This is the home of automobile road tests in South Africa. We drive South African cars, SUVs and LCVs under South African conditions. It also just happens that most of the vehicles we drive are world cars as well, so what you read here probably applies to the models you can get at home.
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*Please remember too, that prices quoted were those ruling on the days I wrote the reports.
Pics by audipress@motorpics
Published in The Witness Motoring, Wednesday February 23, 2011
The body: The A5 Sportback is 36 mm lower than the A4 sedan on which it is based. It is also microscopically longer and 28 mm wider. A short front overhang, long wheelbase and wide track emphasise the car’s athletic nature while four frameless doors with slim window lines add an air of sporty elegance. The interior is spacious, offering high levels of comfort for four occupants. A large tailgate is seamlessly integrated into the extended, tapered tail end with its slender C-pillars. The subtle lip on the integrated spoiler underscores its poised character. Luggage compartment volume of 480 litres can be increased to 980 litres by folding the rear seatbacks down.
The engine: It's a 1984 cc DOHC 16-valve with Audi Valvelift System, or VVT with variable lift, inline four cylinder with exhaust turbocharger and intercooler, developing 155 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque. To put this into perspective with the 3.2 litre unblown version we tested last June, it puts out 40 kW less power but 20 Nm more torque, all at lower rpm. It's about a second slower to 100 km/h, but uses less fuel overall. The gearbox is a seven-speed, twin-clutch S-tronic unit with Sport setting and manual override.
Inside: It's comprehensive, conservative and pure Audi. The test car came with a few options including a powered glass sunroof, park distance control, front sports seats with mechanical adjustment (electrical adjustment, memory and heating can be added) and a six-disc player upgrade for the radio and CD unit. My favourite, as always, was the pair of sports seats with extendable thigh support. Every car should have them. The sculpted rear seat is designed for two, with no third seatbelt or head restraint. Four ISOFIX anchorages are built in. A fold-down armrest opens to reveal a basic first aid kit with bandages and a thermal blanket.
The experience: The A5 is a true driver's car. You can almost sense exactly where each wheel is, while Quattro all-wheel drive makes the car feel positively undetachable, even in the wet. (If business people can make up new words every day, so can I.) The exhaust note is almost symphonic, urging you to turn off the CD player and catch the real music as the melody lilts and growls with each gear change. With all that torque on tap from just above idle speed, throttle response is brilliant. I have written about winding roads and total driver involvement before and in my opinion, this is the A5 turbo quattro's greatest strength. It goes into my "top five" list of cars driven over the past year.
Price: R459 130 basic, R486 400 as tested
Engine: 1 984 cc DOHC inline four, petrol, turbocharged
Power: 155 kW between 4 300 and 6 000 rpm
Torque: 350 Nm between 1 500 and 4 200 rpm
Zero to 100 km/h: 7.5 seconds
Maximum speed: Governed to 250 km/h
Real life fuel consumption: about 10.1 l/100 km
Tank: 64 litres
Maintenance plan: 5 years/100 000 km
This is a one-man show, which means that road test cars entrusted to me are driven only by me. Some reviewers hand test cars over to their partners to use as day-to-day transport and barely experience them for themselves.
What this means to you is that every car reviewed is given my own personal evaluation and receives my own seat of the pants judgement - no second hand input here.
Every car goes through real world testing; on city streets littered with potholes, speed bumps and rumble strips, on freeways and if its profile demands, dirt roads as well.
I am based in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa. This is the central hub of the KZN Midlands farming community; the place farmers go to to buy their supplies and equipment, truck their goods to market, send their kids to school and go to kick back and relax.
So occasionally a cow, a goat or a horse may add a little local colour by finding its way into the story or one of the pictures. It's all part of the ambience!
Want to ask a question, comment or just tell me you thoroughly disagree with what I say? That's your privilege, because if everybody agreed on everything, the world would be a boring place. All I ask is that you remain calm, so please blow off a little steam before venting too vigorously. Contact me here
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