2018 Audi RS 7 vs. 2017 Dodge Charger SRT

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 7 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Dodge Charger SRT doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The RS 7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 7 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Dodge Charger SRT has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the RS 7 and Charger SRT have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The RS 7 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Charger SRT’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The RS 7 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The RS 7 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the RS 7 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The RS 7 has standard Parking System Plus to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the RS 7 and the Charger SRT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.

Warranty

The RS 7 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Charger SRT’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The RS 7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Charger SRT’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the RS 7 have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engines in the Charger SRT.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 74 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 32nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi fourth in reliability. Dodge is ranked 26th.

Engine

The RS 7’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 75 more horsepower (560 vs. 485) and 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 475) than the Charger SRT 392’s standard 6.4 V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi RS 7 4.0 is faster than the Charger SRT Hellcat 6.2 supercharged V8:

 

RS 7

Charger SRT

Zero to 60 MPH

3.2 sec

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

11.6 sec

11.8 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

The RS 7 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Charger SRT (19.8 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

The RS 7 Performance has standard heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The RS 7 stops shorter than the Charger SRT:

 

RS 7

Charger SRT

 

80 to 0 MPH

192 feet

194 feet

Road and Track

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

114 feet

Road and Track

Tires and Wheels

The RS 7’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Charger SRT’s standard 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Only 20-inch wheels are available on the Charger SRT.

The RS 7 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Charger SRT; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the RS 7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Charger SRT, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The RS 7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The RS 7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The RS 7 handles at .93 G’s, while the Charger SRT Hellcat pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.

Chassis

The RS 7 is 3.5 inches shorter than the Charger SRT, making the RS 7 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi RS 7 amounts to more than styling. The RS 7 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .3 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Charger SRT (.335) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the RS 7 get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the RS 7 easier. The RS 7’s trunk lift-over height is 27.1 inches, while the Charger SRT’s liftover is 30.1 inches.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the RS 7’s power trunk can be opened just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The RS 7’s power trunk can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Charger SRT, the RS 7 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The RS 7 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RS 7’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Charger SRT’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left down on the RS 7 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 Charger SRT can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RS 7’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Charger SRT’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RS 7 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RS 7 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RS 7 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Recommendations

The RS 7 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 6 years. The Charger SRT has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The RS 7 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The Charger SRT has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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