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Old 12-10-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Super Siblings - Audi S4 and S5



Quote:
Generally speaking, we don't combine road test write-ups like this, but we figured since these cars are so similar to each other, and each had the same trim level and options (more or less), we decided to combine them, to save you, our valued reader, from unneeded repetition.

Both S4 and S5 were updated for 2013 with new bits of technology, some of which were inherited from big sibling A8, by way of the new A6 and A7 cousins. These updates mostly revolve around the industry leading MMI system. New or updated are the system menus, Audi Connect (a cellular data based internet connection, which also turns the car into a mobile hotspot for up to 8 devices), Google maps (thanks to Audi Connect), and navigation plus with voice control. No longer just for dialing the phone, voice control can be used to enter navigation address information, or search for on line destinations via Google. You can even change the radio station or media input device. We spent more time playing with the voice commands than we’d care to admit, and we found that it was much easier to use than even the brilliant MMI hand controls, especially while driving.



The updated B8 cars also have all new electromechanical power steering. This system entirely replaces the hydraulic system, while retaining a direct connection between the tires and the steering wheel. Because there is no hydraulic pump being turned by the engine, there is less parasitic drag on the engine. That means more of the engine’s power is used to propel the car, not wasted on turning a hydraulic pump. And, since electric motors can stop and start instantly, the system is only called for when needed, reducing draw on the electrical system. Steering feel remains very good, essentially identical to the previous hydraulic system. At low speeds, the effort is light. As speed increases, the steering weight does too, somewhat too much at times we feel. With Drive Select, the amount of increase can be selected, which is good. Call us old fashioned, but overly high steering effort isn’t sporty, it’s just heavier effort.




Next on the list of changes is the most controversial change of all, the S5’s engine. When the S5 was introduced way back in 2007, it was the first model of the new B8 platform, and it had under its sexy hood an equally sexy 4.2 liter FSI V8 engine. The basic engine was shared by the RS4, though the S5 variant didn’t rev quite as high, or make as much power. Nevertheless, the V8 powered S5 was hugely successful, no surprise given the incredibly sexy exterior, combined with the V8 power, and throbbing exhaust note.

Fast forward a few years and things like fuel economy and CO2 began to weigh heavily on the auto industry. This of course meant smaller, more frugal, and cleaner engines would be needed. During this time, Audi released the redesigned the A4 and S4, which mirrored the new architecture and design of the smash hit A5/S5. When the B8 S4 was introduced, it came not with the throbbing V8 engine of the previous 2 generations of S4, but instead, a 3 liter supercharged engine. It should also be noted that the S5 Cabriolet always came with the 3.0TFSI engine, and we have always liked that model.



For fans of the biturbo B5 S4 models, and not the recent V8 powered cars, this return to forced induction was seen as a welcome change, since with forced induction comes the potential for relatively easy tuning, and significant power increases. For that reason, the 3.0TFSI engine was not seen as a negative with the B8 S4, but a plus.

With the change from the V8 in the S5, we’ve been hearing current and future S5 owners lamenting the loss of the glorious V8 rumble, and the slightly more vigorous top end pull. Even we did find that the V6 lacks a certain sonorous oomph. It’s not that the V6 sounds bad, but it is just different. Truth be told, we wish there was just a tiny bit more of the soundtrack from the supercharger present. Luckily though, thanks to the optional Drive Select system, the driver can call for a bit more engine sound, and to our ears, it sounds very good, especially at full chat.




There is no performance penalty in this engine change either. The fact of the matter is, the 3.0TFSI, with only 20hp less than the 4.2 FSI, but less weight and better low end power, this new version of the S5 has the same 0-60 acceleration time – 4.9 seconds. And, Audi also claims that the S tronic and 6 speed manual both run to 60 in the identical time. Incidentally, the S4 also runs to 60 in 4.9 seconds. Both siblings are electronically limited to 155, and neither has any difficulty reaching that speed.



It is also important to note that North America will be the only place where the 6 speed manual transmission will be offered in these Super Siblings. The rest of the world will have to “make do” with the fabulous, if less driver involving, 7 speed S Tronic dual clutch transmission. We sit solidly on the fence with regards to this transmission choice. The 7 speed is exceedingly good, and also makes use of the new, lighter, and more rear-biased Crown Gear center differential (the 6 speed manual uses the older tried and true Torsen differential). We do love a good manual though, and the Audi 6 speed is a good manual. Clutch action is light, and the shifter itself is fun to row. Genuine heel-toe downshifts are possible, and the barky sounds from the exhaust in Dynamic mode make reward perfectly timed shifts.



