2019 Audi A5 vs. 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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 MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A5’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 MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata only offers a rear monitor.

Compared to metal, the A5’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda MX-5 Miata has a metal gas tank.

Both the A5 and the MX-5 Miata 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Audi A5 weighs 1112 to 1651 pounds more than the Mazda MX-5 Miata. 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 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MX-5 Miata has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The A5 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The MX-5 Miata’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MX-5 Miata’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the MX-5 Miata’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the A5 has a standard 110-amp alternator (150-amp - A5 optional). The MX-5 Miata’s 100-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

Engine

The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 67 more horsepower (248 vs. 181) and 122 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the A5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The A5 has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the MX-5 Miata (15.3 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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

Transmission and Drivetrain

The Audi A5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the MX-5 Miata.

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 MX-5 Miata.

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 MX-5 Miata 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 Mazda MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MX-5 Miata:

 

A5

MX-5 Miata

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11 inches

The A5’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MX-5 Miata are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 has larger standard tires than the MX-5 Miata (245/40R18 vs. 195/50R16). The A5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MX-5 Miata (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 MX-5 Miata Sport’s standard 50 series tires. The A5’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the MX-5 Miata Club/Grand Touring’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 MX-5 Miata Sport. The A5’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the MX-5 Miata Club/Grand Touring.

The Audi A5’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mazda MX-5 Miata only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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 MX-5 Miata’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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata (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 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the MX-5 Miata.

Passenger Space

The A5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the MX-5 Miata can only carry 2.

The A5 Cabriolet has 2.6 inches more front headroom and 3.1 inches more front shoulder room than the MX-5 Miata.

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top down than the MX-5 Miata (7.2 vs. 4.6 cubic feet). The A5 Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top up than the MX-5 Miata (9.3 vs. 4.6 cubic feet).

With its coupe or convertible body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A5 offers cargo security. The MX-5 Miata’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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 Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 85% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 27th.

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, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 MX-5 Miata’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its front windows open automatically.

If the windows are left open on the A5 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the MX-5 Miata can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 MX-5 Miata Sport/Club’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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Grand Touring.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A5 has standard extendable sun visors. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The A5’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The MX-5 Miata’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. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring.

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 MX-5 Miata’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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Mazda MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata because typical repairs cost much less on the A5 than the MX-5 Miata, including $820 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Mazda MX-5 Miata by over three to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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