2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Acura TLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A5 Sportback have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Acura TLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 TLX 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A5 Sportback. But it costs extra on the TLX.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the A5 Sportback’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The TLX doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the A5 Sportback and the TLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A5 Sportback is safer than the TLX:

 

A5 Sportback

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

171

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.3/.4 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.42/.52

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1 kN

4.4/5 kN

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 Acura TLX:

 

A5 Sportback

TLX

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

187

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

57 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

678 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A5 Sportback the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The TLX was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the TLX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

There are over 11 percent more Audi dealers than there are Acura 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 TLX’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the A5 Sportback’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the TLX 3.5 SOHC V6’s camshafts. If the TLX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 6 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 42 more horsepower (248 vs. 206) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 182) than the TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A5 Sportback is faster than the Acura TLX:

 

A5 Sportback

TLX 4 cyl.

TLX V6

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2.6 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

6.8 sec

5.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

17.9 sec

14.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

7.3 sec

6.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

3.8 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

4.5 sec

4 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

15.4 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

93 MPH

100 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the TLX SH-AWD (23 city/34 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the A5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The TLX doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A5 Sportback higher (5 out of 10) than the Acura TLX (3). This means the A5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the TLX every 15,000 miles.

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 TLX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A5 Sportback

TLX

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 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 TLX are solid, not vented.

The A5 Sportback stops much shorter than the TLX:

 

A5 Sportback

TLX

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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

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 TLX’s standard 55 series tires. The A5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the TLX A-Spec’s 40 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 TLX.

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 TLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the TLX (111.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The A5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.8% to 45.2%) than the TLX’s (59.7% to 40.3%). This gives the A5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The A5 Sportback Prestige handles at .94 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the A5 Sportback’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (38.4 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The A5 Sportback’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the TLX SH-AWD’s (38.4 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

The A5 Sportback is 4.4 inches shorter than the TLX, making the A5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A5 Sportback Prestige is quieter than the TLX:

 

A5 Sportback

TLX

At idle

38 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

72 dB

74 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

The A5 Sportback has 2.2 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more rear headroom and .6 inches more rear legroom than the TLX.

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Sportback has a much larger trunk than the TLX (21.8 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A5 Sportback has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The TLX doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

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

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 26% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.

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 TLX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the A5 Sportback and the TLX 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 TLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The A5 Sportback’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The TLX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 TLX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 TLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

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

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