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First drive: Beauty meets brawn in Audi's sleek S5

Slinky: V8-powered S5 coupe arrives a month before its A5 donor vehicle.

Sleek and swift new S5 coupe is a tantalising taste of future Audi models

9 Oct 2007

AUDI’S beautiful new S5 sports coupe has arrived in Australia ahead of the remainder of the A5 range. Audi Australia launched the headliner S5 in Melbourne last week, with the rest of the A5 line-up to arrive during the next 11 months.

Touching down at the same time as the awesome new R8 supercar, the sleek two-door coupe highlights Audi’s new emphasis on performance models.

The V8-powered manual S5 arrives in Australia with a substantial pricetag of $131,900, while a 3.2-litre automatic A5 will arrive next month priced at $91,900.

The S5/A5 range in Australia will eventually swell to a total of six models including three different engines, three transmissions and a retail price list that spreads between $70,000 and $131,900.

The S5/A5 is based on an all-new platform that will be picked up by the next-generation A4 and is designed to allow for much sportier handling than the brand has been known for, helping it take up the fight with German rival BMW.

A key to this is the location of the steering rack, which has been moved forward of the front axle for improved dynamics.

Audi has also given the S5/A5 an optimum wheelbase of 2751mm and has wide wheel tracks, with short front and rear overhangs also contributing to better handling.

The company describes the new coupe as a long-distance tourer with four comfortable seats and a boot with a relatively practical cargo volume of 455 litres.

The S5/A5 goes head-to-head with the BMW 3 Series coupe and the Mercedes-Benz CLK.

7 center imageAudi Australia managing director Joerg Hofmann said the new S5/A5 would, like the R8, increase the desirability of the Audi brand.

“The new coupe is a stunning vehicle and we believe it is the best in class,” he said. “With competitive pricing, advanced engine technology and elegant design, the A5 and S5 models will surely turn the heads of the luxury car-buying public.” The S5 is powered by a direct-injection 4.2-litre V8 that pumps out 260kW of power and 440Nm of torque. The engine combines with a six-speed manual transmission.

It puts the power down to ground using Audi’s quattro AWD system, which is set-up to deliver 60 per cent of power to the rear. This helps the S5 dash from 0-100km/h in just 5.1 seconds.

The S5 runs firmer sports suspension and sits on 18-inch alloy wheels.

Other standard features include Xenon directional headlights with an LED strip for daytime running, electrically adjustable sports seats, three-zone climate control, DVD-based satellite navigation and Bluetooth phone preparation.

The first of the A5s to arrive in Australia runs the 3.2-litre V6 direct-injection petrol engine that produces 195kW and 330Nm. Priced from $91,900, the 3.2 will be available firstly as a front-drive model using the continuously variable automatic transmission that Audi calls Multitronic. An A5 using the same engine with quattro AWD system and the dual-clutch Tiptronic automatic will arrive next April with a pricetag of $95,900.

The most affordable A5 is scheduled to arrive next May powered by a turbocharged 1.8-litre direct-injection four-cylinder with 125kW of power and 250Nm available from just 1500rpm.

The most important figure for many buyers of the 1.8 S5, which will only be available with the CVT automatic, is the price and Audi expects that to be around $70,000. Rounding-out the A5 range will be the high-performance 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, which pumps out 176kW and an impressive 500Nm of torque. The diesel A5 features the quattro AWD system and the Tiptronic automatic transmission, and will cost around $100,000 when it arrives next August.

Audi A5 range pricing:
S5 4.2 FSI quattro $131,900
A5 3.2 FSI (a) $91,000 (November 2007)
A5 3.2 FSI quattro (a) $95,900 (April 2008)
S5 4.2 FSI quattro (a) $134,900 (May 2008)
A5 1.8 TFSI (a) $70,000 (May 2008 est)
A5 3.0 TDI quattro (a) $100,000 (August 2008 est)

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