2019 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2019 Audi S5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Passat 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.


The Passat 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 Passat’s warranty.


The Volkswagen Passat’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.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Passat has a 140-amp alternator. The S5 Sportback’s standard 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Passat has a standard 480-amp battery. The S5 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 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 Passat gets better fuel mileage than the S5 Sportback (25 city/36 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Passat uses regular unleaded gasoline. The S5 Sportback requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Passat has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the S5 Sportback (18.5 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Passat’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the S5 Sportback’s (36.4 feet vs. 38.4 feet).


The Volkswagen Passat may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 pounds less than the Audi S5 Sportback.

Passenger Space

The Passat has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear legroom and 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the S5 Sportback.


The Passat has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The S5 Sportback has no towing capacity.


The Passat SE R-Line 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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Passat (except S/R-Line/GT) offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights.


Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Passat, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend selected the Passat as their 2012 Car of the Year. The S5 Sportback has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Passat outsold the Audi A5/S5/RS 5 by 59% during 2018.

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

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