2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2018 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A5 Sportback has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The ES Series doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A5 Sportback has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A5 Sportback Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ES Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the A5 Sportback and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi A5 Sportback is safer than the Lexus ES Series:

 

A5 Sportback

ES Series

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

236

304

Neck Injury Risk

25%

33%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

132 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

147 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

324/341 lbs.

520/514 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A5 Sportback is safer than the Lexus ES Series:

 

A5 Sportback

ES Series

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

219 G’s

245 G’s

Hip Force

308 lbs.

510 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

879 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ES Series’ (12 vs. 6 years).

There are over 26 percent more Audi dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the A5 Sportback’s warranty.

Reliability

The Audi A5 Sportback’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the ES Series’ engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (248 vs. 200) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 199) than the ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 248) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A5 Sportback is faster than the ES 300h:

 

A5

ES Series

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

7.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

4.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

90 MPH

Top Speed

127 MPH

117 MPH

Transmission

The A5 Sportback offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The ES Series doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The A5 Sportback’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The ES Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A5 Sportback

ES Series

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11 inches

The A5 Sportback’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ES Series are solid, not vented.

The A5 Sportback stops much shorter than the ES Series:

 

A5 Sportback

ES Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the ES Series (245/40R18 vs. 215/55R17). The A5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ES Series (255/35R19 vs. 225/45R18).

The A5 Sportback’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ES Series’ standard 55 series tires. The A5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the ES Series’ optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A5 Sportback has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ES Series. The A5 Sportback’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the ES Series.

Suspension and Handling

The A5 Sportback offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The ES Series’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A5 Sportback has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The ES Series doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The A5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.8% to 45.2%) than the ES Series’ (59% to 41%). This gives the A5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The A5 Sportback Prestige handles at .94 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The A5 Sportback is 7 inches shorter than the ES Series, making the A5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Sportback has a much larger trunk than the ES Series (21.8 vs. 15.2 cubic feet).

The A5 Sportback’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the A5 Sportback’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The ES Series doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the ES Series. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The A5 Sportback Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The ES Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the A5 Sportback and the ES Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the A5 Sportback is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The ES Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A5 Sportback to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The ES Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The A5 Sportback has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the ES Series. The A5 Sportback Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ES Series.

The A5 Sportback Prestige’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Lexus ES Series isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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