2019 Audi S5 Sportback vs. 2019 Acura TLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S5 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 Acura TLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 TLX 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the S5 Sportback. But it costs extra on the TLX.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the S5 Sportback’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The TLX doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the S5 Sportback and the TLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi S5 Sportback is safer than the TLX:

 

S5 Sportback

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

171

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.3/.4 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.42/.52

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1 kN

4.4/5 kN

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 TLX was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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

There are over 11 percent more Audi dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the S5 Sportback’s warranty.

Reliability

The camshafts in the S5 Sportback’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The TLX 3.5 SOHC V6’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the TLX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 6 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

The S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 143 more horsepower (349 vs. 206) and 187 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 182) than the TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 59 more horsepower (349 vs. 290) and 102 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 267) than the TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi S5 Sportback is faster than the Acura TLX:

 

S5 Sportback

TLX 4 cyl.

TLX V6

Zero to 60 MPH

4.5 sec

7.2 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

15.6 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

106 MPH

91.1 MPH

98.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S5 Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the TLX SH-AWD V6 (21 city/30 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

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

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 Acura TLX (3). This means the S5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the TLX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S5 Sportback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the TLX:

 

S5 Sportback

TLX

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 inches

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 TLX are solid, not vented.

The S5 Sportback stops much shorter than the TLX:

 

S5 Sportback

TLX

 

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the TLX (245/40R18 vs. 225/55R17). The S5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the TLX (265/30R20 vs. 245/40R19).

The S5 Sportback’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 TLX’s standard 55 series tires. The S5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the TLX A-Spec’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 Sportback has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the TLX. The S5 Sportback’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the TLX A-Spec.

Suspension and Handling

The S5 Sportback offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The TLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the TLX (111.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The S5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the TLX’s (59.7% to 40.3%). This gives the S5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The S5 Sportback Prestige handles at .95 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S5 Sportback Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the TLX (25 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .74 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S5 Sportback’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (38.4 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The S5 Sportback’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the TLX SH-AWD’s (38.4 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

The S5 Sportback is 3.6 inches shorter than the TLX, making the S5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the S5 Sportback Prestige is quieter than the TLX (40 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

The S5 Sportback has 2.2 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more rear headroom and .6 inches more rear legroom than the TLX.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S5 Sportback’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The TLX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the S5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the TLX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 26% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.

Ergonomics

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 TLX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the S5 Sportback and the TLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S5 Sportback is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The TLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 TLX’s standard 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 TLX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 TLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

The S5 Sportback will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S5 Sportback will retain 51.38% to 51.57% of its original price after five years, while the TLX only retains 48.4% to 50.83%.

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

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