2020 Audi S5 Sportback vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S5 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 Nissan Maxima doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S5 Sportback’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Maxima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The S5 Sportback has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Maxima 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.

The S5 Sportback has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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

Warranty

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The S5 Sportback comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Maxima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S5 Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Maxima’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

Engine

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The S5 Sportback’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 49 more horsepower (349 vs. 300) and 108 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi S5 Sportback is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

S5 Sportback

Maxima

Zero to 60 MPH

4.3 sec

5.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.9 sec

14.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.8 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

12.9 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108 MPH

101 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regenerative brakes improve the S5 Sportback’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Maxima doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S5 Sportback’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 Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S5 Sportback higher (5 out of 10) than the Nissan Maxima (3). This means the S5 Sportback produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Maxima every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the S5 Sportback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Maxima:

S5 Sportback

Maxima

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.13 inches

The S5 Sportback stops much shorter than the Maxima:

S5 Sportback

Maxima

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S5 Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Maxima (265/30R20 vs. 245/45R18).

The S5 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 Maxima’s standard 45 series tires. The S5 Sportback’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the Maxima SR/Platinum’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 Sportback offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Maxima’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The S5 Sportback offers an available 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 Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5 Sportback’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the Maxima (111.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The S5 Sportback’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the Maxima’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the S5 Sportback more stable handling and braking.

The S5 Sportback Prestige handles at .93 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S5 Sportback Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Maxima Platinum (25 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Chassis

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The S5 Sportback is 5.5 inches shorter than the Maxima, making the S5 Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The S5 Sportback has .3 inches more rear headroom and .9 inches more rear legroom than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S5 Sportback’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Maxima doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the S5 Sportback is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Maxima. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 25% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

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The S5 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 Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The S5 Sportback’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Maxima’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the S5 Sportback and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S5 Sportback is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The S5 Sportback’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The S5 Sportback’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Maxima’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S5 Sportback to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Maxima 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 S5 Sportback Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Maxima doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The S5 Sportback’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.

The S5 Sportback has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Maxima.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi S5 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Maxima doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The S5 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 Maxima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The Audi S5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Nissan Maxima isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

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The S5 Sportback will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S5 Sportback will retain 45.5% to 45.65% of its original price after five years, while the Maxima only retains 35.28% to 38.25%.

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