2019 Audi S5 Sportback vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf R

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 Volkswagen Golf R doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Pre Sense City in the S5 Sportback as “Superior.” The Golf R scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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 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 S5 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Audi S5 Sportback weighs 562 to 635 pounds more than the Volkswagen Golf R. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The S5 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 S5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf R’s (12 vs. 10 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 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.

Engine

The S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 61 more horsepower (349 vs. 288) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 280) than the Golf R’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi S5 Sportback is faster than the Volkswagen Golf R (automatics tested):

 

S5 Sportback

Golf R

Zero to 60 MPH

4.3 sec

4.5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

7.1 sec

7.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.9 sec

11.7 sec

Quarter Mile

12.9 sec

13.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108 MPH

106 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the S5 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 S5 Sportback higher (5 out of 10) than the Volkswagen Golf R (3). This means the S5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Golf R every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Audi S5 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 S5 Sportback, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Golf R.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

S5 Sportback

Golf R

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 inches

The S5 Sportback stops shorter than the Golf R:

 

S5 Sportback

Golf R

 

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the Golf R (245/40R18 vs. 225/40R18). The S5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf R (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 Golf R’s optional 35 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5 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 S5 Sportback is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf R.

The S5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the Golf R’s (59.5% to 40.5%). This gives the S5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The S5 Sportback Prestige handles at .95 G’s, while the Golf R pulls only .94 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The design of the Audi S5 Sportback amounts to more than styling. The S5 Sportback has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the Golf R (.32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the S5 Sportback get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the S5 Sportback Prestige is quieter than the Golf R:

 

S5 Sportback

Golf R

At idle

40 dB

50 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

The S5 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 S5 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 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 Golf R doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the S5 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.

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 Golf R 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 Golf R 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 Golf R can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 Golf R 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 Golf R’s 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 Golf R has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the S5 Sportback and the Golf R 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 Golf R.

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 Golf R doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the S5 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 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 Golf R doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

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

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