2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback vs. 2019 Mercedes AMG CLA 45

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The RS 5 Sportback’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RS 5 Sportback’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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The RS 5 Sportback offers an optional Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The AMG CLA 45 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 RS 5 Sportback’s 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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the RS 5 Sportback and the AMG CLA 45 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

The Audi RS 5 Sportback weighs 607 pounds more than the Mercedes AMG CLA 45. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.


The RS 5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the AMG CLA 45’s (12 vs. 5 years).


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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

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.


The RS 5 Sportback’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 69 more horsepower (444 vs. 375) and 93 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 350) than the AMG CLA 45’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the RS 5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.


An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi RS 5 Sportback, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the AMG CLA 45.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RS 5 Sportback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the AMG CLA 45:


RS 5 Sportback

RS 5 Sportback


Front Rotors

14.8 inches

15.7 inches

13.8 inches

The RS 5 Sportback offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the AMG CLA 45 (265/35R19 vs. 235/35R19). The RS 5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the AMG CLA 45 (275/30R20 vs. 235/35R19).

The RS 5 Sportback’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the AMG CLA 45’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 5 Sportback offers optional 20-inch wheels. The AMG CLA 45’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RS 5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the AMG CLA 45 (111.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RS 5 Sportback is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the AMG CLA 45.

Passenger Space

The RS 5 Sportback has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 8 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the AMG CLA 45.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the RS 5 Sportback has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

The RS 5 Sportback uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The AMG CLA 45 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 RS 5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the AMG CLA 45. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.


The RS 5 Sportback offers an optional 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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the RS 5 Sportback to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RS 5 Sportback has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the RS 5 Sportback detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RS 5 Sportback keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the RS 5 Sportback’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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

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