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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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The A5 Prestige’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
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 124 Spider only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
Compared to metal, the A5’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Fiat 124 Spider has a metal gas tank.
The A5 has a standard Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the A5 and the 124 Spider have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi A5 weighs 1089 to 1554 pounds more than the Fiat 124 Spider. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
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 124 Spider has not been tested, yet.
The A5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 124 Spider’s (12 vs. 5 years).
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the A5’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 124 Spider’s camshaft. If the 124 Spider’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A5’s reliability 47 points higher than the 124 Spider.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 125 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.
The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 88 more horsepower (248 vs. 160) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 184) than the 124 Spider’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 84 more horsepower (248 vs. 164) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 184) than the 124 Spider Abarth’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.
Regenerative brakes improve the A5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The A5 has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 124 Spider (15.3 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Fiat 124 Spider (3). This means the A5 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 124 Spider every 15,000 miles.
The Audi A5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the 124 Spider.
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 124 Spider.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer an SMG.
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 Fiat 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the A5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 124 Spider:
For better traction, the A5 has larger standard tires than the 124 Spider (245/40R18 vs. 195/50R16). The A5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 124 Spider (255/35R19 vs. 205/45R17).
The A5’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 124 Spider Classica’s standard 50 series tires. The A5’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A5 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 124 Spider Classica. The A5’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth.
The Audi A5’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 124 Spider only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
The A5 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 124 Spider; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
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 124 Spider’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The A5 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 18 inches longer than on the 124 Spider (108.9 inches vs. 90.9 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 is 3.6 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than on the 124 Spider.
For excellent aerodynamics, the A5 has standard flush composite headlights. The 124 Spider has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.
The A5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 124 Spider can only carry 2.
The A5 Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 124 Spider (7.2 vs. 4.9 cubic feet). The A5 Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top up than the 124 Spider (9.3 vs. 4.9 cubic feet).
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The A5 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 124 Spider 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.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Fiat. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 114% lower rating, Fiat is ranked 31st.
To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the A5 has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.
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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The power windows standard on both the A5 and the 124 Spider have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the A5 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The 124 Spider prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The A5’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 124 Spider’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its front windows open automatically.
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 124 Spider Classica’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 124 Spider doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
The A5 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 124 Spider has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Lusso/Abarth.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A5 Coupe has standard extendable sun visors. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The A5’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 124 Spider’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.
The A5’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Fiat offers heated mirrors for extra charge, but only on the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth.
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 124 Spider’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the A5 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The A5’s 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. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Fiat 124 Spider isn’t available as a coupe or four door.
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 124 Spider only retains 38.93% to 40.43%.
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 124 Spider isn’t in the top three in its category.
The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Fiat 124 Spider by over seven to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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