2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback vs. 2019 Subaru WRX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 5 Sportback have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Subaru WRX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 WRX doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the RS 5 Sportback’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The WRX doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

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 WRX only offers a rear monitor.

Both the RS 5 Sportback and the WRX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

The Audi RS 5 Sportback weighs 532 to 763 pounds more than the Subaru WRX. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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

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

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 25th in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The RS 5 Sportback’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 176 more horsepower (444 vs. 268) and 185 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 258) than the WRX’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The RS 5 Sportback’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 134 more horsepower (444 vs. 310) and 153 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 290) than the WRX STI’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RS 5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the WRX CVT with its standard engine (17 city/26 hwy vs. 18 city/24 hwy).

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

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi RS 5 Sportback higher (5 out of 10) than the Subaru WRX (1). This means the RS 5 Sportback produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the WRX every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Audi RS 5 Sportback comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the WRX.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

RS 5 Sportback

RS 5 Sportback

WRX

WRX STI

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

15.7 inches

12.4 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13 inches

11.3 inches

12.8 inches

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

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 WRX doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the WRX (265/35R19 vs. 235/45R17). The RS 5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the WRX (275/30R20 vs. 245/40R18).

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 5 Sportback has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the WRX. The RS 5 Sportback’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the WRX STI.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RS 5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the WRX (111.2 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RS 5 Sportback is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the WRX.

Passenger Space

The RS 5 Sportback has .1 inches more front shoulder room and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the WRX.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the RS 5 Sportback’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The WRX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the RS 5 Sportback, the 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 WRX doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 WRX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RS 5 Sportback’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 WRX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the RS 5 Sportback the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the WRX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RS 5 Sportback’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 WRX’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 WRX 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 WRX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The RS 5 Sportback 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 WRX has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the STI/Limited.

When the RS 5 Sportback 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 WRX’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RS 5 Sportback has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The WRX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 WRX 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 WRX doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The RS 5 Sportback 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 is only available on the WRX STI.

Both the RS 5 Sportback and the WRX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the RS 5 Sportback has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The WRX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The RS 5 Sportback’s optional Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The WRX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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