Fiat 500 vs. Audi Q7 in crash test (+video)

July 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Q7080044

While small cars like the Fiat 500 and MINI are tempting many people away from bigger, thirstier machines, a fact that is often unconsidered is what happens when a small car collides with a much larger vehicle?

Germany’s biggest car club, ADAC carried out this crash test to see what would happen when the 5-star Euro NCAP Fiat hit an Audi Q7 SUV.

Whether this video is indicative of a real crash scenario or not is up for argument.

Eaton to provide poke for new Audi engine

July 21st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation has announced that its Twin Vortices Seriesâ„¢ (TVSâ„¢) supercharger has been chosen by Audi to power the automaker’s all-new 3.0 litre TFSI V6 engine.

The supercharged 3.0 litre TFSI V6 is a member of Audi’s family of ultramodern V engines and will go into production later this year. Audi has a tradition of developing supercharged engines dating back to grand prix racing cars in the 1930s.

The Eaton TVS is an all-new Roots-type positive displacement supercharger that features twin four-lobe rotors that are twisted 160-degrees. The intermeshing, high-speed rotor design pumps air directly into the engines intake system that when mixed with fuel creates more power. By comparison, the original Eaton supercharger features three lobes twisted 60 degrees. The fourth lobe and added twist, when combined with redesigned air inlet and outlet ports, creates a smooth, highly efficient flow of air into the engine and has improved noise and vibration characteristics.

Many car manufacturers inclucing Mercedes-Benz, GM and Audi, are looking toward smaller, more efficient engines coupled with forced induction (turbocharged or supercharged) to reduce fuel consumption while still providing ‘large engine’ power.

Hot Audi RS6 in New Zealand soon

July 3rd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Audi RS6 Quatto 1

The new Audi RS6 has hit New Zealand and what a car it promises to be. Stay tuned to Car and SUV for our verdict when we test the RS6 soon.

A newly developed V10 biturbo petrol engine with FSI direct injection plus quattro permanent all-wheel drive puts the new RS 6 Avant out in front of the competition.

Its 426 kW and torque of 650 Nm create an unparalleled experience of power and dynamism.

The biturbo V10 accelerates the Audi RS 6 from zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds and then on to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h, which can optionally be increased to 280 km/h. Its maximum torque is an awesome 650 Nm, available from 1,500 to 6,250 rpm, while maximum power output is produced between 6,250 rpm and the engine’s top speed of 6,700 rpm.

The sport suspension is ideally matched to the power of the V10 FSI. A fluid-mechanical system called DRC Dynamic Ride Control adjusts the shock absorbers at
lightning speed. In the compact, lightweight suspension system, each pair of diagonally opposite shock absorbers is interconnected by means of two oil lines and a central valve. When the car takes a bend, the valves reduce the oil flow at the shock absorber of the outer front wheel where the suspension spring is compressed. This improves support, reduces body roll and thus enhances handling dynamics.

The new Audi RS 6 will initially be available only as an Avant, offering the unrivaled combination of 426 kW (580 bhp) and up to 1,660 litres of luggage space. The launch of the Audi RS 6 Avant is set for early July 2008 and will be priced from $251,000.

Audi R8 pace car and track taxi

July 2nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Audi R8 pace car and taxi

Double debut at the Norisring in Nuremberg, Germany where the Audi R8 will be used as the official DTM safety car for the first time — and as a racing taxi as well.

Quattro GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of AUDI AG handed over two of the 420-hp mid-engine sports cars to the German Motorsport Association (DMSB) on the occasion of the “Norisring Speed Weekend”.

The two Audi R8 cars were prepared specifically for use as safety cars by quattro GmbH at the Neckarsulm plant. “There were not many modifications required, though, because the R8 possesses the genes of a perfect sports car,” says Werner Frowein, managing director of quattro GmbH.

Another Audi R8 was carefully prepared by quattro GmbH for use as a racing taxi.

