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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 Volkswagen GTI 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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The S4 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
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 GTI only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
Both the S4 and the GTI 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi S4 weighs 622 to 796 pounds more than the Volkswagen GTI. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The S4 comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. Audi will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the GTI.
The S4’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the GTI’s (12 vs. 10 years).
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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 121 more horsepower (349 vs. 228) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
The S4 has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the GTI (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Audi S4 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the GTI.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi S4, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GTI.
For better stopping power the S4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GTI:
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 GTI are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the S4 has larger tires than the GTI (245/40R18 vs. 225/40R18).
The S4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GTI’s 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S4 offers optional 19-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The S4 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The GTI’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S4’s wheelbase is 7.6 inches longer than on the GTI (111.2 inches vs. 103.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S4 is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the GTI.
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 GTI (.31) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the S4 get better fuel mileage.
The S4 has .5 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the GTI.
With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S4 offers cargo security. The GTI’s 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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The engine in the S4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the GTI. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 43% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.
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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
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 GTI doesn’t offer headlight washers.
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 GTI 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 GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the S4 and the GTI 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 GTI.
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 GTI doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the S4’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The GTI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The S4 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 is only available on the GTI Autobahn.
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