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Audi A5 40 TDI vs Lexus RC 300h — Auto Express Test

It seems like just yesterday that the Audi A5 Coupe made its official debut. The fact that it still looks so good and so fresh doesn’t hurt. Though, despite it looking so fresh, it’s about to receive a mid-cycle facelift, so it’s not exactly a spring chicken, in the automotive world at least. But looks aside, is it still capable of taking down some of its rivals, especially one with a new hybrid powertrain like the Lexus RC 300h? Auto Express finds out.

In this latest comparison test from AE, the Audi A5 40 TDI Coupe takes on the Lexus RC 300h. If you don’t know which A5 that is, we don’t blame you. Audi’s naming structure is nonsense (though, Cadillac did just debut an even more nonsensical naming structure but that’s a story for another time). The ’40 TDI’ in this A5’s name means it has a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine making 187 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box and just front wheel drive in this test.

As for the Lexus, it gets a 2.5 liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine with hybrid electric assistance to combine for 220 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. That setup is paired with, annoyingly, a CVT transmission and sends power to its rear wheels.

Of the two cars, the Audi A5 is the sharper to drive, with better agility and much more fun. But it doesn’t sacrifice comfort to do so, as it’s also nice to live with. While the Lexus is more comfortable, it’s not as nice to drive. So the Audi wins on that front.

The Audi A5 also features better technology, thanks to its now-old-school MMI system. Even though it’s not Audi’s latest system, it’s still better than the archaic and frankly poor system in the Lexus. We’ve used Lexus’ infotainment system and it’s difficult to use at best. Honestly. The A5 is also roomier inside and more practical.

Where the Lexus starts to score back some points is in quality and features. The Lexus RC 300h has slightly better build quality, which is wild considering how well made modern Audis feel, and it also comes with a lot more tech as standard. It’s also cheaper, especially when you consider how much the options cost on the Audi.

We won’t give away which car wins, as you should check it out for yourself at Auto Express, but we can say that, despite being a few years old now, the Audi A5 still has some life left in it.

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Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.