Thanks for the ping on this lnog standing bug @Tronde.
I updated the state accordingly.

If there is a change to be identified since Xenial->Bionic one could try to SRU 
fix it in Xenial.
But I took a (quick) look and found nothing obvious.
There are major changes like going from sysV init in /etc/init.d/autofs to a 
native systemd service in /lib/systemd/system/autofs.service.
One would need to debug if there is something that can be brought into the 
systemV init to fix it.

I appreciate your former steps to reproduce, but they failed for me :-/
Without having more time debugging why I can't reproduce atm I'd need to ask 
you (or others) to debug what the missing new bit might be to fix up xenial.

** Also affects: autofs (Ubuntu Xenial)
   Importance: Undecided
       Status: New

** Also affects: upstart (Ubuntu Xenial)
   Importance: Undecided
       Status: New

** Also affects: autofs5 (Ubuntu Xenial)
   Importance: Undecided
       Status: New

** Changed in: autofs (Ubuntu)
       Status: Confirmed => Fix Released

** No longer affects: autofs5 (Ubuntu Xenial)

** No longer affects: upstart (Ubuntu Xenial)

** Changed in: autofs (Ubuntu Xenial)
       Status: New => Incomplete

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  [SRU] [xenial] autofs needs to be restarted to pick up some shares

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