Audi launches TTS in New Zealand

June 27th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

audi-tts-fq

Audi has taken the wraps off a new sports car model. The top model of the TT line, the TTS, is available in both Coupe and Roadster body versions. Its two-litre TFSI engine develops an awesome 200 kW (272 hp) that catapults the Coupe with S tronic dual-clutch transmission from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds and on up to a governed top speed of 250 km/h.

Quattro permanent all-wheel drive translates its sheer power efficiently onto the road, and the Audi magnetic ride shock absorber system guarantees precise handling. The high-tech S tronic transmission can take charge of power transmission as well, shifting faster than even a highly skilled driver.

The TFSI engine in the TTS takes the two petrol direct injection and turbo-charging technologies from Audi and blends them to form a perfect partnership for a sports car. It is not only the 200 kW of output that makes the TFSI so scintillating, there’s its hefty pulling power too — the maximum torque of 350 Nm is constantly on tap from 2,500 up to 5,000 rpm. tronic, which operates with six speeds and two clutches, changes gear at high load and engine speed in a fraction of a second. This, coupled with its dynamic starting performance, knocks two-tenths of a second off the sprint to 100 km/h for both the Coupe and Roadster. Virtually loss-free transfer of power to the road is the task of the standard-specification quattro permanent all-wheel drive, which enables the TTS to accelerate sooner and more reliably than its challengers.

At the heart of this system is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch, which now works faster than ever thanks to a new pressure reservoir. The TTS rolls off the production line equipped with yet another high-tech module — the Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system. Circulating inside its damper pistons is a special fluid containing minute magnetic particles. When electrical voltage is applied, the fluid’s flow properties change, altering the damping characteristics as well. The driver can choose between two mapped characteristics — Normal and Sport. Normal mode is designed for a well-balanced, comfortable ride, whereas in the Sport plane the TTS harnesses all of the potential of its sport suspension — which lowers the body by 10 millimetres — to deliver uncompromisingly crisp handling.

The TTS is launching in New Zealand in June and will be priced at $109,500 for the S tronic Coupe, and $114,500 for the S Tronic Roadster.

Audi introduces new engine for the A5

June 26th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

audi-a5-tfsi-fq

A newly developed Turbo FSI petrol engine available for the Audi A5 provides the coupe with a choice blend of pace and efficiency. The new 211PS A5 2.0 TFSI can be ordered in either front-wheel-drive or quattro permanent all-wheel-drive forms.

The new high-tech 2.0-litre unit is derived from the already much praised 1.8 TFSI engine introduced recently in A3, A4 and A5 models, but takes its efficiency a step further still through the use of new Audi valvelift technology. By employing sliding cam units mounted on the intake camshaft that allow for more variation in the degree of valve lift, the engine is able to ‘breathe’ even more effectively, switching to a higher cam profile when strong acceleration is required, or a lower profile that requires less fuel and air compression when throttle usage is more relaxed.

The new 2.0-litre TFSI unit delivers 211PS from 4,300rpm and a very impressive 350Nm torque maximum from just 1,500rpm — more even than the 3.2-litre V6 FSI unit also powering A5 models. It enables the front-wheel-drive A5 2.0 TFSI with six-speed manual transmission to cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.9 seconds, reach a top speed of 260km/h and return up to 6.6 l/100km according to the combined cycle test.  And despite doing full justice in performance terms to the purposeful styling of the A5, it also shows restraint where emissions are concerned, with an output of 154g/km for the front-wheel-drive version.

Standard specification for front-wheel-drive and quattro all-wheel-drive versions of the new A5 2.0 TFSI includes xenon headlamps with trademark LED strip daytime running lamps, 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, 3-zone electronic climate control, a 10-speaker Concert CD audio system, full Milano leather upholstery and rear acoustic parking.

Audi A4 2.7TDi 2008 Review

June 8th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Audi A4 fq

I had yet another conversation yesterday with a friend who is a German car fan. She said she tried an older Audi and was disappointed. “That’s because any Audi that’s more than about five years old is in a totally different league than new Audis,” I said. And it’s a lesser league. If you last drove an Audi a while ago (like when the A3 first came out, for example) and think that the marque represents stiff and unexciting driving, the later Audis will persuade you otherwise. Some more than others, though.

