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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 5 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 Ford Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 only offers a rear monitor.
Both the RS 5 and the Shelby GT350 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.
The RS 5 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Shelby GT350’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The RS 5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Shelby GT350’s (12 vs. 5 years).
The Shelby GT350’s redline is at 8250 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The RS 5 has a 6500 RPM redline.
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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 11 places higher in reliability than Ford.
The RS 5’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 429) than the Shelby GT350’s 5.2 DOHC V8.
Regenerative brakes improve the RS 5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi RS 5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Ford Shelby GT350 (3). This means the RS 5 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Shelby GT350 every 15,000 miles.
The RS 5 has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.
To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the RS 5 has a standard up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an up-shift light.
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 Ford Shelby GT350 is not available with all-wheel drive.
For better stopping power the RS 5’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Shelby GT350:
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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Shelby GT350’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RS 5’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Shelby GT350 (108.9 inches vs. 107.1 inches).
For better maneuverability, the RS 5’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Shelby GT350’s (38.4 feet vs. 40.4 feet).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the RS 5 a Subcompact car, while the Shelby GT350 is rated a Two Seater.
The RS 5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the Shelby GT350R Coupe can only carry up to 2.
With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the RS 5 offers cargo security. The Shelby GT350’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, the RS 5’s trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The RS 5 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Shelby GT350 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.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 60% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.
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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350’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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer headlight washers.
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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The RS 5’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.
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 Shelby GT350’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The RS 5 has standard 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 Shelby GT350 has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The RS 5 has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Shelby GT350.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the RS 5 has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer rear vents.
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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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