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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S5 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 Ford Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 only offers a rear monitor.
Both the S5 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
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 Shelby GT350 has not been tested, yet.
The S5 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 S5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Shelby GT350’s (12 vs. 5 years).
The Shelby GT350’s redline is at 8250 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The S5 has a 6700 RPM redline.
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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 2 places higher in reliability than Ford.
Regenerative brakes improve the S5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi S5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Ford Shelby GT350 (3). This means the S5 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Shelby GT350 every 15,000 miles.
The S5 has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.
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 Ford Shelby GT350 is not available with all-wheel drive.
The S5 stops much shorter than the Shelby GT350:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Shelby GT350’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.
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 Shelby GT350; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5’s wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer than on the Shelby GT350 (108.8 inches vs. 107.1 inches).
For better maneuverability, the S5’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Shelby GT350’s (37.7 feet vs. 40.4 feet).
The S5 is 3.4 inches shorter than the Shelby GT350R Coupe, making the S5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the S5 Prestige Coupe is quieter than the Shelby GT350 Coupe:
70 MPH Cruising
The S5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the Shelby GT350R Coupe can only carry up to 2.
With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S5 offers cargo security. The Shelby GT350’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 S5’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Shelby GT350 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 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.
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 Shelby GT350 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 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.
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 Shelby GT350 can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350’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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer headlight washers.
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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The S5’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford charges extra for heated mirrors on the Shelby GT350.
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 Shelby GT350’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 Shelby GT350 has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the S5 has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer rear vents.
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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
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 Shelby GT350 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 Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Audi S5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Ford Shelby GT350 isn’t available as a convertible or four door.
Insurance will cost less for the S5 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S5 will cost $3320 to $6885 less than the Shelby GT350 over a five-year period.
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