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The S8’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Model S doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi S8 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The S8 has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Model S doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.
The S8 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 Model S 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.
A passive infrared night vision system optional on the S8 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard and even aims one of the vehicle’s headlights in the direction of the person or object. The Model S doesn’t offer a night vision system.
The S8 has a standard Top View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model S 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.
To help make backing safer, the S8’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 Model S doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The S8 has 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 Model S doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the S8 and the Model S 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, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.
The S8’s corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).
There are almost 5 times as many Audi dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the S8’s warranty.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 9 places higher in reliability than Tesla.
The S8’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 477.4 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model S’ range is only 259 to 335 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.
For better stopping power the S8’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Model S:
The S8 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 Model S doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.
In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The S8 has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.
For better traction, the S8 has larger tires than the Model S (265/40R20 vs. 245/45R19). The S8’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Model S (265/40R20 vs. 245/35R21).
The S8’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 Model S’ standard 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S8 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the Model S.
The S8 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 Model S; 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 S8’s wheelbase is 6.7 inches longer than on the Model S (123.2 inches vs. 116.5 inches).
The S8 has 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, 3.2 inches more rear headroom, 8.9 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model S.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the S8’s available rear seats recline. The Model S’ middle row seats don’t recline.
With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the S8 offers cargo security. The Model S’ hatchback body style and non-lockable folding seat defeat cargo security.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S8’s trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Model S doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
A Service Interval Display is standard on the S8 to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model S.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Model S, the S8 has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The S8’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Model S doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The S8 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 Model S doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left open on the S8 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 Model S can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S8 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Model S doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The S8’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model S doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S8 has standard extendable sun visors. The Model S doesn’t offer extendable visors.
Power rear and rear side window sunshades are standard in the S8 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Model S doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
The S8 has standard front air-conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model S doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The S8 has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the Model S.
The S8 has standard massaging front and optional massaging rear seats. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Model S.
The S8 offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Model S doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
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