2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Mercedes AMG CLA 45

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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 AMG CLA 45 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 AMG CLA 45 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 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The AMG CLA 45 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.

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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A5 Sportback and the AMG CLA 45 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

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 AMG CLA 45 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the AMG CLA 45’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A5 Sportback’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the AMG CLA 45’s 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the AMG CLA 45 (23 city/34 hwy vs. 23 city/30 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the A5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 Sportback uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The AMG CLA 45 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Tires and Wheels

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the AMG CLA 45 (111.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 Sportback is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than on the AMG CLA 45.

Passenger Space

The A5 Sportback has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 8 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the AMG CLA 45.

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Sportback has a much larger trunk than the CLA 45 (21.8 vs. 13.1 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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

The A5 Sportback uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The AMG CLA 45 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the A5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the AMG CLA 45. 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

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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the A5 Sportback Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the A5 Sportback and the AMG CLA 45 have standard heated front seats. 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 AMG CLA 45.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the A5 Sportback Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the A5 Sportback Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Mercedes AMG CLA 45 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 $8275 to $10020 less than the AMG CLA 45 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 $11064 to $17105 less than for the Mercedes AMG CLA 45.

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

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