2019 Audi S5 Sportback vs. 2019 Volkswagen GTI

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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 GTI scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The S5 Sportback has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 GTI 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 GTI 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, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, 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 699 to 873 pounds more than the Volkswagen GTI. 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 GTI.

The S5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the GTI’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 121 more horsepower (349 vs. 228) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi S5 Sportback is faster than the Volkswagen GTI (automatics tested):

 

S5 Sportback

GTI

Zero to 60 MPH

4.5 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

106 MPH

98.4 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 GTI doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The S5 Sportback has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the GTI (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Audi S5 Sportback comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the GTI.

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 GTI.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

S5 Sportback

GTI

GTI SE/Autobahn

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

10.7 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 standard on the GTI are solid, not vented.

The S5 Sportback stops much shorter than the GTI:

 

S5 Sportback

GTI

 

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

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 GTI’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 Sportback offers optional 20-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 7.6 inches longer than on the GTI (111.2 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S5 Sportback is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the GTI.

The S5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the GTI’s (60.4% to 39.6%). This gives the S5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The S5 Sportback Prestige handles at .95 G’s, while the GTI SE pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S5 Sportback Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the GTI Autobahn (25 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 26.1 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

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 GTI (.31) 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 GTI Autobahn:

 

S5 Sportback

GTI

At idle

40 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

79 dB

81 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 GTI.

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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI. 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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI’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 GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the S5 Sportback and the GTI 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 GTI.

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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The S5 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 GTI Autobahn.

Model Availability

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

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

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