I have driven all four variants of the Audi A4, starting with the 1.8T through to the 3.2 quattro, but I’m going to focus on the 2.7 TDi because that is the best of the bunch, representing the best price vs. performance. The 3.2 quattro, while entertaining and a proper quattro experience, is a bit on the expensive side at $102,900. The two-wheel drive 2.7TDi is a mere $78,900 in comparison, and besides, I’d negotiate hard at the dealer and go for the excellent A5 if I was spending that kind of money.

Does all this two-wheel drive abundance give a potential branding issue for Audi: it is traditionally associated with quattro, there is only one model in the New Zealand lineup that is quattro, and it’s the best part of $25k more than the next one down. Is this going to bite Audi on its precision-engineered buttocks, or does the purchasing public not care in the slightest whether their traction control-enabled A4 has all four wheels transmitting power to the road?

Glynn Tulloch, Audi’s Managing Director was a bit hamstrung when ordering the cars from Germany (only the one quattro model was available), so was understandably upbeat about his two-wheel drive models. A heated debate raged between six of us scribes at the A4’s launch, and I would have to side with Glynn (unlike most of the others).

People will buy the A4 because they like the look, the colour choice, it’s the right price for them, and it has a four-ringed kudos they can wave in front of the neighbours, most of whom will be automotive philistines. Audi might lose a few sales, but I’d wager a tenner that it will be hardly any, and if they do, it’ll probably be to parent company Volkswagen.

Audi flew over one of their high-ranking engineers from Germany who explained how the whole car had been totally reworked since the previous version (which is good, because I didn’t like the previous one much).

The supplied A4 2.7 TDi came with a couple of the options that you may want to tick (and some absent that I would definitely want). The first one is the navigation. The lady who directs you is so much more alluring than the one offered by Mercedes — its one sounds like a newsreader. The other is the Bluetooth-enabled phone kit, which I don’t find as useful, but road warriors may as they wend their way down the highways and potholed byways of this fair country.

I wended my way all the way to Algies Bay — somewhere I hadn’t been before. Very nice it was to, as a fairly generic beach. The road back to Auckland contained a number of sweeping high speed curves which gave the Audi no trouble at all. In fact, everything was dispatched with a diesel-driven torquiness that quietly and relentlessly assures the driver of significant competence. Fitting, then, that it was the suspension engineer that came over from Germany. He drives a Lotus Elise when not on company time (he told me not to tell anyone, but I think that’s a selling point for the A4!)

What I did wish I had as an option was the brilliant dynamic steering option that I also tried on the launch — it allows you to choose how the steering responds while you’re driving, reducing the number of turns lock to lock for the twisty bits, and increasing them when you’re doing high speeds on comfortable motorways when you need stability.

The A4 had Audi’s drive select which lets you choose between comfort — great for cruising, and gives the best economy; normal, for everyday driving; and dynamic for spirited driving.

Other than that, you might want to visit the options list to get the A4 you really want. Heated seats aren’t standard, and the parking sensors are only at the back unless you spend more money. You’ll probably also want to upgrade the sound system if you’re a music fan.

But back to the range so that you can make a decision. You don’t want the 1.8 turbo — the eight-speed automatic gearbox mated to that engine just doesn’t work like it does with the diesels, and the 16-inch wheels look too small compared to the 17s on the 2.7. The 2-litre diesel is OK, the 3.2 quattro is very good and has lots more kit, but that puts it into A5 territory. Mmmmm. A5. That leaves us with the business-like 2.7TDi — my pick, and only eleven grand more than the 1.8. 7.7 seconds to 100kph is perfectly acceptable from the 140kW and 400Nm on offer, and with a combined fuel consumption of just 6.6l/100km, it’s easy on the wallet at the pump.

