VS

Comparing the Audi A4 vs A5: Which is Better?

8 minutes Published: 17/09/2020

Mercedes-Benz and BMW, step aside. We only care about Audi here. And which Audi models in particular? The A4 and the A5. These two models sit snugly as the middle children in the Audi family. But which model should you go for? Should you splash a little extra cash on the A5? Or will the A4 do everything just as well? Check out our verdict below!


Audi A4 vs Audi A5

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Here is the low down on the specs, pros and cons of the two models to get the ball rolling.

A4 Saloon

RRP: £30,165 - £52,540

Monthly Cost From: £242.98

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 4.2
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 322g/km

A5 Sportback

RRP: £37,330 - £61,305

Monthly Cost From: £298.35

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 3.2
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 219g/km
  • Impressive standard interior tech

  • Decent headroom and legroom for rear passengers

  • Pricey repair costs

  • Not much standard safety kit

  • Higher torque and horsepower than A4

  • Very sporty exterior

  • Less practical than A4

  • Thirstier for fuel


Exterior

AUDI A4 EXTERIOR

AUDI A5 EXTERIOR

If you’ve got your heart set on a particular body style, the deciding factor between the Audi A4 and A5 might be the exterior right here - no need to read the rest of this post!

The A4 is available as a Saloon, Estate (Avant), rugged SUV-esque Allroad, and the performance S4. Alternatively, the A5 comes as a Coupe, Hatchback (Sportback), Convertible (Cabriolet) and performance Audi S5 model. 

Regardless of the body style you’re after, all the models in the A4 and A5 ranges are very stylish and scream premium. Both are incredibly similar in appearance, like most cars in the Audi range. From the front-view, there’s not much difference between them, each model sporting the distinctive hexagonal Audi grille in chrome or black and that iconic four ring badge. The most noticeable distinction in appearance from the front-end is the slight dome to the bonnet on the A5.

It’s the side view where you can pick the sisters apart. The A4 comes with a five seat five door setup, as does the Audi A5 Sportback. The Audi A5 Coupe, however, has a three door setup. The Saloon body style means that the roofline is uniform whilst the windscreen is steeply raked. The A5 Coupe is much sportier looking, with a sloping rear roofline.

The basic A4 model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels whilst the A5 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. The A5 Coupe is the sportiest looking of the lot, but both ranges are composed of some pretty beautiful cars. Subjectively, we’d say that the A5 is the best-looking, but it’s down to your personal preference!

A4 Saloon:

A5 Sportback:


Driving Experience

If you’re looking for the car with the best driving experience, the A5 takes it up a notch, but not by a huge margin.

If you go for the A4, you can pick from 3 petrol and 3 diesel engines, either with 7-speed S tronic automatic transmission or 6-speed manual transmission on the 35 TFSI petrol engine. The A5 has just one petrol option, the 40 TFSI 2.0-litre engine with 7-speed S tronic transmission. There are two diesel options with the top-end 40 TDI coming with quattro all-wheel drive.

Quattro AWD is not standard on either the A4 or A5 unless you fork out for the top spec engine, which is disappointing especially if you hit more rugged roads on the regular. Both car ranges offer comfortable drives but we recommend you keep your alloys small and avoid the Sports suspension - unless you want to go to the physio for a bad back a couple of months into your lease!

Whichever car you go for, you’ll get front and rear parking sensors, cruise control is standard, and perfectly balanced steering.

All in all, there's barely any difference between the driving experience in the two cars. If we had to pick a winner, we’d go with the A5, thanks to its improved torque and horsepower compared to the A4. If you want to get to work quicker, then go for the A5!

A4 Saloon:

A5 Sportback:


Interior

AUDI A4 INTERIOR

AUDI A5 INTERIOR

“Ahhhh.”

That's the noise that every Audi driver makes when they settle down in the driver’s seat. Audi interiors are known for their high quality and stylish design. But between the A4 and A5, who wins on interior styling?

Despite the fact that the Audi A4 Allroad interior and the A5 Coupe interior are very distinguhiable in terms of layout and style, there's no doubting their solid build quality and cutting-edge technology.

The basic trim of the A4 doesn’t scream “prestige” as much as the A5 does. Inside the entry level A4 Avant interior cabin, the seats are made of Index cloth upholstery and you have to upgrade to the Sport or S Line trim for comfier leather Sport front seats. This comes as standard on the entry level A5 across all models.

