2019 Lexus RC vs. 2019 Audi TT

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RC’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The TT doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RC has standard Pre-Collision System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The TT doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The RC’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The TT doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the RC’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The TT doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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 TT doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the RC and the TT 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

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 TT has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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 25 points higher than the TT.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

The RC has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the TT (17.4 vs. 14.5 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 TT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RC’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the TT:

 

RC

TT

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.8 inches

The RC’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 TT 45 TSFI are solid, not vented.

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

Suspension and Handling

The RC has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The TT’s suspension doesn’t offer rear gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RC’s wheelbase is 8.9 inches longer than on the TT (107.5 inches vs. 98.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the RC is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the TT.

The RC’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54% to 46%) than the TT’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the RC more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the RC’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the TT’s (34.2 feet vs. 34.8 feet). The RC AWD’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the TT RS Coupe’s (34.8 feet vs. 36 feet).

Passenger Space

The RC has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 4.3 inches more front legroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the TT Coupe.

Cargo Capacity

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the RC offers cargo security. The TT’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

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 TT doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the RC, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The TT doesn’t offer a memory 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 TT 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 TT 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 TT’s standard power windows.

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 TT doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the RC detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The TT doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RC has standard extendable sun visors. The TT doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The RC’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The TT’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

When the RC with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The TT’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RC keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The TT doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the RC AWD’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The TT doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The RC’s 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. The TT doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the RC has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The TT doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RC has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The TT doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RC will be $6337 to $18030 less than for the Audi TT.

Recommendations

The Lexus RC outsold the Audi TT by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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