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The S5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4C doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The S5’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 4C doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The S5 has standard 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 4C doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The S5 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 4C 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 S5 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The 4C doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The S5 (except Premium)’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 4C doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The S5 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 4C 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.
The S5’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4C doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the S5’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 4C doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The S5 has a standard Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4C doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the S5 and the 4C have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.
The Audi S5 weighs 1371 to 1691 pounds more than the Alfa Romeo 4C. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 185 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 4C has not been tested, yet.
The S5’s corrosion warranty is 8 years longer than the 4C’s (12 vs. 4 years).
There are over 75 percent more Audi dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the S5’s warranty.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the S5’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 4C’s camshafts. If the 4C’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 22nd in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Alfa Romeo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 15 places higher in reliability than Alfa Romeo.
The S5’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 112 more horsepower (349 vs. 237) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4-cylinder.
Regenerative brakes improve the S5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 4C doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S5’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 4C doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi S5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 4C requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The S5 has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (15.3 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo 4C (1). This means the S5 produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4C every 15,000 miles.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi S5, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 4C.
All-wheel drive, available in the S5, 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 Alfa Romeo 4C is not available with all-wheel drive.
For better stopping power the S5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4C:
For better traction, the S5 has larger standard tires than the 4C (245/40R18 vs. 205/45R17). The S5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4C (265/30R20 vs. 205/45R17).
The S5’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 4C’s standard 45 series front tires. The S5’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the 4C’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch front wheels are standard on the 4C. The S5’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rear wheels optional on the 4C.
The S5 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 4C; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
The S5 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 4C’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The S5 has standard power steering to make quick and controllable low speed maneuvers easy. The 4C doesn’t offer power steering.
The S5 has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The 4C doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5’s wheelbase is 15.1 inches longer than on the 4C (108.8 inches vs. 93.7 inches).
The S5’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56.7% to 43.3%) than the 4C’s (41% to 59%). This gives the S5 more stable handling and braking.
For better maneuverability, the S5’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the 4C’s (37.7 feet vs. 40.5 feet).
The S5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 4C can only carry 2.
The S5 Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 4C Spider (7.3 vs. 3.7 cubic feet).
With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S5 offers cargo security. The 4C’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S5’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The 4C doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The S5 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 4C 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 S5 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the 4C. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
When two different drivers share the S5, the optional 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 4C doesn’t offer a memory system.
The S5 Prestige has a standard 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 4C doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The S5’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4C 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 S5’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 4C’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
The S5’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.
If the windows are left open on the S5 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 4C can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Keyless Engine Start/Stop standard on the S5 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t offer an advanced key system.
The S5 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 4C doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
The S5’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 4C’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 S5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 4C 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 S5 Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 4C doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The S5 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic headlights.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S5 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S5 has standard extendable sun visors. The 4C doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The S5’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 4C’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.
The S5’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.
When the S5 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 4C’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The S5’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4C doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.
The S5 has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the 4C.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the S5 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The 4C doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the S5 Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 4C doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The S5 has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the 4C.
The S5’s 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. The 4C doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The S5’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the S5’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 4C doesn’t offer a filtration system.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S5 (except Premium) 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 4C doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the S5 has standard steering wheel controls for the radio. The 4C doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.
To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the S5 (except Premium). The S5’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The 4C doesn’t offer a navigation system.
With standard voice command, the S5 offers the driver hands free control of the radio, climate controls and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 4C doesn’t offer a voice control system.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi S5 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The 4C doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The S5 Prestige’s 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 4C doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Audi S5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t available as a coupe or four door.
The Audi A5/S5/RS 5 outsold the Alfa Romeo 4C by almost 160 to one during 2019.
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