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The RS 3’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 3 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.
The RS 3 has standard Audi Pre Sense Front, 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 Charger SRT doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The RS 3 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 3 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The RS 3’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The RS 3 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 3 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, blind spot warning systems and rearview cameras.
The RS 3 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 3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Charger SRT’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).
For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the RS 3 has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engine in the Charger SRT.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 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 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.
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.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi RS 3 higher (3 out of 10) than the Dodge Charger SRT (1). This means the RS 3 produces up to 22.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Charger SRT every 15,000 miles.
The RS 3 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 Charger SRT doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.
The RS 3 offers optional 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 3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Charger SRT’s standard 40 series tires. The RS 3’s optional 255/30R19 front and 235/35R19 rear tires have a lower 30 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Charger SRT’s 40 series tires.
The RS 3 has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
The RS 3 handles at .96 G’s, while the Charger SRT Hellcat pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.
For better maneuverability, the RS 3’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Charger SRT’s (36.1 feet vs. 39 feet).
The Audi RS 3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 950 pounds less than the Dodge Charger SRT.
The RS 3 is 2 feet shorter than the Charger SRT, making the RS 3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the RS 3 easier. The RS 3’s trunk lift-over height is 26.3 inches, while the Charger SRT’s liftover is 30.1 inches.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 90% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 30th.
The RS 3’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 open on the RS 3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Charger SRT can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The RS 3’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 standard 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 3 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Charger SRT doesn’t offer headlight washers.
Insurance will cost less for the RS 3 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RS 3 will cost $3805 to $6910 less than the Charger SRT over a five-year period.
The RS 3 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Charger SRT has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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