2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs. 2019 Volkswagen GTI

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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 GTI scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The A5 Sportback has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 GTI 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 GTI 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, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, 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 Audi A5 Sportback weighs 490 to 664 pounds more than the Volkswagen GTI. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 GTI:

 

A5 Sportback

GTI

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

164

454

Neck Injury Risk

26%

33%

Neck Stress

232 lbs.

352 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 post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A5 Sportback is safer than the Volkswagen GTI:

 

A5 Sportback

GTI

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

834 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 GTI.

The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the GTI’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.

Engine

The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (248 vs. 228) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A5 Sportback is faster than the Volkswagen GTI (automatics tested):

 

A5 Sportback

GTI

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

14.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

100 MPH

Top Speed

127 MPH

126 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 GTI doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The A5 Sportback has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the GTI (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A5

GTI

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

10.7 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 standard on the GTI are solid, not vented.

The A5 Sportback stops shorter than the GTI:

 

A5

GTI

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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

The A5 Sportback’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GTI’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A5 Sportback offers optional 19-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 7.6 inches longer than on the GTI (111.2 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 Sportback is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the GTI.

The A5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.8% to 45.2%) than the GTI’s (60.4% to 39.6%). This gives the A5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The A5 Sportback Prestige handles at .94 G’s, while the GTI SE pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

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 GTI (.31) 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 GTI Autobahn:

 

A5 Sportback

GTI

At idle

38 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

72 dB

81 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

67 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 GTI.

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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the GTI. 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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI’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 GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the A5 Sportback and the GTI 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 GTI.

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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 GTI Autobahn.

Model Availability

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

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

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