2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Lexus IS Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A5 Sportback’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The IS Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 IS 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 IS 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 IS Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the A5 Sportback and the IS 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 IS Series:

 

A5

IS Series

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

164

274

Neck Injury Risk

26%

36%

Neck Stress

232 lbs.

339 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

431/395 lbs.

271/602 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

236

264

Neck Injury Risk

25%

55%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

197 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

64 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

324/341 lbs.

426/505 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 IS Series:

 

A5

IS Series

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

308 lbs.

474 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

15 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

806 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 IS 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 IS 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 IS 300 RWD’s camshafts. If the IS 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 IS 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 236) than the IS 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

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

 

A5

IS Series

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

5.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

3.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

3.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the IS 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 IS 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 IS 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 IS 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 IS 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 IS 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 IS Series:

 

A5

IS Series

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 inches

The A5 Sportback stops much shorter than the IS Series:

 

A5

IS Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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

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 IS Series’ standard 45 series tires. The A5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the IS Series’ optional 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 IS Series. The A5 Sportback’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the IS Series.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 Sportback is 2.1 inches wider in the front and .7 inches wider in the rear than on the IS Series.

The A5 Sportback Prestige handles at .94 G’s, while the IS Series AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A5 Sportback Prestige is quieter than the IS 350 F Sport:

 

A5 Sportback

IS Series

At idle

38 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

72 dB

73 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

65 dB

Passenger Space

The A5 Sportback has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more rear headroom, 2.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the IS Series.

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Sportback has a much larger trunk than the IS Series (21.8 vs. 10.8 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 IS Series doesn’t offer a power trunk.

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 IS Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the A5 Sportback and the IS 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 IS Series 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 IS 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 IS Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A5 Sportback has standard extendable sun visors. The IS Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The A5 Sportback has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the IS 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 IS 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 IS Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Lexus IS 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 $910 to $5580 less than the IS Series over a five-year period.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Lexus IS Series by 16% during the 2018 model year.

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

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