2019 Audi S4 vs. 2018 Ford Focus RS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Focus RS doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The S4’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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The S4 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 Focus RS doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The S4 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 Focus RS 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 S4 Prestige’s 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The S4 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Focus RS only offers a rear monitor.

To help make backing safer, the S4’s optional 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The S4 offers an optional Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the S4 and the Focus RS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The S4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Focus RS’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Focus RS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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.

Engine

The S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 350) than the Focus RS’ 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The S4 has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Focus RS (15.3 vs. 13.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S4 higher (5 out of 10) than the Ford Focus RS (3). This means the S4 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Focus RS every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The S4 has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Focus RS doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The S4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Focus RS are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S4 has larger tires than the Focus RS (245/40R18 vs. 235/35R19).

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S4’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the Focus RS (111.2 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better maneuverability, the S4’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Focus RS’ (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Passenger Space

The S4 has .6 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Focus RS.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S4 easier. The S4’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Focus RS’ liftover is 28.2 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S4 offers cargo security. The Focus RS’ hatchback body style, non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the S4. The Focus RS doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S4’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Focus RS 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 S4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Focus RS 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 S4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Focus RS. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the S4 to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Ford doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Focus RS.

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.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the S4, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a memory system.

The S4 Prestige 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the S4 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 Focus RS can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The S4 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The S4’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 Focus RS’ 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 S4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Focus RS 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 S4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Focus RS doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S4 Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Focus RS doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Focus RS doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S4 has standard extendable sun visors. The Focus RS doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The S4 Premium Plus/Prestige 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 Focus RS offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the S4 and the Focus RS have standard heated front seats. The S4 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Focus RS.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the S4 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Focus RS doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The S4 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Focus RS doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Both the S4 and the Focus RS offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S4 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Focus RS doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S4 Prestige has a standard 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 Focus RS doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the S4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S4 will cost $2365 to $3955 less than the Focus RS over a five-year period.

The S4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S4 will retain 53.92% to 54.25% of its original price after five years, while the Focus RS only retains 52.35%.

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

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