, making it the best choice in this head-to-head comparison.