Audi S5 in the super test

Frank Herzog
Audi S5 in the super test
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D about whether beauty and intelligence are related to one another we would have liked to have received a statement from Paris Hilton or Hella from senses. But our long-term doubts about their ability to seriously reflect led us to reduce the somewhat ticklish subject to technical areas.

Functional or better: intelligent technology is always characterized by this, according to physicists, engineers and designers from the fact that there is a beauty inherent in it, which is fed by the polished logic of the object. Just as there are supposed to be mathematical formulas that are bursting with beauty because of their clarity and complexity, connoisseurs of the matter can become utterly ecstatic just because of the technical elegance of a component. Ergo: If the technology can convince with inner beauty, then the external attractiveness should also be good - and vice versa.

It is not for nothing that the father of the S5, who is responsible for the external beauty, thinks the chief designer of the Volkswagen Group, Walter de'Silva, the new A5 Coupé for his most beautiful design to date. According to de’Silva, the Audi brand's genetic code is condensed in a very special way in the resolute facial features with the single frame typical of the brand, in the wide, flat car body and in the stretched transition from the C-pillar to the short rear end. As far as d’accord. Only the term 'short front overhang' could perhaps make a little suspicious, because the announcement from the Audi environment has a somewhat bold attitude. Let's put it this way: The front end, which was previously extremely lush at Audi due to the special layout of the drive train, has been reduced to a visually and, above all, technically sensible size in the new Ingolstadt Coupé.

The lush front end has shrunk

Behind this - thanks to the engineers - is by no means just a clever design trick - the measure represents nothing less than a striking technical change in values ​​that goes much deeper than the optically advantageous modification suggests.

The engine, in the present case an equally dazzling and well-known 90-degree V8, no longer takes its place as it used to be, exposed in front of the front axle, but much further back. The shift has until completely behind the axis, as would correspond to the optimum in terms of mass balancingnot enough, but at least: the center of gravity of the eight-cylinder is now almost exactly above the front axle, which also consciously takes space economy into account. , or - as in this case - can be combined with all-wheel drive, has now been placed very far forward, which on the one hand ensures a longer wheelbase and on the other hand enables the aforementioned installation position of the engine. For this purpose, the front wheels are guided on a completely new five-link axle with wishbones at the top and bottom, which in turn is attached to a separate front axle carrier bolted to the body.

The installation position is also completely new for Audi the rack and pinion steering, which is now arranged in front of the front axle, i.e. close to the wheel center, in order - according to the theory - to optimize vehicle handling by introducing the steering forces more directly. With these technically far-reaching interventions, the brand with the four rings has at least tended to free itself from a constructive penalty that has so far almost always been a disadvantage in terms of driving dynamics - the unbalanced, heavily front-heavy weight distribution, which makes it extremely difficult to produce neutral driving behavior . It is not for nothing that all Audi models, whether with front or all-wheel drive, have been seen as potential understeer.

Even if the ready-to-drive mass of 1,722 kilograms is still nominally very depressing, that adds up to 4.60 meters long and more than 1.85 meters wide coupe now at least with an acceptable weight and wheel load distribution into the sporting scene. According to this, the front axle now has to carry 57.5 percent statically, the rear axle 42.5 percent of the total weight.

It's just a shame that the actuating levers that are effective in theory do not always have the promised effect in practice. In the first comparison test, to the chagrin of hopeful Audi employees, the S5 still lacked the promised neutrality and showed itself to be very indebted to its ancestors in terms of character However, as it turned out later, the lap time at Hockenheim is less due to the chassis layout or the setup than to the choice of tires. Because with the tires of the brand Michelin Pilot Sport in size 255/35 ZR 19 installed in the Supertest, the same test vehicle achieved significantly better values ​​overall than with the previously used Dunlop Sportmaxx of identical dimensions.

The tires cause disappointment

The Hockenheim lap in the current time of 1.17.2 minutes now pretty much meets the expectations of a. both in terms of time and driving behaviorEight-cylinder coupé of this horsepower and weight class may be provided.

With a driving safety that is reminiscent of dreamlike motion sequences and a traction that could encourage trees to tear, the all-wheel drive stubbornly and unmolested by load change influences follows the given line - And this in an almost neutral way, as expected due to the chassis modifications.

The heartbreaking whine of the front tires tormented by large slip angles is over. The fact that the coupé even starts to push with the rear in the demanding, because very fast crossbar in Hockenheim at almost 170 km /h is a striking indication of the clear gain in agility, which should be unreservedly appreciated by experienced drivers.

