2020 Acura TLX vs. 2019 Audi S5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the TLX and the S5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TLX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the S5 Sportback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the S5 Sportback ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the TLX has a standard 650-amp battery. The S5 Sportback’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura TLX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The S5 Sportback requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The TLX has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the S5 Sportback (17.2 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The TLX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the S5 Sportback.

The TLX offers a standard 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 or a conventional manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TLX is .3 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the S5 Sportback.

Chassis

The Acura TLX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 450 pounds less than the Audi S5 Sportback.

The TLX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the TLX V6 SH-AWD is quieter than the S5 Sportback Prestige:

TLX

S5 Sportback

At idle

39 dB

40 dB

Full-Throttle

74 dB

79 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

The TLX has 1.3 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the S5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the TLX offers cargo security. The S5 Sportback’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 9% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

The TLX offers a 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.

The TLX’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Model Availability

The TLX is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the TLX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the TLX will cost $3315 to $6040 less than the S5 Sportback over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura TLX will be $14993 to $21847 less than for the Audi S5 Sportback.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Audi S5 Sportback isn't recommended.

The Acura TLX outsold the Audi A5/S5/RS 5 by 17% during 2018.

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

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