2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Mercedes A-Class

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 Mercedes A-Class doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 A-Class 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 A-Class 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 A-Class.

To help make backing safer, the A5 Sportback’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A5 Sportback and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 around view monitors.

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 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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

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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 60 more horsepower (248 vs. 188) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A5 Sportback is faster than the Mercedes A 220:

 

A5 Sportback

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

16.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The A5 Sportback has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (15.3 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 A-Class doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A5 Sportback

A-Class

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.6 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 A-Class are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the A-Class (245/40R18 vs. 205/55R17). The A5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (255/35R19 vs. 205/55R17).

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the A-Class (111.2 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

Passenger Space

The A5 Sportback has .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

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 A-Class doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the A-Class. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

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 A-Class doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Mercedes A-Class isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

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

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