If you are in the market for a medium-sized luxury vehicle, you’ve probably given quite a bit of thought to drive an Audi. However, Audi does offer quite a few to choose from. Specifically, the Audi A4 vs A5, which happen to have a lot in common, but also some differences that we’ll go into. The question is, which vehicle suits your lifestyle and budget best? You’ve come to the right place. We’re writing this article to assist you in your buying decision by going over price, reliability, safety, common problems, and more.
You’ll see below that there are many different generations between both vehicles, so for comparison’s sake, we will be using the newest A4 and A5 models (2022 as of writing this post). If you are wanting us to compare specific generations for either, let us know in the comments and we can write a full post dedicated to those generations.
Audi A4 vs A5 – The Basics
The Audi A4 was first introduced in 1994 to be a compact executive car and is still being produced today. In our opinion, the most popular generations of the A4 would be the B8/B8.5 & B9. The first 3 generations are based on the Volkswagen Group’s B platform, while the last 2 are built on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform. The A4 is offered as a sedan, station wagon, and the B6 & B7 included a convertible version. There are also two sport models of the A4 offered, the S4 and RS 4. However, after the B8 generation, Audi spun off the coupe, convertible, and 5-door liftback variant into a new nameplate, the Audi A5.
The Audi A5 was first introduced in early 2007 and it was Audi’s return to the compact executive coupe since the Audi 80 coupe, which was produced until 1986. Obviously, there was a market for a medium-sized luxury coupe and Audi took full advantage of it. Both A5 generations are built on the Volkswagen Group MLB platform. The A5 is offered as a coupe, cabriolet (convertible), and sportback. There are also two sport models of the A5 offered, the S5 and RS 5. Essentially, the A5 is a more athletic A4.
Audi A4 Generations
- B5 A4 (1994-2001)
- B6 A4 (2001-2006)
- B7 A4 (2004-2009)
- B8/B8.5 A4 (2009-2016)
- B9 A4 (2016-2023)
Audi A5 Generations
- B8/B8.5 A5 (2008-2017)
- B9 A5 (2018-Present)
Hopefully going over the specific generations will assist you to understand the different models on the market for the A4 and A5. Each generation has different specs, engines, transmissions, and more that we will be going over below. But we think the most important component of a buying decision is price, so we’ll jump into that first.
A4 vs A5 Price
Usually when looking at Audi prices, the higher the number, the more expensive the vehicle is. For example, the A4 is more expensive than the A3, the Q7 is more expensive than the Q5, so on and so forth. It happens to be the same when it comes to the Audi A4 vs A5. A standard 2022 A4 starts at $39,900, while a standard 2022 A5 starts at $45,600, for a difference of $5,700 out of the factory.
For used A4’s and A5’s, we will be using the most popular generations as fair comparisons. For the B8/B8.5 A4, prices range from $8,500 – $28,998, depending on year and mileage.* For the B8/B8.5 A5, prices range from $12,500 – $34,990. As you can see, the A5 tends to be more expensive, so is it worth it? We’ll go more in-depth on the differences to assist you in determining if it is.
*At the time of writing this article, we are in a market where used vehicles are overvalued, so take that into consideration when seeing the used prices above.
General A4 & A5 Topics
A4 vs A5 Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the A4 and A5.
Audi A4 vs A5 Dimensional Specs
As you can see in the table there are quite a few differences. Almost all statistics lean in favor of the A4 being larger. This is what we meant when we said the A5 is a more athletic A4. Since the A5 is a coupe, the back seats have the ability to fold down which is the difference in cargo space. Seating capacity is another important component when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, especially since the A5 is a coupe (only two doors). If you are someone that carpools often or has children, the A4 may be better suited since the back seats will be more accessible with 4 doors. However, if you are looking for a sportier Audi and you don’t typically have people riding in your car, the A5 may be better suited for you.
Audi A4 & A5 Performance
When it comes to performance, there are too many engines that have been used on the A4 to list them all, so we will go off of just the 2022 standard A4 and A5 models for engine and performance options.