It’s the perfect car for those who want a steady, assured, solid-feeling vehicle that gets four rings on your driveway for a sensible price.

Price: from $78,900 (2.7 TDi).

What we like

  • Comfortable and business-like A to B experience
  • Styling
  • Good economy/power ratio

What we don’t like

  • Doesn’t feel special like an A5 does — we could be driving any comfortable car, including some that are significantly cheaper.
  • Heated front seats aren’t standard
  • Therefore you’ll want to spend some money on the options list (and not just for heated seats)

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

Model

Audi A4 2.7 TDI with diesel particulate filter

Engine / electrics
Engine type V6 diesel engine with VTG turbocharger, DOHC;
TDI® direct injection
Valve gear / number of valves per cylinder Roller cam followers with hydraulic valve-play compensation / 4
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression 2698 / 83.0 x 83.1 / 16.8:1
Max. power output in kW (bhp) / at rpm 140 (190) / 3500 – 4400
Max. torque in Nm / at rpm 400 / 1400 — 3250
Engine management / mixture preparation Common rail injection system, 1650 bar with piezo injectors,
direct injection with eight-hole nozzles, VTG turbocharger with intercooler; swirl and tangential intake ports, regulated swirl port; Bosch EDC; volume, injection start, charge pressure, EGR control
Exhaust emission control Oxidising catalytic converter, water-cooled exhaust gas recirculation, coated maintenance-free diesel particulate filter
Emission class EU 4
Alternator in A / battery in A/Ah 150 / 520 / 110
Drive / transmission
Drivetrain type Front-wheel drive with electronic stabilisation program ESP
Clutch Electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, oil-cooled
Gearbox type Continuously variable multitronic transmission with DRP, sport program
Gear ratio in 1st gear / 2nd gear 2.478 / 1.351
Gear ratio in 3rd gear / 4th gear 0.996 / 0.782
Gear ratio in 5th gear / 6th gear 0.635 / 0.528
Gear ratio in 7th gear / 8th gear 0.443 / 0.369
Reverse gear / final drive ratio 2.998 / 5.625
Suspension / steering / brakes
Front suspension Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones, tubular anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension with resiliently mounted subframe, anti-roll bar
Steering / steering ratio / turning circle in m (D102) Maintenance-free rack-and-pinion steering with power assistance / 16.3 / 11.4
Brake system, front/rear Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, ABS/EBD and ESP with brake assist; tandem brake booster; front: ventilated discs / rear: discs
Wheels / tyres 7.5J x 16 cast aluminium wheels / 225/55 R 16
Performance / consumption / acoustics
Top speed, km/h 226
Acceleration 0-100 km/h, s 7.7
Fuel Diesel, to EN 590
Fuel consumption: urban / extra-urban / combined (l/100 km) 8.1 / 5.7 / 6.6
CO2 emissions: urban / extra-urban / combined (g/km) 216 / 152 / 176
Standing / drive-past exterior noise level in dB (A) 79 / 71
Servicing / guarantee
Oil change 15,000kms or 12 months
Audi Cover/Vehicle/paint/rust perforation warranty 3 years / 3 years with unlimited mileage / 3 years / 12 years
Weights / loads
Unladen weight in kg 1685
Axle load limit at front / rear in kg 1180 / 1080
Trailer load limit, unbraked in kg 750
Trailer load limit on 8% / 12% gradient, braked in kg 1900 / 1700
Roof load limit in kg / permissible nose weight in kg 75 / 80
Capacities
Cooling system capacity (incl. heating) in l 9.0
Engine oil capacity (incl. filter) in l 7.4
Fuel tank capacity in l 65
Body / dimensions (2)
Body type Galvanised, unitary steel body, crumple zones at front and rear
Number of doors / seats 4 doors with additional side protection / 5
Drag coefficient Cd / frontal area A in m2 0.28 / 219
Length (L103) / width excl. mirrors (W103) / height (H100-M) 4703 / 1826 / 1427 (mm)
Wheelbase L101 / track at front/rear W101-1/W102-2 2808 / 1564 / 1551 (mm)
Height of loading lip in mm (H196) 673
Luggage capacity in l, acc. to VDA block method V210/V212 480 (with rear seat folded down: 962)

