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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A5 Sportback have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The A5 Sportback’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The A5 Sportback has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The A5 Sportback (except Premium)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The A5 Sportback Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta GLI only offers a rear monitor.
Both the A5 Sportback and the Jetta GLI have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi A5 Sportback weighs 451 to 508 pounds more than the Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A5 Sportback the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 185 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta GLI has not been tested, yet.
The A5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 5 years and unlimited miles longer than the Jetta GLI’s (12/unlimited vs. 7/100,000).
The battery on the A5 Sportback is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the A5 Sportback’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Jetta GLI’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 22nd in initial quality. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 13 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 20 more horsepower (248 vs. 228) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A5 Sportback is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta GLI (automatics tested):
Zero to 60 MPH
Zero to 100 MPH
5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start
Regenerative brakes improve the A5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The A5 Sportback has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta GLI (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Audi A5 Sportback comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta GLI.
The A5 Sportback’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 Jetta GLI doesn’t offer launch control.
The A5 Sportback stops shorter than the Jetta GLI:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
For better traction, the A5 Sportback has larger standard tires than the Jetta GLI (245/40R18 vs. 225/45R18). The A5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta GLI (255/35R19 vs. 225/45R18).
The A5 Sportback’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta GLI’s standard 45 series tires. The A5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Jetta GLI’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A5 Sportback offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Jetta GLI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the Jetta GLI (111.2 inches vs. 105.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 Sportback is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Jetta GLI.
The A5 Sportback has .2 inches more front legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta GLI.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the A5 Sportback. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A5 Sportback has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a power trunk.
The A5 Sportback uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Jetta GLI uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The engine in the A5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Jetta GLI. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 26% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.
The A5 Sportback Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A5 Sportback to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A5 Sportback Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer headlight washers.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the A5 Sportback detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
When the A5 Sportback with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Jetta GLI’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The A5 Sportback’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Jetta GLI has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the A5 Sportback and the Jetta GLI have standard heated front seats. The A5 Sportback Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Jetta GLI.
On extremely cold winter days, the A5 Sportback Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Both the A5 Sportback and the Jetta GLI offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A5 Sportback has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the A5 Sportback (except Premium) offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The A5 Sportback (except Premium)’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Jetta GLI’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
The A5 Sportback Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Volkswagen Jetta GLI isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.
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