2019 Audi A5 vs. 2019 Dodge Challenger

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A5 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 Challenger doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Challenger doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A5 has standard Pre Sense City, 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 Challenger offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The A5 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Challenger 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A5. But it costs extra on the Challenger.

The A5 Prestige’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Challenger doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The A5 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Challenger only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the A5 and the Challenger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A5 Coupe is safer than the Challenger:

A5

Challenger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

8 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

MARGINAL

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.74/1.02

1.46/1.01

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performs roof strength tests. In that test the A5 earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the A5’s weight before being crushed five inches. The Challenger was rated lower at “Acceptable.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the A5 is safer than the Challenger:

A5

Challenger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

22 mm

61 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

-7 mm

28 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

Max Neck Shearing Force

0

83

Max Neck Tension

222

456

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Challenger was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The A5 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Challenger’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Challenger’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).

Reliability

The Audi A5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Challenger’s 3.6 DOHC V6 engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the A5 has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Challenger.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A5’s reliability 28 points higher than the Challenger.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 54 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 14 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Engine

The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 268) than the Challenger’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 gets better fuel mileage than the Challenger:

MPG

A5

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

Challenger

RWD

Manual

5.7 OHV V8

15 city/23 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

14 city/23 hwy

Hellcat 6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/21 hwy

Auto

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

16 city/25 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

15 city/25 hwy

Hellcat 6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/22 hwy

AWD

Auto

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the A5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Challenger doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A5’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Challenger doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Challenger R/T manual requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Dodge Challenger (1 to 3). This means the A5 produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Challenger every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The A5 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Challenger doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A5’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Challenger:

A5

Challenger

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 has larger standard tires than the Challenger (245/40R18 vs. 235/55R18).

The A5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Challenger SXT’s standard 55 series tires.

Chassis

The Audi A5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 500 pounds less than the Dodge Challenger.

The A5 is 1 foot, 1.5 inches shorter than the Challenger, making the A5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi A5 amounts to more than styling. The A5 offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .29 to .3 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is significantly lower than the Challenger (.337 to .398). A more efficient exterior helps the A5 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the A5 get better fuel mileage.

For excellent aerodynamics, the A5 has standard flush composite headlights. The Challenger has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A5 easier. The A5’s trunk lift-over height is 28.5 inches, while the Challenger’s liftover is 33.2 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the A5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Challenger doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A5 offers cargo security. The Challenger’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the A5’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Challenger doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 53% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the A5, the optional memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, suspension setting and outside mirror angle. The Challenger doesn’t offer a memory system.

The A5 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Challenger doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The A5’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Challenger’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the A5 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Challenger can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A5 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Challenger doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The A5’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 Challenger’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Challenger doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

When the A5 with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Challenger’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The A5 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Challenger has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the A5 and the Challenger offer optional heated front seats. The A5 Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Challenger.

The A5 Prestige’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Challenger doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Dodge Challenger isn’t available as a convertible or four door.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A5 is less expensive to operate than the Challenger because typical repairs cost much less on the A5 than the Challenger, including $168 less for a muffler, $193 less for front brake pads, $217 less for a fuel pump and $783 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A5 second among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Challenger isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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