2019 Audi A5 vs. 2019 Buick Cascada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cascada doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A5 has standard Pre Sense City, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Cascada has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

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

The A5 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Cascada 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.

The A5’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Cascada doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the A5’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 Cascada doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A5 and the Cascada 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure 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 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cascada has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The A5’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Cascada’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

The battery on the A5 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the A5’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Cascada’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 12 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (248 vs. 200) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 221) than the Cascada’s 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 gets better fuel mileage than the Cascada (23 city/34 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A5’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 Cascada doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The A5 has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Cascada (15.3 vs. 14.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission and Drivetrain

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A5, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Cascada.

The A5 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Cascada doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

All wheel drive, available in the A5, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Buick Cascada is not available with all wheel drive.

The A5 Auto’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 Cascada doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

A5

Cascada

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cascada (255/35R19 vs. 245/40R20).

The A5’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 Cascada’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Audi A5 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Cascada has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The A5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the A5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The A5 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 Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Cascada (108.9 inches vs. 106.1 inches).

For better maneuverability, the A5’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Cascada’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the Buick Cascada.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A5 easier. The A5’s trunk lift-over height is 28.5 inches, while the Cascada’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A5 offers cargo security. The Cascada’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the A5’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Cascada doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The A5 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Cascada 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 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Cascada. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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

The A5 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 Cascada doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The A5’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Buick does not offer a locking feature on the Cascada’s standard power windows.

The Keyless Engine Start/Stop standard on the A5 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Buick Cascada doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The A5’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 Cascada’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Cascada doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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

When the A5 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 Cascada’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The A5 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 Cascada has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the A5 and the Cascada offer available heated front seats. The A5 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 Cascada.

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

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

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the A5’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Cascada doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the A5 Prestige has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Cascada doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A5 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Cascada doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The A5 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 Cascada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A5 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the A5 with a number “3” insurance rate while the Cascada is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The A5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A5 will retain 45.52% to 48.51% of its original price after five years, while the Cascada only retains 35.55% to 35.99%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A5 is less expensive to operate than the Cascada because it costs $279 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the A5 than the Cascada, including $283 less for a muffler, $51 less for front brake pads and $416 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A5 second among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Cascada isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Buick Cascada by over six to one during 2018.

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

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