Both of the Super Siblings we tested were fitted with Audi’s Sport Rear Differential. This is quite possibly one of the finest and most clever pieces of drivetrain technology fitted to any modern Audi. What it does, quite simply, is transform the way the car goes around corners. Even though our 6MT cars had the “old fashioned” Torsen diff (with less rear bias than the Crown Gear), thanks to the Sport Differential, both cars had a decidedly rear drive feel. The cornering behavior is somewhat difficult to describe. In a nutshell, under full power coming out of a turn, instead of the front pushing wide, the car instead feels as if the rear axle is actually pushing the nose inward. This is accomplished by the rear differential over-driving the outside wheel, both under acceleration, and coasting. This results in zero understeer, neutral cornering, and a wonderfully fun, safe drive. We also found that on slippery surfaces, the Sport Differential allows for ridiculous slip angles while maintaining complete control over the situation, and makes the driver feel like a drift king as it works its magic.



Even both cars share the same basic pieces; the S5 has a shorter wheelbase, and a slightly wider track than the S4. As a result, the S5 is incredibly stable, yet changes direction with ease. The longer and slightly narrower S4 feels like it is glued to the road as well, but it has a slightly more casual nature in quick turns. The S4 is arguably more comfortable on longer drives, though neither is uncomfortable at any time.



All of the technical bits aside, we genuinely love the Super Siblings. Why? They don’t do anything wrong. They are fitted with quite possibly the most comfortable “sport” seats we’ve ever sampled. The suspension tuning somehow manages to resist body roll while allowing a sporty yet supple ride. The chunky, flat bottomed steering wheel is by far the best steering wheel ever fitted to a production car.

Yep, we love these Super Siblings. To us, they are the perfect blend of sport and comfort, sexy and practical. And they are offered with a choice of doors, depending on your needs. Perfect!
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:27 PM   #2
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Mmmm, clutch pedals. I'll take an S5 in white please.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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Those interiors are so right.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Len View Post
Those interiors are so right.
Mother of God, this.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:33 AM   #5
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The exterior and those wheels on the S4 look so blah and less sporty than previous generations to me.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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Too slow in today's standard.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suBooneru View Post
The exterior and those wheels on the S4 look so blah and less sporty than previous generations to me.
But at the same time, the best in Audi A4 styling in quite a long time, interesting contradiction, i know.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:45 PM   #8
dcsti
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No price listed? I guess if I have to ask, I can't afford it...
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:01 PM   #9
Frank A
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S4 was being held to $50k when I test drove the B8 S4 after it came out. The cool part is that the base car had all the options, like a Japanese car, and NOT like a BMW, where the correspondingly spec'd BMW 335xi was running at almost 60k. I don't know if Audi will increase it with this version if they are selling well.

Oh and that rear diff- ohh la la!
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by txl146 View Post
Too slow in today's standard.
...compared to what in its class?

-Mike-
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:20 PM   #11
CreoWRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank A View Post
S4 was being held to $50k when I test drove the B8 S4 after it came out. The cool part is that the base car had all the options, like a Japanese car, and NOT like a BMW, where the correspondingly spec'd BMW 335xi was running at almost 60k.
I've been getting mailers from my dealer to early return my 2011 S4 and get into a 2013 S4 for the same monthly payment (and another 3 year/36,000 mile lease)... I picked up my Premium Plus S4 back in 2010 for ~$54,000.

-Mike-
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CreoWRX View Post
I've been getting mailers from my dealer to early return my 2011 S4 and get into a 2013 S4 for the same monthly payment (and another 3 year/36,000 mile lease)... I picked up my Premium Plus S4 back in 2010 for ~$54,000.

-Mike-
The P+ comes surprisingly loaded for a "base" model. I agree with the other poster about BMW... they nickel and dime you for every ****ing option. Just building cars on their website is a pain in the ass.

This sounds like a good deal, though, assuming your current payment isn't ridiculous. Smart move, leasing an Audi .
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:00 PM   #13
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I test drove a S4 this past week and was really impressed. Certainly not slow, the flappy paddle one I drove was pretty responsive to boot. Has made it to my short list when I'm done with the TL that's for sure.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:43 AM   #14
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Tempted to buy a used S5, would be a fun car to have.

