2019 Audi RS 5 vs. 2019 Alfa Romeo 4C

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RS 5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4C doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RS 5’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The 4C doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The RS 5 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 4C doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The RS 5 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The 4C doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The RS 5’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 4C doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The RS 5 offers an optional Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 4C 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.

The RS 5’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4C doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the RS 5’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 4C doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The RS 5 has a standard Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4C doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the RS 5 and the 4C have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Audi RS 5 weighs 1481 pounds more than the Alfa Romeo 4C. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

The RS 5’s corrosion warranty is 8 years longer than the 4C’s (12 vs. 4 years).

There are over 75 percent more Audi dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the RS 5’s warranty.

Engine

The RS 5’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 207 more horsepower (444 vs. 237) and 185 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Road and Track the Audi RS 5 is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C:

 

RS 5

4C

Zero to 60 MPH

3.4 sec

4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

11.8 sec

12.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

114.9 MPH

107.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the RS 5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 4C doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The RS 5 has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (15.3 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi RS 5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo 4C (1). This means the RS 5 produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4C every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi RS 5, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 4C.

All-wheel drive, available in the RS 5, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all-wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Alfa Romeo 4C is not available with all-wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RS 5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4C:

 

RS 5

RS 5

4C

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

15.7 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13 inches

11.5 inches

The RS 5 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 4C doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 5 has larger standard tires than the 4C (265/35R19 vs. 205/45R17). The RS 5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4C (275/30R20 vs. 205/45R17).

The RS 5’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 4C’s standard 45 series front and 40 series rear tires. The RS 5’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the 4C’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 5 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels are standard on the 4C. The RS 5’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rear wheels optional on the 4C.

Suspension and Handling

The RS 5 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 4C’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The RS 5 has standard power steering to make quick and controllable low speed maneuvers easy. The 4C doesn’t offer power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RS 5’s wheelbase is 15.2 inches longer than on the 4C (108.9 inches vs. 93.7 inches).

For better maneuverability, the RS 5’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the 4C’s (38.4 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Audi RS 5 amounts to more than styling. The RS 5 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the 4C (.341). A more efficient exterior helps the RS 5 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the RS 5 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The RS 5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 4C can only carry 2.

The RS 5 has 1 inch more front headroom and 5.3 inches more front shoulder room than the 4C.

Cargo Capacity

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the RS 5 offers cargo security. The 4C’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the RS 5’s trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The 4C doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The RS 5 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 4C uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the RS 5 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the 4C. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the RS 5, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The 4C doesn’t offer a memory system.

The RS 5 offers an optional 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 4C doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RS 5’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 4C’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The RS 5’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left open on the RS 5 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the 4C can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Audi Advanced Key standard on the RS 5 allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The RS 5 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 4C doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The RS 5’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 4C’s 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 RS 5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 4C doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 5 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 4C doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The RS 5 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the RS 5 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RS 5 has standard extendable sun visors. The 4C doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The RS 5’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 4C’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

The RS 5’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

When the RS 5 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 4C’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RS 5’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4C doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The RS 5 has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the 4C.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RS 5 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4C doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the RS 5’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 4C doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The RS 5’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 4C doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The RS 5’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the RS 5’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 4C doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RS 5 offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4C doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the RS 5 has standard steering wheel controls for the radio. The 4C doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

Standard smartphone integration for the RS 5 allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, finding fuel prices at nearby service stations, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The 4C doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the RS 5. The RS 5’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The 4C doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the RS 5 offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 4C doesn’t offer a voice control system.

The RS 5’s optional Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 4C doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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