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New models - Audi - A5 - 2.0 TFSI quattro coupe

First drive: Four into A5 finally fits

Fine four: Audi's A5 2.0 TFSI Coupe borrows the Golf GTI's four-cylinder engine, but with tweaks for more performance.

Audi introduces four-cylinder and dual-clutch versions of its A5 Coupe

Audi logo18 May 2009

AUDI is finally offering four-cylinder power in its Australian-bound A5 Coupe, as well as the dual-clutch manual gearbox formerly called DSG but more recently dubbed S-tronic.

On sale now and opening the A5 Coupe range from $79,900, the 2.0 TFSI quattro joins the Q5 mid-sized SUV and just-released A4 2.0 TFSI quattro sedan and Avant in being the only Audis to ever combine S-tronic with a longitudinal drivetrain application.

Previously, only transverse drivetrain models from the Ingolstadt, Germany-based company, such as the Volkswagen Golf-derived A3 and TT, boasted DSG/S-tronic.

Although the A5 was first to market in 2007, both it and the Q5 owe their existence to the B8-series A4 launched last year, and all three are the first employers of Audi’s new MLB architecture, which sees the front wheels pushed further forward than in previous longitudinally engined models from Audi, to create a more favourable front-to-rear weight balance.

Using a development of the turbocharged 1984cc twin-cam 16-valve direct petrol injection unit (2.0 TFSI) made famous in the Golf GTI from 2005, the new Euro-V emissions compliant EA888 engine adopts variable valve timing, chain drive for the camshafts, a new intercooler design and a bevy of friction minimisation measures, Audi states.

7 center imageCompared to the earlier iteration of this engine as seen in the current Golf GTI, the outcome is a jump in power from 147kW to 155kW between 4300 and 6000rpm, and an 80Nm leap in torque, topping out now at 350Nm between 1500 and 4200rpm.

Drive is sent to all four wheels via Audi’s trademark Torsen differential quattro all-wheel-drive system in conjunction with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed S-tronic transmission.

In normal conditions, the rear axle has 60 per cent of available torque and the front end drives 40 per cent, for a greater rear-wheel drive ‘feel’ than in pre-B8 A4 and derivatives (B7 RS4 excepted).

However, in some conditions, up to 65 per cent of drive can be delivered to the nose end if necessary, while the rear wheels are charged with handling up to 85 per cent.

As with all A5s, the newcomer uses a five-link front, and trapezoidal-link rear suspension system, along with a hydraulically powered rack-and-pinion steering system, and dual-circuit brakes with ventilated discs up front and solid discs at the rear.

From standstill, the 1490kg A5 2.0 TFSI quattro manual can sprint to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds, reach 246km/h, average 7.4 litres of 95 RON premium unleaded petrol per 100km, and emit 173 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

In contrast, the $3600 costlier S-tronic is just as rapid to 100km/h, 1km/h slower overall, 0.1L/100km thirstier and 6g/km dirtier.

Nevertheless, Audi is crowing loudly about the 155kW/350Nm A5 2.0 TFSI quattro S-tronic’s virtues when compared to its similarly priced 160kW/250Nm BMW 325i Coupe auto and (soon to be replaced) 135kW/250Nm Mercedes-Benz CLK 200 Kompressor auto rivals.

The A5 has 100Nm more torque than either, is more than one second faster in the 0-100km/h sprint-time than the second-placed BMW, and uses almost 1L/100km less fuel and is at least 10 per cent less carbon dioxide dirty than the number-two performing CLK.

It may only be an entry-level model, but the A5 2.0 TFSI quattro comes equipped with the usual armada of airbags and electronic driving aids such as anti-lock brakes and stability and traction controls. It also has leather upholstery, High Intensity Discharge Xenon ‘Plus’ headlights with LED driving lights, three-zone climate control air-conditioning, keyless-entry and keyless start, electrically adjustable front seats, mobile phone preparation with Bluetooth connectivity, and 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 245/45 R17 tyres.

Key options include Audi’s Drive Select adjustable dampers ($3600), MMI Navigation ($5900), adaptive radar cruise control ($2945), a blind-spot warning system ($1430) and a large glass sunroof ($2860). An ‘S-Line’ body kit adds another $5850 to proceedings.

Audi is counting on the 2.0 TFSI quattro to account for around 30 per cent of all A5 volume, with the 3.2 FSI V6 petrol and S5 performance flagship each taking 25 per cent, and the remaining 20 per cent going to the 3.0 TDI diesel.

Compared to the same time last year, A5 sales in the first four months of 2009 have risen from 174 to 260 units, while the segment-leading 3 Series Coupe’s numbers have dropped 226 units to 387 vehicles, and there were just 128 buyers for the outgoing CLK, which is a drop of 51 cars.

The A5 Cabriolet arrives in the third quarter of 2009, while the S5 Cabriolet will sneak in right at the end of this year.

2009 Audi A5 range pricing:
2.0 TFSI quattro $79,900
2.0 TFSI quattro S-tronic (a) $83,500
3.0 TDI quattro Tiptronic (a) $94,500
3.2 FSI Multitronic (a) $95,300
3.2 FSI quattro Tiptronic (a) $98,500
S5 4.2 FSI quattro $138,600
S5 4.2 FSI quattro Tiptronic (a) $138,600

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