2019 Lexus IS Series vs. 2019 Audi A5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the IS Series and the A5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lexus IS Series is safer than the Audi A5 Sportback:

 

IS Series

A5 Sportback

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

55 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

1 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus IS Series is safer than the Audi A5 Sportback:

 

IS Series

A5 Sportback

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

99

172

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

193 G’s

219 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

89

277

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

691 lbs.

777 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

295

333

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

47 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the IS Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A5 Sportback was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the IS Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A5 Sportback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A5 Sportback ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.

Engine

The IS 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 12 more horsepower (260 vs. 248) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The IS 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 63 more horsepower (311 vs. 248) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 273) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The IS Series has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the A5 Sportback (17.4 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus IS Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A5 Sportback.

Tires and Wheels

The IS Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the A5 Sportback; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 4.2 feet tighter than the A5 Sportback’s (34.2 feet vs. 38.4 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the A5 Sportback’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The IS Series 300 RWD offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The IS Series has 3.5 inches more front legroom and .2 inches more front shoulder room than the A5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the IS Series offers cargo security. The A5 Sportback’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics

The IS Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional in the A5 Sportback, the IS Series offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The IS Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the IS Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the A5 Sportback can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The IS Series’ headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the A5 Sportback’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the IS Series offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the IS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Model Availability

The IS Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

The IS Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the IS Series will retain 47.56% to 50.51% of its original price after five years, while the A5 Sportback only retains 44.13% to 47.54%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus IS Series will be $127 to $3637 less than for the Audi A5 Sportback.

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

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