2019 Mercedes E-Class Sedan vs. 2018 Audi A5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The rear seatbelts optional on the E-Class Sedan inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The E-Class Sedan’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 Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the E-Class Sedan and the A5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the E-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2018, a rating granted to only 28 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A5 Sportback was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the E-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the E-Class Sedan has a standard 180-amp alternator. The A5 Sportback’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the E-Class Sedan has a standard 850-amp battery. The A5 Sportback’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The E 450 4MATIC Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 110 more horsepower (362 vs. 252) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 273) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG E 53 Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 177 more horsepower (429 vs. 252) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 273) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the E-Class Sedan 53 AMG’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The E-Class Sedan 300’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the A5 Sportback (17.4 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The E-Class Sedan 450/AMG 53’s standard fuel tank has 5.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the A5 Sportback (21.1 vs. 15.3 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes E-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A5 Sportback.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the E-Class Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the A5 Sportback:

 

E-Class

AMG E 53

A5

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

14.6 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

14.2 inches

13 inches

The E-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the A5 Sportback:

 

E-Class

A5

 

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

164 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the E-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The E-Class Sedan has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Sedan’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than on the A5 Sportback (115.7 inches vs. 111.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the E-Class Sedan is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A5 Sportback.

Passenger Space

The E-Class Sedan has .4 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the A5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

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

Ergonomics

The E-Class Sedan 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 at extra cost in the A5 Sportback, the E-Class Sedan has standard 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 E-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, 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 E-Class Sedan 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 A5 Sportback can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Sedan to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

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 E-Class Sedan’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the A5 Sportback’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the E-Class Sedan has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights. The E-Class Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the E-Class Sedan has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The E-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Audi A5 isn’t available as a station wagon.

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

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes E-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The E-Class was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The A5 Sportback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the Audi A5/S5 by 60% during the 2018 model year.

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

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