That article reads like a high school term paper, what a mess.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:22 AM   #15
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Two of my coworkers have an S5 and a 335xi. I should definitely get a ride to see what they're like. Nice to see the 6spd manual option.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:46 PM   #16
CreoWRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob1n1 View Post
The P+ comes surprisingly loaded for a "base" model. I agree with the other poster about BMW... they nickel and dime you for every ****ing option. Just building cars on their website is a pain in the ass.

This sounds like a good deal, though, assuming your current payment isn't ridiculous. Smart move, leasing an Audi .
They are pretty bad... Porsche is too. I was pricing out a Cayman S for giggles, and once I factored in some basic options I was pushing $80,000+.

So far so good with the B8 S4, as I've only had it in the shop once for a TSB repair. I leased a 2001 (B5) S4 previously, and it had a lot of mechanical issues (after a year of ownership I traded it in for a 2003 WRX)... So I know better than to own any German car beyond its warranty.

I have a year left on the lease, and then I'll probably move into an S6. I only have 15K miles in 2 years, so someone is going to get a good deal on this one when I return it.

-Mike-
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:42 PM   #17
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The S5 is a huge bitch. I know it has 2 doors, but looking at it screams sedan to me.

http://www.caranddriver.com/news/201...fours-car-news

Quote:
2014 Audi S4 and S5 Massively Lighter, To Use Turbo Fours

Audi's technical-development chief spills the beans about a kinder, gentler, and faster generation of sporty cars.

The current Audi S5 coupe is gorgeous, fast, and luxurious, but at over 3800 pounds, it’s not dainty. And the upcoming 2010 S5 cabriolet will weigh about 4300 pounds—more than a lot of mid-size SUVs—so forgive us for thinking Audi product planners were being intentionally ironic when they spoke at the car’s launch about their green philosophy and success in downsizing. They conveniently neglected to mention weight and focused on their powertrain strategy: a far more efficient supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 replaces the naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 in the S5 cabriolet and S4 sedan for 2010, with the S5 coupe getting the new engine for 2011. These cars are claimed to achieve the same acceleration as the V-8 models while using 20 percent less fuel.

Still, any idiot knows you can only get so far with engine downsizing in a performance car that weighs more than two tons. So we sat down with Michael Dick, Audi's global head of product engineering, and asked him about how he squares the company’s stated smaller-is-better credo with the reality of its hefty cars.

Crash Dieting

We expected to hear some mumbo-jumbo about how safety standards and consumer expectations for features and refinement dictate ever-growing curb weights, but Dick's response shocked us: Audi is currently testing a prototype of the next-generation S5 that weighs 880 pounds less than the current car. He outlined the ongoing increase in the use of aluminum, magnesium, and high-strength steel as a main reason behind the mass reduction. The current TT's chassis is 69 percent aluminum, and the next-generation A6 (probably due in 2011 or 2012) will have an even higher proportion, Dick says. The amount for the next A4/A5/S4/S5 will be higher still when they debut, likely as 2014 models.

Dick also said that the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is an "intermediate step" for Audi. The next S4 and S5 will have lighter turbocharged four-cylinder engines. We can look at the TT lineup for direction: the base TT in the U.S. has a 2.0-liter turbo four that makes 200 hp. The TT S has the same basic engine, but makes 265 hp with beefed up internals and a bigger turbo. Future S4 and S5 models will have about 20 percent less weight and up to 30 percent less engine displacement than the current S5, making combined fuel economy in the mid to high 20-mpg range likely.

Good Looks, Lofty Goals

Although Dick told us the existing S5 prototype uses the current car's styling, we were able to get insight into the next car’s design from another company source, namely the Sportback concept shown this year at the Detroit auto show. This "concept" isn't a concept at all—it's the Audi A7 that will debut later this year in production form. Company insiders tell us that while the car's overall proportions won't be used on other models, its sinister headlights, more-defined single-frame grille, and blade-like taillights will be defining graphic elements on the next generation of Audis.

So it will look good, and Dick claims that even with all the safety and luxury features of today's car, it will weigh only 3000 pounds. He goes so far as to claim it laps Germany's famed Nürburgring Nordschleife eight seconds faster than the current S5. Skeptical? So are we. Industry sources tell us Audi hasn't yet taken enough weight out of the car's structure to achieve the stated goals, and we get the impression that Dick is telling us about the project to force his development team to make good on the claims. If you assume a car's engineering must be completed three years before it goes into production, they only have a couple of years to achieve these aggressive targets. We wish them the best of luck.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:46 PM   #18
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And a tune gets you over 400hp. Wish they had brought over the S4 wagon.
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