Model

Audi A4 1.8 TFSI

Engine type Inline 4-cylinder spark-ignition engine with exhaust-gas turbocharger and intercooler, DOHC
Valve gear / number of valves per cylinder Intake camshaft adjustment, roller cam followers / 4
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression 1798 / 82.5 x 84.1 / 9.6
Max. power output in kW (bhp) / at rpm 118 / 4500 — 6200
Max. torque in Nm / at rpm 250 / 1500 – 4500
Engine management / mixture preparation Fully electronic engine management with drive-by-wire throttle control, sequential high-pressure injection with adaptive idle-charge control, overrun fuel cut-off, adaptive lambda control; mapped ignition with solid-state high-voltage distribution via single-spark coils, cylinder-selective adaptive knock control;
air-mass measurement, integrated boost-pressure control
Exhaust emission control Close-coupled ceramic catalytic converter, oxygen sensor before and after catalytic converter
Emission class EU 4
Alternator in A / battery in A/Ah 120 / 220 / 44
Drivetrain type Front-wheel drive with electronic stabilisation program ESP
Clutch Electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, oil-cooled
Gearbox type Continuously variable multitronic transmission with DRP, sport program
Gear ratio in 1st gear / 2nd gear 2.492 / 1.574
Gear ratio in 3rd gear / 4th gear 1.147 / 0.892
Gear ratio in 5th gear / 6th gear 0.715 / 0.579
Reverse gear / final drive ratio 3.015 / 5.970
Front suspension Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones, tubular anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension with resiliently mounted subframe, anti-roll bar
Steering / steering ratio / turning circle in m (D102) Maintenance-free rack-and-pinion steering with power assistance / 16.3 / 11.4
Brake system, front/rear Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, ABS/EBD and ESP with brake assist; tandem brake booster; front: ventilated discs / rear: discs
Wheels / tyres 7,5 J x 16 lightweight forged aluminium wheels with 225/55 R16 tyres
Top speed, km/h 225
Acceleration 0-100 km/h, s 8.6
Fuel Super unleaded, 95 RON
Fuel consumption: urban / extra-urban / combined (l/100 km) 9.9 / 5.5 / 7.1
CO2 emissions: urban / extra-urban / combined (g/km) 236 / 131 / 169
Oil change 15,000kms or 12 months
Audi Cover/Vehicle/paint/rust perforation warranty 3 years / 3 years with unlimited mileage / 3 years / 12 years
Unladen weight in kg 1539
Axle load limit at front / rear in kg 1035 / 1050
Trailer load limit on 8% / 12% gradient, braked/unbraked in kg 1500 / 1300 / 740
Roof load limit in kg / permissible nose weight in kg 75 / 80
Cooling system capacity (incl. heating) in l 7.0
Engine oil capacity (incl. filter) in l 4.6
Fuel tank capacity in l 65
Body type Galvanised, unitary steel body, crumple zones at front and rear
Number of doors / seats 4 doors with additional side protection / 5
Drag coefficient Cd / frontal area A in m2 0.27 / 2.19
Length/ width excl. mirrors / height 4703 / 1826 / 1427
Wheelbase/ track at front/rear 2808 / 1564 / 1551 (mm)
Height of loading lip in mm 673
Luggage capacity in l, acc. to VDA block method 480 (with rear seat folded down: 962)

