2019 Audi S5 Sportback vs. 2018 Ford Focus RS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S5 Sportback’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Focus RS doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The S5 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The S5 Sportback has standard Pre Sense City, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Focus RS doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The S5 Sportback 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 Focus RS 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 S5 Sportback Prestige’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The S5 Sportback Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Focus RS only offers a rear monitor.

To help make backing safer, the S5 Sportback’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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The S5 Sportback offers an optional Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the S5 Sportback and the Focus RS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

The Audi S5 Sportback weighs 475 pounds more than the Ford Focus RS. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 S5 Sportback the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Focus RS has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The S5 Sportback comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Focus RS’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Focus RS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 11 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 350) than the Focus RS’ 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the S5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The S5 Sportback has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Focus RS (15.3 vs. 13.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S5 Sportback higher (5 out of 10) than the Ford Focus RS (3). This means the S5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Focus RS every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The S5 Sportback has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Focus RS doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The S5 Sportback’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Focus RS are solid, not vented.

The S5 Sportback stops shorter than the Focus RS:

 

S5 Sportback

Focus RS

 

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

110 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the Focus RS (245/40R18 vs. 235/35R19). The S5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Focus RS (265/30R20 vs. 235/35R19).

The S5 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 Focus RS’ 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 Sportback offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Focus RS’ largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the Focus RS (111.2 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S5 Sportback is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Focus RS.

The S5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the Focus RS’ (59.4% to 40.6%). This gives the S5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space

The S5 Sportback has 1.1 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Focus RS.

Cargo Capacity

The S5 Sportback has a much larger trunk than the Focus RS with its rear seat up (21.8 vs. 19.9 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the S5 Sportback. The Focus RS doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S5 Sportback’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Focus RS 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 S5 Sportback uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Focus RS 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 S5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Focus RS. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

A Service Interval Display is standard on the S5 Sportback to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Ford doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Focus RS.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 60% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the S5 Sportback, 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a memory system.

The S5 Sportback 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the S5 Sportback the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Focus RS can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The S5 Sportback has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The S5 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 Focus RS’ intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S5 Sportback to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Focus RS doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S5 Sportback Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Focus RS doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S5 Sportback has standard extendable sun visors. The Focus RS doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the S5 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 Focus RS’ mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The S5 Sportback Premium Plus/Prestige 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 Focus RS offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the S5 Sportback and the Focus RS have standard heated front seats. The S5 Sportback also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Focus RS.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the S5 Sportback keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Focus RS doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The S5 Sportback has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Both the S5 Sportback and the Focus RS offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S5 Sportback has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Focus RS doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S5 Sportback 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The S5 Sportback Prestige’s 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi S5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Ford Focus RS isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or four door.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the S5 Sportback owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S5 Sportback will cost $1290 to $2675 less than the Focus RS over a five-year period.

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

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