2019 Volkswagen Golf R vs. 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Golf R has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The RS 5 Sportback doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

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 RS 5 Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Golf R and the RS 5 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Golf R the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RS 5 Sportback has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Golf R comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The RS 5 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

The Volkswagen Golf R’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the RS 5 Sportback’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Golf R gets better fuel mileage than the RS 5 Sportback:

MPG

Golf R

AWD

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

RS 5 Sportback

AWD

Auto

2.9 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Golf R Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The RS 5 Sportback doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Golf R uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The RS 5 Sportback requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Golf R offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RS 5 Sportback doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Golf R offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The RS 5 Sportback doesn’t offer an SMG.

The Golf R’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The RS 5 Sportback doesn’t offer launch control.

Suspension and Handling

The Golf R has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The RS 5 Sportback’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better maneuverability, the Golf R’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the RS 5 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 700 to 750 pounds less than the Audi RS 5 Sportback.

The Golf R is 1 foot, 7.9 inches shorter than the RS 5 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 RS 5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf R has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the RS 5 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 RS 5 Sportback with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 35 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Golf R’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Audi does not offer a locking feature on the RS 5 Sportback’s standard power windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Golf R has a standard rear wiper. The RS 5 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 RS 5 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 RS 5 Sportback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The RS 5 Sportback has never been chosen.

The Golf R was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The RS 5 Sportback has never been an “All Star.”

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

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