As the slalom attempts show, the Gran Turismo, which is typical of its systems, cannot hide a somewhat uncomfortable tendency to swing up when changing direction in rapid succession - but only if the S5 undergoes its pure increased driving dynamics, i.e. with deactivated stability control This should prove.

In terms of driving dynamics, we are therefore dealing with two different philosophies based on the tires: With the Pilot Sport, the all-wheel drive demonstrates significantly more agile driving behavior, but also demands more skill from the driver at the limit from. Equipped with Dunlop Sportmaxx, the Coupé is less aggressive, but is also easier to handle because it marks the limit comparatively early via the understeer tendency.

The Nordschleife, the one that mercilessly reveals and nothing and Nobody-friendly Eifel route, which originated in the late twenties, has - to look at it from the other side - not the slightest argument against the current test subject. It faces the toughest test conditions imaginable in an extremely confident manner, as evidenced by the lap time of 8.26 minutes.

According to its status, the four-seater coupé really leaves nothing to be desired - neither in performance or braking power, nor in driving safety or Enthusiasm. You throw the S5 into the bends and look forward to a nice exit from the apex. However, if you are so happy to deal with the resources, you should also know what you are doing in the S5. The all-wheel drive is naturally also bound by the laws of physics.

No defect detectable

Whatever: the chassis and drive form a congenial construct, so to speak, that is in an excellent position, the noble genre to fertilize with very specific character traits. One of them is the commitment, which the S5 proves not only when driving up to the hotel, but also after passing the entrance barrier at the Nürburgring. Both the internal and external manners are, according to his almost aristocratic appearance, without blemishBlame.

On the one hand, the eight-cylinder engine, rumbling to itself in front of the feet of the crew seated in the first row, is acoustically just enough to be perceived in the immediate vicinity as a large-volume V8. On the other hand, the voice is reserved enough not to appear proletarian. In addition, the silky, elegant acceleration of the long-stroke engine is undoubtedly made to crank the adrenaline rush even in the lower speed range - in a positive sense, mind you. Together with the six-speed gearbox, which can be elegantly handled via the non-slip gear stick, the 4.2-liter unit conscientiously prepares to pull even the last doubters to its side.

That with the 420 hp V8 of the Audi The engine, which is closely related to the R8, actually convinces in the present version, at least on public roads, with its more practical manners than the more sophisticated counterpart in the R8.

Both the maximum engine speed reduced to 7,300 rpm (R8: 8,000 rpm) and that The highest torque of 440 Newton meters (R8: 430 Nm at 4,500 /min), which already occurs at 3,300 rpm, already nominally shows the eight-cylinder as a real power hum. In fact, the coupé, which is significantly weaker with 354 hp and more than two hundred pounds heavier, easily slips past the R8 in the elasticity test in sixth gear. From a standing start, the S5 loses just under three seconds compared to the R8 up to 200 km /h - 19.1 compared to 16.2 seconds. The S5 Coupé completes the sprint to 100 km /h in 5.2 seconds, but does not hold back with its unwillingness to such exercises insofar as the clutch, which mediates between the high weight on the one hand and the almost slip-free traction on the other, enters the There is a dilemma and begins to slide easily.

Once the valley of horror is behind you, however, you are back with a positive connection. On such and similar occasions it becomes clear that the four-seater, which is also very generously proportioned in the interior and also provides a respectable trunk, does not want to compete with its super-sporty brother, but rather seeks to act as a mediator between the worlds.

Lots of space in the mediator between the worlds

The noble goal is revealed when the S5 is very open to increased comfort demands parallel to the described sporting ambitions that cannot be dismissed from the hand. The barely perceptible rolling noise and the wind noise that remains at a low level, as well as the suspension that never reaches its arms when searching slowly for potholes and when flying over annoying transverse joints on fast motorway stretches underline the claim of the elegant two-door car to be a true Gran Turismo. Someone for whom the long stages are tailored to the body, or rather: the body. That expresses itselfconsequently in perfect ergonomics and in the thoroughly well thought-out operating elements. The design of the leather-covered sports seats is a boon.

In view of the modest tank volume of just 63 liters and the comparatively generous average consumption of almost 15 liters of Super Plus, the heretical question of whether the Audi S5 a career as a sprinter was not originally intended. If this is really the case, then we have fundamentally misunderstood it.

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