Getting down to tech, both the A4 and A5 come with high definition 10.1-inch colour MMI infotainment display screens and with MMI Navigation Plus and MMI Touch. DAB radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are built in to both ranges. If you're a real tech-head, you'll definitely want to consider the optional Tech Pack.

Both ranges have Audi Virtual Cockpit as standard on their entry level trims, which is a real plus. The 12-inch screen sits behind the driver’s wheel and allows you to monitor all the important things like speedometer and sat nav without scanning all across the dashboard.

If you really pin them together, the A4 has pretty much everything the A5 has but for a lower price point, so for that reason we’d say go for the A4.

A4 Saloon:

A5 Sportback:


Practicality

Practicality varies from model to model. In terms of capacity, the A4 Saloon boot space and the A5 Sportback boot space are about the same at 480 litres. The A5 Coupe boot space is reduced to 465 litres, while the A5 Cabriolet boot space is even tighter (380 litres) to make room for the folding roof. The hatchback boot opening on the Sportback is more practical than the hinged saloon opening on the A4.

If you have older children or other adult passengers, the headroom and legroom in the A5 Coupe is quite dreadful. It’s very cramped, so we don’t recommend this model as your next new car if you’re planning to taxi lots of people around! Even in the A5 Sportback the headroom is closed off by the sloping rear roofline, leaving the A4 reigning supreme in this respect.

If you have kids, both cars come with handy Isofix points for car seats but you’ll have an easier job installing it in the A4 with the rear door access.

Both models are very safe with 5 star Euro NCAP ratings too.

Of course, it depends on what body style you go for but the model options in the A4 range are more practical.

A4 Saloon:

A5 Sportback:


Costs

There’s just under £10k price difference between the two models if you buy them outright. But what about your expected running costs?

The entry petrol A4 saloon mpg is slightly more efficient than it's A5 sibiling and will pop you in insurance group 23. If you go for the entry-level diesel, your Audi A4 Avant mpg will yield a healthy 70.6 miles to the gallon and sit in insurance group 22. With the entry petrol A5, the A5 Sportback mpg and A5 Coupe mpg is slightly lower at 47.9, whilst the A5 Cabriolet mpg manages 46.3 and will place you in insurance group 26. If you want a diesel, the fuel tank will dry up marginally quicker, offering 62.8 mpg - the Cabriolet is thirstier still, yielding 58.9 mpg. The diesel will place you in insurance group 27.

According to the Reliability Index, the average repair costs over 5 years for the A4 are £581.16 whereas the A5 sits at £498.99 (but they specify the A5 Sportback costs a whopping £781.83!).

Clearly, the A4 is the more cost-effective option when it comes to outright purchase price, lease price, fuel, insurance and repair costs, but it is a lower-spec model. Having looked more deeply at the features available in both, however, the cost of the A5 doesn’t get you a ton more. It’s just a bit more upmarket!

A4 Saloon:

A5 Sportback:

Derivative Contract Length Monthly Cost
A4 Saloon 35 TFSI Sport 4dr 3 Years £242.98
A5 Sportback 35 TDI Sport 5dr S Tronic 2 Years £298.35

Verdict

Both the A4 and A5 are exceptional models and your pick will ultimately come to your personal preference, but we can still help you out!

Looks-wise, your favourite body style will come into play with the two ranges offering different types, but the A5 range generally has a sportier feel to it. The A5 also offers more powerful engines which might be important to you depending on the type of driving you’re doing. Tech-wise, both have fairly similar specs, so we can’t say you get an awful lot more for your money in the A5. Practicality-wise, the A4 trumps the A5, but unless you plan on regularly loading massive IKEA flatpacks and a troop of gangly teenagers in the backseat, the A5 is still a safe option.

Ultimately, it is your call. The A5 has the good looks and the better driving experience. But the A4 offers more practical body style and is loaded with tech for a lower price tag.

Audi A4

4/5

Audi A5

4.5/5

Still undecided? We’ve also looked at the Audi A4 vs A6 if you’re thinking of taking a step further than the A5! We've also looked at the BMW 3 Series vs Audi A4. For a deeper dive into the Audi range, check out our reviews - we've covered the A4 Avant review, A4 Saloon review, A4 Allroad review, A5 Cabriolet review, A5 Coupe review, and A5 Sportback review.