Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2009 Audi R8 VS 2009 Dodge Viper Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2009 Audi R8

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VS

2009 Dodge Viper

Safety Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi R8 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 Dodge Viper doesn’t offer height adjustable seat belts.

The R8 has standard front seat side-impact airbags, which act as a forgiving barrier between the passengers and the door. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases protection from broadside collisions. The Viper doesn't offer side-impact airbags.

The R8 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Viper doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

To prevent wheelspin and loss of control under poor traction conditions, full range traction control is standard on the Audi R8. The Dodge Viper doesn’t offer traction control.

The R8 has a standard Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP), which uses the antilock brake hardware along with powerful software and additional sensors to detect the beginning of a skid. The ESP then intervenes by automatically applying the brake at one appropriate wheel, preventing a skid. The Viper doesn’t offer skid prevention. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that skid control systems reduced single-vehicle car crashes by 30%.

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 Viper doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The R8 offers optional parking sensors to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The R8 also offers an optional backup monitor to help drivers see any and all obstacles behind their vehicle. The Viper doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

Both the R8 and the Viper have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners and four-wheel antilock brakes.

Warranty Comparison

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The R8 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Viper’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The R8 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. Dodge doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Viper.

The R8’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Viper’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Audi pays for scheduled maintenance on the R8 for 1 year and 5000 miles. Audi will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Viper.

Reliability Comparison

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the R8 has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engine in the Viper.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the R8 has a standard 190 amp alternator. The Viper’s 180 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 27th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics, which show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 23rd in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 24th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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The R8 has 7.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Viper (23.8 vs. 16 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the R8’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Viper:

R8

Viper

Front Rotors

15 inches

14 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The R8 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 Viper doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The R8 stops shorter than the Viper:

R8

Viper

80 to 0 MPH

196 feet

198 feet

Road & Track

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the R8 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18 inch front wheels are available on the Viper.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The R8 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 Viper doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the R8’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the Viper (104.3 inches vs. 98.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the R8 is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Viper.

The R8 goes through Road & Track’s slalom 1.4 MPH faster than the Viper Coupe (71.1 vs. 69.7 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the R8’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the Viper’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The design of the Audi R8 amounts to more than styling. The R8 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .34 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Viper (.38). A more efficient exterior helps the R8 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the R8 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the R8 is quieter than the Viper Coupe:

R8

Viper

At idle

52 dB

62 dB

Full-Throttle

81 dB

84 dB

50 MPH Cruising

69 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

72 dB

79 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

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The R8 has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front legroom and .7 inches more front shoulder room than the Viper.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The R8’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Viper’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.

The R8 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 Viper doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Viper’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The R8 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 Viper doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

The R8’s outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Viper doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The R8’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Viper doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The R8’s standard heated front seats keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. The Viper doesn’t offer heated seats.

The R8’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Viper doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the R8’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Viper doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the R8 has standard steering wheel controls for the radio. The Viper doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

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