2019 Audi A5 vs. 2019 Mercedes SLC

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 SLC 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 SLC 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 SLC 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.

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 SLC doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A5 and the SLC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front 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 and blind spot 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 SLC has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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

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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (248 vs. 241) than the SLC 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 gets better fuel mileage than the SLC:

MPG

A5

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

SLC

300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

AMG 43 3.0 turbo V6

20 city/29 hwy

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

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

Transmission and Drivetrain

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 SLC 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 Mercedes SLC 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 SLC doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

A5

SLC

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 has larger standard tires than the SLC (245/40R18 vs. 225/45R17). The A5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the SLC (255/35R19 vs. 235/40R18).

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 SLC 300’s standard 45 series front tires. The A5’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the SLC’s optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A5 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the SLC 300. The A5’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the SLC.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 13.2 inches longer than on the SLC (108.9 inches vs. 95.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 0 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the SLC.

Chassis

The design of the Audi A5 amounts to more than styling. The A5 offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .29 to .3 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is significantly lower than the SLC (.33 to .36). A more efficient exterior helps the A5 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the A5 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The A5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the SLC can only carry 2.

The A5 Cabriolet has 32.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the SLC (81 vs. 48.8).

Cargo Capacity

The A5 Cabriolet has a larger trunk with its top down than the SLC with its top down (7.2 vs. 6.4 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 SLC 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 SLC 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. Mercedes does not offer a locking feature on the SLC’s standard power windows.

The A5’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The SLC’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

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 SLC doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 SLC 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 SLC doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The A5 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 costs extra on the SLC.

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 SLC 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 SLC doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A5 will be $2525 to $3873 less than for the Mercedes SLC.

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 SLC isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the Mercedes SLC by over 13 to one during 2018.

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

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