2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Lexus GS Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A5 Sportback’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The GS Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 GS 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.

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

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 GS 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 GS 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.

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 GS Series has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the GS 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 GS Series’ 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 GS 300’s camshafts. If the GS Series’ cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

Engine

The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (248 vs. 241) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the GS 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A5 Sportback is faster than the GS 350:

 

A5

GS Series

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

5.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

13.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

3.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.1 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the GS 350 AWD (23 city/34 hwy vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A5 Sportback’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The GS Series doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 Sportback uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The GS Series requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 GS 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 GS Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A5

GS Series

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 inches

The A5 Sportback stops much shorter than the GS Series:

 

A5

GS Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the GS Series (245/40R18 vs. 235/45R18). The A5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GS Series (255/35R19 vs. 235/40R19).

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 GS 300’s standard 50 series tires. The A5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the GS Series F Sport’s 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A5 Sportback has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the GS 300.

Suspension and Handling

The A5 Sportback Prestige handles at .94 G’s, while the GS 350 pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The A5 Sportback is 5.8 inches shorter than the GS Series, 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 GS 350:

 

A5 Sportback

GS Series

At idle

38 dB

40 dB

Full-Throttle

72 dB

79 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

64 dB

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Sportback has a much larger trunk than the GS Series (21.8 vs. 18.4 cubic feet).

The A5 Sportback’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The GS 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 GS 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

A Service Interval Display is standard on the A5 Sportback to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Lexus doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the GS Series.

Ergonomics

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 GS Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 GS Series 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 GS Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A5 Sportback owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A5 Sportback will cost $1265 less than the GS Series over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A5 Sportback will be $4424 to $18031 less than for the Lexus GS Series.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Lexus GS Series by almost four to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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