Audi A5 gets new lease of life

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Old 23-Sep-2011
Audi A5 gets new lease of life

Variety is the spice of life, so when the waiters at the Fairplay Golf Hotel, Jerez, Spain, started bringing out the tapas,I didn't hold back. And it seems Audi is not holding back either. It's offering more choice than most food courts. These days, you only have to wait a few months for not one, but three new models to come along. They're churning them out quicker than you can say Vorsprung durch Technik. But you'll need to look closely to spot the differences on the refreshed A5 Sportback, Coupé, Cabriolet and S5. If I'm honest,I was disappointed with the appetizers, but I was hoping the revised A5, coupled with some fabulous Spanish roads, would more than make up for it.
I was keen to sample the Misano Red Cabriolet first as it looked like it'd be the most fun of the lot. But, jumping into the driver's seat of that would be akin to eating your dessert without finishing your greens. So, I pondered between the sporty looking Coupé and the more sophisticated Sportback. I opted for the latter, which was wearing Ibis White paint and hada drivetrain that the Middle East won't be getting — a 2.0-litre TDI with a six-speed manual — just to remember how it feels to row your own gears again.
Before I set off on a pre-planned route around picturesque Jerez de la Frontera,I was keen to see just what was new.
Immediately, I could tell that the headlights across the range have become sharper, giving its face a serious, if angrier expression. The high-gloss black single-frame grille is more angular and the taillights have been tweaked and look longer and slimmer than before. The bonnet looks more pumped and muscular, while the bumpers, featuring air inlets, add a millimetre in length to all three cars. The cabin, already a wondrous place, has been slightly tweaked, but not that you'd really notice. For instance, the heated and ventilated seats are now controlled by buttons instead of dials, you have more selection of trims and inlays than before to personalise it the way you want and you can now spec the Sportback with five seats covered in Nappa leather.
It's got a new driver fatigue detector, which can tell when you're tired and weaving in your lane, driving too close to the car in front of you and generally when you're in need of a break from the road. It does so with gentle reminders that flash up in the form of coffee cup symbols on the dash.
If you found the MMI system a little tricky on the previous model, then you'll be pleased to know that it now comes with fewer buttons, reduced from eight to four, making it more user friendly. The voice control has a broader vocabulary and understands your commands better and it also has internet connectivity.
On the safety front, all three cars boast standard equipment such as antilock brakes, stability control and front, rear and side curtain airbags.
Under the skin is perhaps wherethe A5 has changed the most. The power-zapping hydraulic steering has given way to a new electromechanical system that Audi claims reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.3 litres-per-100km.
Beneath the newly shaped bonnet you have a host of engine choices available to you, which on average reduce fuel consumption by as much as 11 per cent and CO2 emissions by 22 per cent.
There is a wide range of both TDI diesel and TFSI petrol engines and they have three things in common — forced induction, direct fuel injection and a stop-start system.
Let's start with the entry level 1.8-litre four-pot TFSI, which has been redesigned from top to bottom and has 10 more horsepower than before for a total of 170bhp and 320Nm of torque. But more importantly, its fuel consumption hasbeen improved. It's gone from sipping6.0 litres-per-100km to 5.7 but that's not all. Its emissions have also dropped from 164 to 134g/km. The 2.0-litre four-pot TFSI still produces 211bhp and 350Nm of torque but now does so while drinking and polluting less, while the new 3.0-litre V6, which will be the popular choice in the Middle East, has a very agreeable 272bhp and 400Nm of torque.
Since we won't be getting manualshere, I reluctantly switched my six-speeddo-it-yourself gearbox for a seven-speed S tronic in a Scuba Blue Sportback, which oozed character from its short overhangs, coupé roof and muscular body. It looked like an athlete wearing a tuxedo.
In the base Premium trim, it stillboasted 17in alloys, soft leather interior and a 10-speaker sound system but fully loaded Prestige versions get you all the goodies including a Bang & Olufsensound system, blind-spot detectionsystem and the Audi Drive Select which lets you to adjust the suspension, transmission and steering.
A push of the start button and the3.0-litre TFSI V6 burst into life. It gave out a menacing growl each time I dropped the gears via the steering-mounted paddle shifters and stepped on the loud pedal.
Reaching the stopover point quicker than I'd have liked, the time came to swap it for the Cabriolet. No complaints though — it looked ravishing with the top down. Again, with a 3.0-litre TFSI under the bonnet, quattro all-wheel drive andS tronic gearbox, I was back on the roadin a flash.
It felt a bit floaty over the dips in the road but I couldn't detect any structural weakness with the top lopped off whenI encountered sharp bends. It did feela little bumpy on rougher surfaces but that was my only issue with it.
I was impressed with the upgraded four-wheel drive system, which now sends more torque to one rear wheel than the other to help it in the bends, while the canvas top, available in four colours, affords it more boot space than had it been made of metal. The wind blocker dida sublime job and kept the interior noise down to a minimum — but at cruising speeds only.
Then came the S5 Coupé. Boastinga full bodykit, 18in alloys and a specially trimmed interior, it looked like it was chomping at the bit and just wanted to go. Powered by a 333bhp supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI V6 (the V8 is being reserved for the soon-to-arrive RS5) and mated to the S tronic, it flew off the line in anger. Sprinting from 0-100kph in just4.9 seconds to a limited top speed of 250kph, the eye-catching quattro S5 had both looks and power in abundance. 440Nm of torque certainly is my idea of fun. Its stiffer sport suspension eliminated any body roll, keeping it perfectly stable in the corners while every time I mashed the pedal into the carpet, it let rip a rasping roar. From those striking LEDs to the cool S5 badges, the Prism Silver rocket was my favourite. I'd buy this one without hesitation, but between the three cars, the Sportback with its luxurious and roomy interior, was the most practical.

They say beauty is only skin deep, but it goes much further than that in the new A5. Each body style serves a purpose. The Sportback is ideal for ferrying your friends or family around, the Cabriolet steals the show when you drop the top while the super handling S5 is for those who want a real thrill every time they get in. So, while the tapas might have been a let-down, the new A5 on Audi's menu more than made up for this.
Specs & ratings
Model A5 Cabriolet
Engine 3.0-litre turbo V6
Transmission Seven-speed, quattro
Max power 272bhp @ 4,780rpm
Max torque 400Nm @ 2,150rpm
Top speed 250kph
0-100kph 5.4sec

Model A5 Sportback
Engine 3.0-litre turbo V6
Transmission Seven-speed, quattro
Max power 272bhp @ 4,780rpm
Max torque 400Nm @ 2,150rpm
Top speed 250kph
0-100kph 5.1sec

Model S5 Coupé
Engine 3.0-litre supercharged V6
Transmission Seven-speed, quattro
Max power 333bhp @ 5,500rpm
Max torque 440Nm @ 2,900rpm
Top speed 250kph (limited)
0-100kph 4.9sec

Old 27-Sep-2011
Re: Audi A5 gets new lease of life


Old 27-Sep-2011
Re: Audi A5 gets new lease of life

4.9 seconds.. JUST made it

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