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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S4 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 Charger doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
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 Charger doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
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 Charger 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 S4. But it costs extra on the Charger.
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 Charger 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 S4 and the Charger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
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 Charger’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The S4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Charger’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).
For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the S4 has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Charger.
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.
The S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 57 more horsepower (349 vs. 292) and 109 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 260) than the Charger’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6. The S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 49 more horsepower (349 vs. 300) and 105 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 264) than the Charger’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S4 higher (5 out of 10) than the Dodge Charger (3). This means the S4 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Charger every 15,000 miles.
For better stopping power the S4’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Charger:
The S4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Charger SXT are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the S4 has larger tires than the Charger (245/40R18 vs. 215/65R17).
The S4’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 Charger SXT’s standard 65 series tires. The S4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Charger’s optional 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S4 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Charger SXT.
The S4 is 11.6 inches shorter than the Charger SXT, making the S4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The design of the Audi S4 amounts to more than styling. The S4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the Charger (.304 to .335) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the S4 get better fuel mileage.
The S4 has .3 inches more front headroom and .8 inches more rear headroom than the Charger.
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 Charger’s liftover is 30.1 inches.
With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S4 offers cargo security. The Charger’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 S4’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Charger doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
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 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 Charger doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The S4’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’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
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 Charger’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 S4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Charger doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Charger doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The S4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Dodge charges extra for heated mirrors on the Charger.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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