Model

Audi A4 3.2 FSI quattro

Engine type Aluminium V6 spark-ignition with petrol direct injection engine, DOHC, camshaft adjustment, 2-stage variable intake manifold, demand-controlled high-pressure and low-pressure fuel system
Valve gear / number of valves per cylinder Audi valvelift system / 4
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression 3197 / 85.5 x 92.8 / 12.5
Max. power output in kW (bhp) / at rpm 195 / 6500
Max. torque in Nm / at rpm 330 / 3000 – 5000
Engine management / mixture preparation Fully electronic engine management with drive-by-wire throttle control, petrol direct injection, cylinder-selective lambda control; mapped ignition with solid-state high-voltage distribution, cylinder-selective adaptive knock control with two sensors
Exhaust emission control Two close-coupled primary catalytic converters, two main catalytic converters, four heated oxygen sensors
Emission class EU 4
Alternator in A / battery in A/Ah 150 / 380 / 80
Drivetrain type quattro permanent four-wheel drive with self-locking centre differential, ESP
Clutch Hydraulically operated single-plate dry clutch; dual-mass flywheel
Gearbox type 6-speed tiptronic with DSP and sport program
Gear ratio in 1st gear / 2nd gear 4.171 / 2.340
Gear ratio in 3rd gear / 4th gear 1.521 / 1.143
Gear ratio in 5th gear / 6th gear 0.867 / 0.691
Reverse gear / final drive ratio 3.403 / 3.517
Front suspension Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones, tubular anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension with resiliently mounted subframe, anti-roll bar
Steering / steering ratio / turning circle in m (D102) Maintenance-free rack-and-pinion steering with power assistance / 16.3 / 11.4
Brake system, front/rear Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, ABS/EBD and ESP with brake assist; tandem brake booster; front: ventilated discs / rear: discs
Wheels / tyres 7.5J x 16 cast aluminium wheels / 225/55 R 16
Top speed, km/h 250
Acceleration 0-100 km/h, s 6.2
Fuel Super unleaded, 95 RON
Fuel consumption: urban / extra-urban / combined (l/100 km) 13.5 / 6.7 / 9.2
CO2 emissions: urban / extra-urban / combined (g/km) 321 / 159 / 219
Oil change 15,000kms or 12 months
Audi Cover/Vehicle/paint/rust perforation warranty 3 years / 3 years with unlimited mileage / 3 years / 12 years
Unladen weight (excl. driver) / gross weight limit in kg 1696
Axle load limit at front / rear in kg 1105/1145
Trailer load limit on 8% / 12% gradient, braked in kg 2100 / 1900
Roof load limit in kg / permissible nose weight in kg 75 / 80
Cooling system capacity (incl. heating) in l 9.0
Engine oil capacity (incl. filter) in l 6.2
Fuel tank capacity in l 64
Body type Galvanised, unitary steel body, crumple zones at front and rear
Number of doors / seats 4 doors with additional side protection / 5
Drag coefficient cD / frontal area A in m2 28/219
Length (L103) / width excl. mirrors (W103) / height (H100-M) 4703 / 1826 / 1427 (mm)
Wheelbase L101 / track at front/rear W101-1/W102-2 2808 / 1564 / 1551 (mm)
Height of loading lip in mm (H196) 673
Luggage capacity in l, acc. to VDA block method V210/V212 480 (with rear seat folded down: 962)

(1) depends on driving style and operating conditions
(2) details of dimensions with unladen vehicle weight
(3) provisional figure

DIMENSIONS

Length; 4703mm

Height; 1427mm

Wheelbase; 2808mm

Fr Track; 1564mm

R Track; 1551mm

Car shown is 1.8T as Audi gave us an unusual beige model for the 2.7 and we didn’t get any good photos.


Audi A5 quattro S line 2008 Review

May 21st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Audi A5 S Line fq

The Audi A5 quattro S line is like Tony Blair in his heyday: it’s got the looks, it’s powerful, and it’s smooth. I might be a die-hard Tory, but even I’m convinced that owning this Audi would be no labour of love. Tony took the helm and really drove the ‘New Left’, so I’m taking the helm of the new A5 and seeing if it’s really Right.

I drove its more amply endowed big brother the 4.2-litre V8 S5 back in February. I remember liking it, but not enough to buy one — there was something about the manual gearbox I wasn’t too sure about, and the hill start assist just didn’t work well, making a smooth uphill getaway with the hydraulic handbrake occasionally difficult.

