2019 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2019 Audi S5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the GTI and the S5 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, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The GTI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The S5 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 GTI’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the S5 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 GTI gets better fuel mileage than the S5 Sportback:

MPG

GTI

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

S5 Sportback

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the Audi S5 Sportback (5). This means the GTI produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the S5 Sportback every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The GTI offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The GTI 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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer an SMG.

The GTI Automatic’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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

The GTI stops shorter than the S5 Sportback:

GTI

S5 Sportback

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

105 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The GTI SE handles at .96 G’s, while the S5 Sportback Prestige pulls only .93 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the GTI’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the S5 Sportback’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen GTI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 850 pounds less than the Audi S5 Sportback.

The GTI is 1 foot, 7.1 inches shorter than the S5 Sportback, making the GTI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the GTI SE is quieter than the S5 Sportback Prestige (39 vs. 40 dB).

Passenger Space

The GTI has .2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and .5 inches more rear legroom than the S5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

The GTI has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the S5 Sportback with its rear seat up (22.8 vs. 21.8 cubic feet). The GTI has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the S5 Sportback with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 35 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the GTI has a standard rear wiper. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the GTI Rabbit/SE/Autobahn has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Recommendations

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The S5 Sportback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The S5 Sportback has never been chosen.

The GTI was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 5 of the last 12 years. The S5 Sportback has never been an “All Star.”

The GTI was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2010 Car of the Year. The S5 Sportback has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Audi A5/S5/RS 5 by 63% during 2018.

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

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