Engines & Drivetrain
The new Audi A4 comes with a 2.0L TFSI, or 40 TFSI, engine, that puts down 201hp and 236lb-ft of torque. It puts down an impressive 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 130mph with the rev limiter. The actual top speed is 150mph without the rev limiter. The 40 TFSI gets 26mpg in the city and 34mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 29 with a 15.3gal fuel tank. According to the Audi website, the A4 comes standard with a 7-speed S Tronic dual-clutch transmission and the quattro® drivetrain.
The new Audi A5 comes with a 2.0L TFSI Premium, or 45 TFSI, engine, that puts down 261hp and 273lb-ft of torque. It boasts an impressive 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 130mph with the rev limiter. The actual top speed is 155mph without the rev limiter. The 45 TFSI gets 24mpg in the city and 31mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 27 with a 15.3gal fuel tank. The A5 comes standard with a 7-speed S Tronic dual-clutch transmission and the quattro® drivetrain.
This component may be important to some of our readers, so we want to make sure to include a snippet of the tuning potential of both the A4 and A5. For 2022’s, we don’t have exact numbers, but with our experience, we know both models are easily tunable. Both models have great aftermarket support with many options to choose from with mods. Since both of them have turbocharged engines, it would only take a few hundred bucks to get some real power into them with an ECU tune, downpipe, and cold air intake. We currently have a post on “The 5 Best Audi A4 B9 Performance Mods” and are working on an A5 mod guide to lay out the performance gains that are possible with both engines.
Audi A4 & A5 Reliability and Common Problems
The Audi A4 Quattro® scored a 3.0 out of 5 by RepairPal, and on other sites rated it below average at 37.85 out of 100, with an average of 57. Specifically, the 2009 B7 Audi A4 was the worst model year, so if you are in the market for that specific year, run. Annual maintenance costs are about $739. Common problems seen in A4’s are excessive oil usage (2011), engine misfires, faulty pistons (2012), PCV valve failure, high-pressure fuel pump failure, and more. Although there is a laundry list of common problems, we’ve seen MANY A4s last up until 200,000 miles or more. See below for specific A4 generation common problem posts we have written.
The 7 Most Common Audi A4 B5 Engine Problems
The 7 Most Common B7 Audi A4 Engine Problems
The 5 Most Common Audi A4 B8 Problems
The 6 Most Common Audi A4 B9 Engine Problems
The Audi A5 quattro® scored a 3.0 out of 5 by RepairPal. The early years of the B8 and B9 A5’s seem to have the most problems since they were the first production years in their generation. Annual maintenance costs are about $887, which is higher than A4. Common problems seen in A5’s are timing chain issues, excessive oil consumption, engine misfires, clutch failure, electrical glitches, carbon buildup, control arm issues, and more. Although it seems like a long list of common problems, there are many A5’s that have pushed over 200,000 miles without any major engine issues.
The 7 Most Common Audi A5 B8 Engine Problems
A4 vs A5 – Which is Better?
This question can be answered differently depending on the person. After going over many different components, like price, size, performance, and reliability, we hope you’ll be able to better answer this question for what suits you best. The A4 provides more seating capacity, has 4 doors, is built as a passenger vehicle, and is cheaper. While the A5 is more sporty and powerful with less seating capacity and a little more expensive. For us, we give it to the A5, but that is because our lifestyle suits the A5 best.
Audi A4 vs A5 Conclusion
To finish out this post, there isn’t a definite answer on which is better between the Audi A4 and Audi A5. It depends on the driver and their needs. Both models have their pros and cons, which have been listed above. Both are priced relatively well on the used side and both are priced under $45,000 on the new side. What’s your experience when it comes to the Audi A4 vs A5? Do you prefer one over the other? Have you driven both and have a strong opinion of which is better? Let us know in the comments and help future readers!
Also, if you want to read more Audi comparison content, here is an article where we compared the “Audi A3 vs A4: Which is Better?“
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