2019 Lexus RC vs. 2019 Audi A5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RC’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the RC and the A5 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, 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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RC its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A5 was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RC 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A5. 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 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the RC has a standard 580-amp battery. The A5’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RC’s reliability 38 points higher than the A5.

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 RC 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 12 more horsepower (260 vs. 248) than the A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The RC 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’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RC F Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the A5:

 

RC F Sport

A5

Front Rotors

14 inches

13.3 inches

Tires and Wheels

The RC 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; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the RC’s turning circle is 3.5 feet tighter than the A5’s (34.2 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The RC AWD’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the A5’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Passenger Space

The RC has 4.1 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the A5 Coupe.

Ergonomics

The RC 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 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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

The RC’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The A5 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The RC’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Audi does not offer a locking feature on the A5’s standard power windows.

If the front windows are left open on the RC the driver can close them 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 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 RC’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the A5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RC offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The A5 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RC owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RC will cost $515 less than the A5 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RC is less expensive to operate than the A5 because it costs $171 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RC than the A5, including $77 less for a water pump, $352 less for a muffler, $66 less for front brake pads, $8 less for a fuel pump and $174 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RC will be $4675 to $8802 less than for the Audi A5.

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

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