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Future models - Audi - A5 - S5 Sportback

First look: Audi S5 Sportback sleeks in

Slippery: The S5 Sportback is the fourth Audi model to be powered by the new supercharged 3.0-litre direct-injection petrol V6.

Blown V6 version of Audi’s newest Sportback to surface alongside new A5 hatch range

Audi logo29 Aug 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

AUDI has confirmed it will crown the new A5 Sportback range with its third S5 performance model at the Frankfurt motor show on September 15.

The supercharged five-door will make its global debut alongside new entry-level 1.2 TFSI versions of the A3 range and a ‘clean diesel’ A4 TDI quattro.

However, there is so far no sign of Audi’s first electric model, which the German luxury giant has committed to revealing next month at Europe’s biggest motor show.

Last week global sales and marketing chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said Audi’s entry into the “electric era” would be “at the top end and something very, very sporty”, making a plug-in version of the R8 supercar almost certain to appear alongside the convertible R8 Spyder at Frankfurt.

Nor has the Volkswagen brand’s first RS3 hot hatch officially surfaced, despite speculation it too will make its public premiere in a little over two weeks, alongside significant new EV reveals from arch-rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as well as Lexus.

For now, Audi’s Frankfurt pre-reveal campaign is led by the S5 Sportback, which will be launched at the 63rd Internationale Automobil Ausstellung with the rest of the A5 Sportback range.

The S5 hatchback joins the S5 Coupe, which launched the new A4-based A5 model family in Australia in October 2007, and the S5 Cabriolet, which will be the flagship of the A5 Cabriolet line-up released here this month.

It is the fourth Audi model to be powered by a new supercharged 3.0-litre direct-injection petrol V6, which is misleadingly badged as the 3.0 TFSI or ‘V6 T’, following the facelifted A6 sedan launched here in February, the new S4 sedan in May and the S5 Cabriolet, which arrives in October.

While the S5 Coupe continues to pack Audi’s glorious 260kW/440Nm 4.2-litre V8 and the A6’s force-fed V6 delivers 213kW/420Nm, the S-tweaked Sportback will share the S4 and S5 Cabriolet’s full-house 245kW/440Nm version.

With peak torque on tap between 2900 and 5300rpm, the S5 ‘five-door coupe’ lopes to 100km/h in a provisional 5.4 seconds and an electronically limited 250km/h top speed, making it two-tenths quicker to 100 than the convertible but three-tenths slower than the coupe.

Matched as standard to a seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic automatic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive, the S5 Sportback’s average fuel consumption is provisionally listed at 9.7 litres per 100km, which Audi says is “the best in this power-output category”.

As with the S5 Coupe and Cabriolet, the five-door also boasts 18-inch alloy wheels, black brake callipers with S5 logos up front, speed-dependent Servotronic steering and powered S sports seats in Silk Nappa leather, and can be specified with a ‘Sport’ differential, which varies torque distribution between the rear wheels.

Just as the garden-variety versions of the A5 Sportback will be less expensive than the equivalent A5 Coupe and Cabriolet (but not A4 sedan) variants, the S5 Sportback will be more affordable than the S5 Coupe (from $138,600) and Cabriolet, which could top $150,000.

The A5 Sportback range goes on sale in Australia in the second quarter of 2010.

Next most interesting engine release from Audi is the fitment of the turbocharged direct-injection 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, first seen in the new Volkswagen Polo that goes on sale here early next year, in the A3 three and five-door hatch range.

Running just one camshaft and eight valves, the ‘downsized’ engine for Audi’s smallest engine weighs only 89.5kg and develops the same 77kW and 175Nm of torque (between just 1500 and 3500rpm) as the Polo.

At this stage matched only with a six-speed manual transmission and driving only the front wheels in the A3, it returns claimed fuel economy of just 5.5L/100km and emits just 127 grams of CO2 per kilometre. In the three-door A3 it returns claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 11.1 seconds, with the Sportback being two-tenths slower.

A3 and A3 Sportback 1.2 TFSI sales begin in the first quarter of 2010 in Europe, but it’s unknown whether VW’s new small-capacity turbo-petrol engine will replace the 1.6-litre petrol four that powers Australia’s entry-level A3 (from $35,400), just as the ‘1.2 TSI’ engine will in the Polo.

Finally, Audi has announced the A4 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro, pricing or availability details for which have not been revealed.

First seen in the full-size Q7 SUV and meeting the same strict Euro 6 emissions regulations not due in force in Europe until 2014, the “world’s cleanest diesel technology” has now been fitted to Audi’s volume-selling A4.

The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 features a new common-rail injection system that generates up to 2000 bars of pressure, new combustion chamber pressure sensors and a high-performance exhaust recirculating and after-treatment system (featuring AdBlue injection upstream of a DeNOX catalytic converter).

The clean-burning new A4 TDI’s claimed European fuel consumption (6.7L/100km) and 0-100km/h acceleration (6.2 seconds) figures don’t quite match those of the regular A4 3.0 TDI quattro, which goes on sale here in October, priced at $86,056.

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.