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Review (2/2)

Beauty, Power and Efficiency: Facelifted 2012 Audi A5

Source: Audi | Published: Wed Jul 13, 2011

(continued from the previous page)

Interior Design

A harmonious balance of proportions and surfaces, fine materials and top-quality fit and finish: The interior of the A5 models reflects the Audi brand culture. It is now more elegant than ever - with new steering wheels, including an option for a flattened ring, new steering column stalks and with narrow chrome clasps framing the control elements.

A button is used to directly adjust the optional seat heating and seat ventilation in three stages. Also updated were the ignition key, the selector lever for the automatic transmission, the button for the optional Audi drive select system and the controls of the high-efficiency air conditioning and multifunction steering wheel. All displays are now illuminated in white.

New paint covers the bezels on the instrument cluster and the center console, and there is also a new selection of upholstery and inlays. The latter are available in Aluminium Trigon or in walnut or natural fine grain ash. Almost all of the interior colors are new. Fine Nappa leather replaces Valcona in the Sportback, and the armrests can also be covered in leather, if desired. The A5 Sportback is also now optionally available as a five-seater.

Another attractive option is the S line sport package. It drapes the interior in black and accentuates it with elegant applications. A sport suspension lowers the vehicle body by 10 millimeters (0.39 in), and 18-inch wheels round out the package. Buyers looking for that special something will find many more customization options in the Audi exclusive range, including the stylish Audi exclusive line with two-tone seat coverings.

Engines

The A5 family sets new standards for sportiness and efficiency. All engines feature forced induction and direct injection for tremendous pulling power. Even the entry-level engine produces 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) of torque. The start-stop system and the recuperation system are standard with all engines. The lineup comprises three gasoline engines and four TDI units. CO2 emissions have been reduced by as much as 22 percent.

The completely redesigned 1.8 TFSI showcases the full extent of Audi's expertise. Groundbreaking innovations can be found in the control of the valves and their lift, the thermal management concept, the injection system, the turbocharger and the integration of the exhaust manifold. In the A5 Coupe, the high-end four-cylinder unit consumes on average just 5.7 liters of fuel per 100 km (41.27 US mpg). This best-in-class value corresponds to 134 grams CO2 per km (215.65 g/mile) and is 21 percent lower than before. With 170 hp (125 kW), the 1.8 TFSI accelerates the A5 powerfully.

The output of the 2.0 TFSI remains unchanged at 211 hp (155 kW). New to the Audi A5 lineup is the 3.0 TFSI, a supercharged V6 producing 272 hp (200 kW).

The diesel engines are also impressively efficient, and the four-cylinder units feature modifications in numerous areas. Equipped with the 177 hp (130 kW) 2.0 TDI and a manual transmission, the A5 Coupe consumes on average just 4.7 liters of fuel per 100 km (50.05 US mpg) - a CO2 equivalent of 122 g per km (196.34 g/mile) and a milestone in the coupe segment.

Three V6 diesel units round out the lineup on the top end. The 3.0 TDI with 204 hp (150 kW) is the most fuel-efficient six-cylinder unit in its class worldwide. In the A5 Coupe with multitronic, it consumes on average 4.9 liters (48 US mpg) of fuel and emits just 129 grams CO2 per km (207.61 g/mile). The second variant of the 3.0 TDI produces 245 hp (180 kW). Arriving somewhat later is a particularly low-emissions clean diesel model that will make the A5 the first coupe on the market to meet the Euro 6 diesel standard.

Drivetrain

Audi offers the ideal drivetrain for each engine. A manual six-speed transmission and the continuously variable multitronic are available for models with front-wheel drive. The quattro models come with a manual transmission or the lightning-fast, seven-speed S tronic. All of the transmissions shine with their convenience and precision, high efficiency and wide gear spread. The long ratios in the upper gears reduce fuel consumption.

