2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf R

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 Volkswagen Golf R 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 Golf R doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Pre Sense City in the A5 Sportback as “Superior.” The Golf R scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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 Golf R 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 Golf R have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, 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 Volkswagen Golf R:

 

A5

Golf R

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

236

256

Neck Injury Risk

25%

43%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

210 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

91 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 Volkswagen Golf R:

 

A5

Golf R

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

185

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.2 inches

Hip Force

308 lbs.

310 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

368

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

63 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

674 lbs.

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

Warranty

The A5 Sportback comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. Audi will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf R.

The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf R’s (12 vs. 10 years).

Reliability

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the Golf R Auto (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 Golf R doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A5 Sportback higher (5 out of 10) than the Volkswagen Golf R (3). This means the A5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Golf R every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Audi A5 Sportback comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf R.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the Golf R (245/40R18 vs. 225/40R18). The A5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf R (255/35R19 vs. 235/35R19).

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the Golf R (111.2 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 Sportback is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf R.

The A5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.8% to 45.2%) than the Golf R’s (59.5% to 40.5%). This gives the A5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

The design of the Audi A5 Sportback amounts to more than styling. The A5 Sportback has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the Golf R (.32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A5 Sportback get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A5 Sportback Prestige is quieter than the Golf R:

 

A5

Golf R

At idle

38 dB

50 dB

Full-Throttle

72 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

The A5 Sportback has 1 inch more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf R.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the A5 Sportback. The Golf R doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Golf R. 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 Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 43% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the A5 Sportback, the optional memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The Golf R doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 Golf R’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The A5 Sportback offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Golf R has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the A5 Sportback and the Golf R 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 Golf R.

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 Golf R 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 Golf R doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

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

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