2020 Audi R8 vs. 2019 Ford Shelby GT350

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The R8 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 Audi R8 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The R8 has standard Parking System Plus to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the R8 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, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The R8 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 R8’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Shelby GT350’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The battery on the R8 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the R8’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Shelby GT350’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 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 R8 V10’s standard 5.2 DOHC V10 produces 36 more horsepower (562 vs. 526) than the Shelby GT350’s 5.2 DOHC V8. The R8 V10 Performance/Decennium’s standard 5.2 DOHC V10 produces 76 more horsepower (602 vs. 526) than the Shelby GT350’s 5.2 DOHC V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the R8’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The R8 V10 Performance’s standard fuel tank has 3.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Shelby GT350 (19.3 vs. 16 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The R8’s standard fuel tank has 5.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Shelby GT350 (21.9 vs. 16 gallons).

Transmission and Drivetrain

The R8 has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

The R8 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an SMG.

All wheel drive, available in the R8, 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.

Brakes and Stopping

The R8 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.

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the R8 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Shelby GT350’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the R8 is 1.5 inches wider in the front than on the Shelby GT350.

For better maneuverability, the R8’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the Shelby GT350’s (36.7 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis

The R8 is 1 foot, 1.9 inches shorter than the Shelby GT350, making the R8 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Servicing Ease

The R8 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 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

When different drivers share the R8, the memory system makes it convenient. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and climate settings. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a memory system.

The R8’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Shelby GT350 has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The R8’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.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the R8 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The R8’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 R8 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 R8 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.

The R8 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.

Model Availability

The Audi R8 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Ford Shelby GT350 isn’t available as a convertible.

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

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