2019 Audi A5 vs. 2019 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 RC 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A5. But it costs extra on the RC.

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 RC 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 and the RC 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, 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.

Warranty

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

There are over 26 percent more Audi dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the A5’s warranty.

Reliability

The Audi A5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the RC’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the A5’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC 300 RWD’s camshafts. If the RC’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

Engine

The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (248 vs. 241) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the RC 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 236) than the RC 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 gets better fuel mileage than the RC AWD (23 city/34 hwy vs. 18 city/24 hwy).

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

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The RC requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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 RC doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

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 RC doesn’t offer launch control.

Tires and Wheels

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

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 RC’s standard 45 series tires. The A5’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the RC’s optional 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Coupe’s wheelbase is 1.3 inches longer than on the RC (108.8 inches vs. 107.5 inches).

Passenger Space

The A5 Coupe has .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom and 5.4 inches more rear legroom than the RC.

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Coupe has a much larger trunk than the RC (11.6 vs. 10.4 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 RC doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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 RC doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 RC’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 RC doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Both the A5 and the RC offer optional 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 RC.

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 RC doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Lexus RC isn’t available as a convertible 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 RC is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A5 is less expensive to operate than the RC because typical repairs cost much less on the A5 than the RC, including $112 less for a starter, $220 less for fuel injection, $631 less for a timing belt/chain and $1028 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Lexus RC by almost six to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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