Members of the A5 family equipped with quattro permanent all-wheel drive and the S tronic transmission also feature the crown-gear center differential with torque vectoring. During normal driving, the mechanical component sends the engine's power primarily to the rear wheels. If necessary, it redistributes the power lightning-fast and smoothly. Up to 70 percent can flow to the front axle, 85 percent to the rear axle. Torque vectoring uses targeted, minor braking interventions to make the handling even more precise.

Available as an option in all A5 quattro models, the sport differential provides for maximum precision and high traction. It uses two superposition stages engaged via multi-plate clutches to actively distribute the torque between the rear wheels as needed.

Chassis

The A5 models set standards for sporty dynamics, luxurious ride comfort and excellent driving safety. Most of the components of the five-link front suspension and the trapezoidal-link rear suspension are made of aluminum. The rear suspension bearings and the damper tuning have been updated for more precise handling and even greater comfort.

The ESP stabilization program with electronic limited slip differential is standard in all front-wheel drive versions of the A5. ESP uses minimal braking interventions at the inside front wheel for even more agility during dynamic driving. The large brakes - with ventilated front and rear discs in many variants - offer excellent stopping power and are very easy to modulate.

17-inch wheels with 225/50 tires are standard. Options include wheels up to 20 inches and 265/30 tires as well as four new wheel designs.

Among the high-end features in the model series is Audi drive select. In the basic configuration, it adjusts the power steering boost, the accelerator characteristic, the shift points of the automatic transmission and the automatic air conditioning. Using a button in the cockpit, the driver can determine whether these components should work in "comfort," "auto," "dynamic" or "efficiency" mode. The latter helps to drive the A5 particularly efficiently. If the car is equipped with a navigation system, there is also an "individual" mode that the driver can largely configure him or herself.

Audi drive select can be combined with additional modules, if desired. These are the sport suspension with damper control, the sport differential and dynamic steering, which steplessly varies the steering ratio by nearly 100 percent as a function of speed.

Another new standard feature in the A5 model series is the electromechanical power steering. An electric motor generates the right amount of boost for the speed being driven. The electromechanical power steering features a direct ratio, reacts instantly and provides precise road feedback. It intervenes slightly to support the driver when braking on a surface with less grip on one side of the car.

The system reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.3 liters per 100 km and up to 7 g CO2/km (11.27 g/mile) because it consumes no energy at all while driving straight.

Assistance Systems

The assistance systems in the Audi A5 model series use a variety of technologies to make driving even more controlled. Some of them have been improved with new functions. Among the standard features is the new driver information system with recommendations to take a break. It uses steering motions and additional parameters to detect when the driver is getting tired and issues an appropriate warning.

Audi side assist supports the driver when changing lanes by using radar to monitor the space behind the car. Audi active lane assist - a new feature in the A5 - helps the driver to maintain the lane. A camera detects the lane markings and the system makes slight corrections to the electromechanical steering, if necessary. The adaptive cruise control uses radar technology to maintain a constant interval between the A5 and the vehicle ahead. At speeds below 30 km/h (18.64 mph), it initiates maximum braking in the event of an impending collision.

Infotainment Systems

The infotainment systems in the A5 have been significantly upgraded. Audi equips all models in the A5 lineup with a CD radio and eight speakers.

The optional top-of-the-line unit is MMI navigation plus with a large hard drive, seven-inch color monitor, 3D graphics and DVD player. Its controls have been improved. The number of hard buttons has been reduced from eight to four and the volume control now features a joystick cap to make it easier to choose songs. Voice control and digital radio reception also received some fine-tuning.

An additional option is the Bluetooth online car phone. Audi connect is the catchword for the attractive services this phone brings to the A5, which include Google POI search, navigation with Google Earth images and a WLAN hotspot. The hotspot enables passengers to surf the Internet and send and receive e-mail with their mobile devices. Audi traffic information online is an additional service that does a much better job than the familiar TMC standard of providing the driver with extremely precise and current information about the traffic load along the selected route. All the driver needs to use these functions is a data-capable SIM card.

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