2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Volkswagen Golf R 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 Golf R doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Golf R 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 RS 5 Sportback and the Golf R have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, rear cross-path warning and available lane departure warning systems.

The Audi RS 5 Sportback weighs 684 to 757 pounds more than the Volkswagen Golf R. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.


The RS 5 Sportback comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. Audi will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf R.

The RS 5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf R’s (12 vs. 10 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.


The RS 5 Sportback’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 156 more horsepower (444 vs. 288) and 163 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 280) than the Golf R’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 Golf R 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 Volkswagen Golf R (3). This means the RS 5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Golf R every 15,000 miles.


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

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 Golf R.

To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the RS 5 Sportback has a standard up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The Golf R doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

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


RS 5 Sportback

RS 5 Sportback

Golf R

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

15.7 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13 inches

12.2 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 Golf R doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the Golf R (265/35R19 vs. 225/40R18). The RS 5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf R (275/30R20 vs. 235/35R19).

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 Golf R’s standard 40 series tires. The RS 5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the Golf R’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 5 Sportback has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Golf R. The RS 5 Sportback’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Golf R.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RS 5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the Golf R (111.2 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RS 5 Sportback is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf R.

Passenger Space

The RS 5 Sportback has 1 inch more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf R.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RS 5 Sportback. The Golf R doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the RS 5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Golf R. 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 Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 43% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.


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 Golf R 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 Golf R doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RS 5 Sportback has standard extendable sun visors. The Golf R doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 Golf R’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 Golf R has 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 Golf R 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 Golf R doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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