The A5, however, has a six-speed automatic ‘box; a really good one, at that, with a sequential manual mode. And it’s enhanced by the Audi Drive Select, for which there are three settings: comfort which gives you the best economy, auto for everyday driving, and dynamic for sports driving with earlier downshifts and later upshifts.

With its low, lithe, aggressive stance the A5 is a car for the virile executive. A two-door coupe, it’s for the businessman (or woman) that could fill a stadium with children, but chooses not to. It’s for those that appreciate sleek design and understated power, and want the handling to go with it.

When it gets down to it, the discerning driver will probably only want to make one change in the A5 S line, and that’s the stereo which is straight from Mediocre-ville.

The Audi A5 actually had the hardest job in the world with me because the week before I had a Subaru WRX STI Spec R — one of my favourite cars. It still impressed me. And that’s not because the WRX STI is also cursed with a stereo that sounds like you’re listening to it with the bass turned off and the mid-range put through a guitar pedal. It was because of the sense of oneness that driving the A5 gives you.

I’m not going to give you a list of specifications here (you can click through to the second page to read that); I’m going to describe what it’s like to get in and drive the A5.

nlock the door, give a firm pull on the handle — coupe doors are longer and heavier. Climb in and drop into the leather seat. This is the point where the car closes around you. This isn’t in a venus fly-trap type of way. Imagine it a bit like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens when, as Ellen Ripley, she dons the power loader suit to fight the big mamma alien. You are now an integral part of the machine and it will do your beck and call.

Fire up the 3.2-litre V6. It’s quiet, but there’s enough of a vibration to let you know it’s ready for some fun. Leave the Audi Drive Select in comfort mode and drive sedately (yet in anticipation) to your favourite stretch of twisty tarmac. While you’re doing this you can explore a multitude of electronic gadgets befitting a car that costs almost $118,000 — cruise control, Bluetooth phone integration, how long the lights will stay on after you’ve locked the car, trip computer, etc. Don’t bother with the stereo unless you’ve upgraded it, but do notice how many people look at you in the car — it’s an eye-catcher.

Once you’ve reached the aforementioned length of sinuous tarmac, switch the A5’s Audi Drive Select into auto (or dynamic if you really want to go for it), and unleash the 195kW and 330Nm via the quattro four-wheel drive. The A5 deals blows left and right as the tarmac ducks and weaves, occasionally screaming in pain. Grip from the 255/35R19 tyres is immense as the outside wheels throw you back onto the straights. Braking is like coming out of hyperdrive, and on the other side of a corner, accelerating away is satisfyingly brisk (100kph is reached in 6.1 seconds).

I like the A5 S line more than the S5, even though it has less power. It’s a driver’s car — one you like to get in and just drive for the sake of driving. But New Zealand’s roads are like the Alien queen xenomorph — ugly, sneaky, writhing, and ready at any moment to inflict carnage and leave a gooey mess. The A5 therefore is the perfect combination of Sigourney Weaver’s power loader and Tony Blair — subtly persuasive, insidiously powerful and hugely competent.

Click through to the next page to view the full specifications and options for the Audi A5 quattro S line 3.2 FSI V6 quattro and the 3.0 TDI V6 quattro.
Price: from $117,900

What we like

  • Everything we like about the S5, but more
  • Audi Drive Select
  • Five-spoke alloy wheels are beautiful
  • Warranty — 3-year, cost-free

