2019 Volkswagen Golf R vs. 2019 Audi A5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Golf R has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Golf R and the A5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

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

Golf R

A5 Sportback

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

80/169 lbs.

431/395 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.7 inches

1 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

169/97 lbs.

324/341 lbs.

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 Volkswagen Golf R is safer than the Audi A5 Sportback:

Golf R

A5 Sportback

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

217 G’s

219 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

588 lbs.

777 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

274

333

Spine Acceleration

45 G’s

47 G’s

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

Warranty

The Golf R comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The A5 Sportback’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Golf R’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

Engine

The Golf R’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (288 vs. 248) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 273) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volkswagen Golf R is faster than the Audi A5 Sportback (automatics tested):

Golf R

A5

Zero to 60 MPH

4.5 sec

5.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.7 sec

14 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.8 sec

6.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.8 sec

3.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.3 sec

3.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

106 MPH

100 MPH

Top Speed

153 MPH

129 MPH

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf R stops shorter than the A5 Sportback:

Golf R

A5

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

164 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Golf R 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

The Golf R handles at .95 G’s, while the A5 Sportback Prestige pulls only .93 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Golf R’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the A5 Sportback’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Golf R may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 450 pounds less than the Audi A5 Sportback.

The Golf R is 1 foot, 5.9 inches shorter than the A5 Sportback, making the Golf R easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Golf R has .2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and .5 inches more rear legroom than the A5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf R has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the A5 Sportback with its rear seat up (22.8 vs. 21.8 cubic feet). The Golf R has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the A5 Sportback with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 35 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Golf R has a standard rear wiper. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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

Recommendations

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The A5 Sportback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The A5 Sportback has never been chosen.

The Golf R was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The A5 Sportback has never been an “All Star.”

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Audi A5/S5 by 63% during 2018.

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

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