2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Subaru Outback

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 Subaru Outback 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 Outback 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 Outback 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 Outback 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 Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A5 Sportback is safer than the Subaru Outback:

 

A5 Sportback

Outback

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

17 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

736 lbs.

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

Warranty

The A5 Sportback comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Outback’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

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

Reliability

The Audi A5 Sportback’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Outback’s engines use 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 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 25th in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 73 more horsepower (248 vs. 175) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 247) than the Outback 3.6R’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A5 Sportback is faster than the Subaru Outback:

 

A5 Sportback

Outback 2.5i

Outback 3.6R

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

3.3 sec

2.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

9.1 sec

6.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

26.3 sec

17.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

9.2 sec

7.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

4.4 sec

3.5 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

5.8 sec

4.3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

17 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

84 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

127 MPH

126 MPH

139 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the Outback 3.6R (23 city/34 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the A5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Outback 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 Outback doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 Outback doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A5

Outback

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

The A5 Sportback stops much shorter than the Outback:

 

A5

Outback

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the Outback (245/40R18 vs. 225/65R17). The A5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outback (255/35R19 vs. 225/65R17).

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 Outback 2.5i/2.5i Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The A5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Outback Limited/Touring’s 60 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 Outback 2.5i/2.5i Premium. The A5 Sportback’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Outback Limited/Touring.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the Outback (111.2 inches vs. 108.1 inches).

The A5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.8% to 45.2%) than the Outback’s (56.2% to 43.8%). This gives the A5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The A5 Sportback Prestige handles at .94 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The A5 Sportback is 3.6 inches shorter than the Outback, making the A5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The A5 Sportback is 10.6 inches shorter in height than the Outback, making the A5 Sportback much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Cargo Capacity

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 Outback doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 18th.

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 Outback doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

The A5 Sportback’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Outback’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the A5 Sportback the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Outback’s 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 Outback doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The A5 Sportback’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring.

When the A5 Sportback with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Outback’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Outback doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The A5 Sportback has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring.

Both the A5 Sportback and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A5 Sportback has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback Base/Premium doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 Outback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

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

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