The RC’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The S5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The RC offers optional Pre-Collision System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The S5 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The RC’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The S5 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The RC offers optional Intuitive Park Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The S5 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
To help make backing safer, the RC’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The S5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The RC has standard Safety Connect ®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S5 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the RC and the S5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all wheel drive and blind spot warning systems.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RC its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2016, a rating granted to only 77 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S5 has not been tested, yet.
Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RC 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the S5. 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 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 9th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 16th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 49 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 14th.
The RC has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the S5 (17.4 vs. 16.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the RC F Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the S5:
RC F Sport
For better maneuverability, the RC’s turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the S5’s (34.2 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The RC AWD’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the S5’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet).
The design of the Lexus RC amounts to more than styling. The RC offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .292 to .304 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the S5 (.31 to .33). A more efficient exterior helps the RC go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the RC get better fuel mileage.
The RC has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 4.1 inches more front legroom and .4 inches more front shoulder room than the S5 Coupe.
The RC’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The RC’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Audi does not offer a locking feature on the S5’s standard power windows.
If the windows are left down on the RC the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the S5 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
Smart Access standard on the RC allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi S5’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.
When the RC with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The S5’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
On extremely cold Winter days, the RC AWD’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The S5 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Optional Enform App Suites for the RC allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, finding fuel prices at nearby service stations, searching the internet and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The S5 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.
Insurance will cost less for the RC owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RC will cost $4540 to $8175 less than the S5 over a five-year period.
The RC will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the RC will retain 49.24% to 51.18% of its original price after five years, while the S5 only retains 43.82% to 47.82%.
Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RC will be $15692 to $25693 less than for the Audi S5.
The Lexus RC won three awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Audi S5 didn't win any award.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the RC third among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The S5 isn’t in the top three.
The Lexus RC Series outsold the Audi A5/A5/S5/RS 5 by 14% during 2015.