What we don’t like

  • Mediocre stereo — buy the Bang & Olufsen upgrade
A5 S line Specification and Option Sheet (prices correct at time of press (May 2008) 3.2 FSI V6 quattro 3.0 TDI V6 quattro
Technical
Retail Price $117,900 $118,900
Cubic Capacity 3197 2967
KiloWatts/HP 195 / 265 176 / 240
Torque (Nm/rpm) 330 / 3000 500 / 1500
Cylinders / Valves Per Cylinder 6 / 4 6 / 4
Fuel Injection System FSI Common Rail Diesel
Drive Train quattro quattro
Transmission – Tiptronic With DSP & Sport Program 6 speed 6 speed
Servotronic Steering Assistance o o
Adaptive Sports Suspension with Audi Drive Select o o
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (secs) 6.1 5.9
Top Speed (km/h) 250 (regulated) 250 (regulated)
Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km (CO2 emission) 9.7 (232) 7.2 (191)
Audi Cover Assistance – 3 Year Cost Free Motoring o o
Galvanised Body – 12 Year Anti-Corrosion Warranty o o
Safety and Security
ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution) and Electronic Brake Assist o o
ASR Traction Control System, with EDL – Electronic Diff Lock and ESP o o
Front Passenger Airbag Key Deactivation o o
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchorages Front & Rear o o
Driver & Passenger Airbags, Front Side Airbags and Sideguard Head Airbag System o o
Anti Theft Alarm With Interior Surveillance and Vehicle Immobiliser o o
Exterior
Alloy Wheels 19″ 5-arm style Design 19″ 5-arm style Design
Tyres 255/35 R 19 255/35 R 19
Auto Headlight Activation with Rain Sensor, Coming-Home and Daytime Driving Mode o o
Automatic Dimming Exterior Mirrors – Electric & Heated with Memory function o o
Front bumpers, Side Radiator Grilles, and Diffuser Inserts in Sporty Design o o
Headlights Halogen Halogen
Lower Sections of Bumpers and Door Strips Painted in Body Colour o o
Rear Diffuser in Platinum Grey o o
S line Logo on the Front Wings o o
S line Logo on Door Sill Trims o o
Space Saver Spare Wheel o o
Interior
Air Conditioning (three -zone) with Sun Sensor & Humidity Sensor o o
Auto Dimming Interior Mirrors o o
CD Changer for MMI o o
Cruise Control o o
Dash Inserts Aluminium Aluminium
Driver Information System o o
Electromechanical Parking Brake o o
Heated Electric Front Seats with Lumber and Drivers Memory Sports Sports
Height And Reach Adjustable Steering Column o o
Interior Trim Milano Leather Milano Leather
Mobile Phone Preparation with Blue Tooth o o
Multi Function Trip Computer o o
Multi Media Interface (MMI) o o
I Pod Preparation o o
Parking Aid Front & Rear o o
Sports Steering Wheel – 3 Spoke with Shift Paddles, Multifunction o o
Split Folding Rear Seat o o
Storage Package o o
A5 S line Specification and Option Sheet 3.2 FSI V6 Quattro 3.0 TDI V6 quattro
Exterior Options
20″ 7-Double Spoke Design $1,500 $1,500
Bi- Xenon Plus with Headlight Washers $2,500 $2,500
Bi- Xenon Plus with Headlight Washers and Adaptive Lights $3,500 $3,500
Audi Side Assist $1,600 $1,600
Electrically Operated Roll Up Sun Screen for Rear Window $1,000 $1,000
Tyre Pressure Monitoring Display $200 $200
Panoramic Sunroof $3,200 $3,200
Leather Trim and Packages
Seat Heating for Front and Rear Seats $900 $900
Valona leather $1,200 $1,200
Interior
Advanced Key $1,800 $1,800
Audi Hill Hold Assist $150 $150
Driver Information System with Colour Display $400 $400
Garage Door Opener (Homelink) $700 $700
Inlays, Walnut Brown $500 $500
Inlays, Fine Grain Ash Beige $500 $500
Inlays, Laurel Nutmeg $500 $500
Lighting Package $800 $800
Ski Bag $500 $500
Vavona Inlays $1,000 $1,000
Sound
Audi Dynamic Sound System $1,000 $1,000
Bang & Olufsen Sound System $2,500 $2,500
Other
Navigation $5,500 $5,500
Sound and Go package (Advanced Key + Bang & Olufsen Sound System) $3,500 $3,500

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

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