Posts Tagged ‘Quattro’

Aaron Borrill finds out whether the improvements made to the 2013 Audi RS5 make it a better car


Read Full Post »

Audis latest addition to the RS family is the swan song of the current A3 range, which has been around since 2003. So what’s all the fuss about? Well, for starters a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged mill, the same one in fact that’s used by the TT RS, has been shoehorned into the engine bay with spine-twisting results. Cranking out 250kw and 450nm, the RS3 is the fastest production hatchback in the world. In fact, it’s as quick as an R8 V8 out of the blocks reaching 100km/h from standstill in 4.6 seconds flat – guaranteed using launch control. All 450Nm come into play from as low down as 1600rpm and remain steady all the way until 5300rpm where it gradually starts to drop off. Punch the go-faster pedal in any gear and the back of your head will meet the headrest with alarming force. The seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox swaps cogs with alacrity no matter which mode you’ve selected. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are fun and easy-to-use especially when you’ve selected manual mode. Unlike other auto-boxes with manual function, the S-tronic manual mode won’t kick over unless you physically click the paddle.
The RS3 is a versatile performer, and, although many owners will use it exclusively as a daily driver it performs well at the track, too. The Quattro permanent all wheel-drive system ensures high levels of grip, even at the limit, but turn into a corner too aggressively and it will understeer. Still, not at any point will you feel out of your depth – the ESP does very well to intervene when things get a little hairy by shuffling torque between the front and rear axle. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fancy sport differential like in the RS5 so the tail isn’t going to freely move around. One thing I did notice though is that the brakes do fade quite noticeably especially after excessive use at the track.

Aesthetically, the styling is a little too discreet for my liking. The front bumper boasts twin air intakes and new front wings while a spoiler, 19-inch wheels and a gloss-black diffuser make up the balance. The ageing interior has been freshened up with piano-black inlays, a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel and optional Recaro bucket seats.

Before I forget, there’s also a ‘Sport’ button that opens a flap in the exhaust system to beef up the engine tone. The soundtrack is still nowhere as throaty as the one found in the TT RS but is more sonorous than the regular S3.
Compared to it’s rivals, the Cayman R and BMW 1m Coupe, the driving experience does lack a certain degree of involvement – almost as if the car is driving itself but foibles aside it’s still bloody fast.
Is it a bargain? Well at R525 000 you can’t buy anything else that offers as much power and utility. The five-door arrangement is a bonus, too. Many will argue that it’s a glorified A3 but it’s furiously fast and that’s why all 54 units are spoken for.

Engine: 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo
Power: 250kW and 450Nm
0-100km/h: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 250km/h
Price: R525 000

Read Full Post »

The roof takes only 15 seconds to fold away

by Aaron Borrill

I really enjoyed the Audi S4, primarily because of its fluent 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine. My only concern was that its engine might not be as sonorous as I had hoped. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the S5 Cabriolet had ditched its coupé brothers’ chunky 4.2-litre V8 for the smooth-operating V6 of the S4. What is there to fault? The S5 should only be ordered in sprint blue: it accentuates the aluminium-brushed wing mirrors and window surrounds, centre grill and the optional 19-inch alloy wheels. Its fabric roof folds away in only 15 seconds which means you won’t go grey by the time you see the sky and, furthermore, it can be activated whilst travelling at speeds of up to 50km/h. For a drop-top, the S5 goes like a rocket. There isn’t as much scuttle shake as you’d expect due to its reinforced chassis, and its all-wheel-drive Quattro system secures leech-like handling even in the hairiest of corners. The refined engine is undoubtedly the best part of the car. It appears to outperform its S4 sibling and opening the roof presents the best melody imaginable. The supercharger together with the V6 functions in unison to provide a heavenly cacophony which is heightened further by the burbled blip at every cog swap. The S5 Cabriolet is without a doubt a car I’d consider buying. It presents the driver with everything he needs from a car: two seats up front – that, by the way, I’d trade my testicles for – ample room at the rear, drop-top suavity and sports-car performance. The Audi S5 Cabriolet is the ultimate boulevard cruiser that we all want to drive and if you rake together around R706 500, you can park it in your garage.

Beautifully sculpted sports seats hold you in place when careering through a series of bends

Engine: 3.0-litre V6 supercharged

Power: 245kw and 440Nm

Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds

Top speed: 250km/h

Price: R706 500

Cape Point proved to be a great drive with spectacular scenery and views

Read Full Post »

The R8 resting aside the scenic views of the Worcester winelands

Put your Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche aside because, quite frankly, none of them come close to the Audi’s all-new masterpiece. Maybe as an Audi aficionado, I’m being partisan but I much prefer the R8 to any of the super cars. It’s not as pretty, shiny or as perfectly pieced together as the others, but it’s a raw, chiselled car; an absolute attention seeker.
Two years ago I was unlucky to have missed out on the opportunity to drive the R8 V8 (something I regret bitterly to this day), so when the chance of driving the V10 arose, I seized the day.
The night before I felt like a little boy before Christmas. I slept fitfully, my mind adrift with visions of myself decimating affluent bastards in their Porsches. No matter how hard I tried to count sheep, they all became R8s that relentlessly marauded me from slumber.
The next morning, scanning the parking lot’s perimeter, my eyes immediately locked on the R8’s feral contours. The glistening white R8, stood there taunting my emotions. I stood in awe, my breaths became longer and deeper. I knew then, I was in for a thrilling encounter.
Upon entering the belly of the beast, I sat in its body-clutching seats while attempting to garner my thoughts and tame my uncontrolled emotions. ‘Breathe,’ I told myself. ‘Take it easy. Don’t speed, and just don’t get pulled over. You know where most of the speed cameras are, so you have anything to worry about.’
The following day I realised that it’s easier said than done, and after every push of the throttle I sat worried, nervously pondering the possible jail time I’d be spending with Bubba if I were to get caught speeding. I decided to drive the R8 through the Huguenot tunnel into Worcester, giving it a thorough workout in all departments, and answering the R2 million question: is it worth the cash? Here are 10 reasons why it is:

1. Aural Pleasure
At 8 500rpm the sound inside the Huguenot tunnel is incredible: it envelopes everything and seems to travel faster than the car. It’s not as subdued as its V8 sibling and not as over-powering as the Gallardo LP560-4. Many argue that no other sound can match the V8, but in comparison to this particular V10, the V8 needs an amplifier. The car comes equipped with a Bang & Olufsen sound system, which was wasted on my drive as I spent most of my time with the windows rolled down listening to the bellowing V10 singing a beautiful symphony.

The colossal V10 mill resting at the rear

2. The v10 mill
No, you have it wrong. It’s the other way around: the LP560-4 employs the same engine as the R8. Yes, it makes a few horses less than its Italian brother (about 26kW), but who cares? The engine is a masterpiece. It needs no go-faster bits like the turbochargers that the Japanese use to compete at this level. It’s the perfect balance between engineering and art. The 5.2-litre V10 lump rests comfortably in the back, cloaked in carbon-fibre trim with ambient lighting illuminating its heart at sunset.

3. Performance
Without the performance to match the looks, a supercar is nothing. Never in my life have I experienced power of this magnitude on a road-going car. Explosive bursts of power are available anywhere in the rev range and once the rpm needle passes 6 000rpm, your neck feels as if it’s going to snap. The mid-mounted V10 produces a monolithic 386kW available at 8 000rpm and 530Nm available at 6 500rpm. This is quite delightful as it translates into cranium-crushing acceleration and a tantalising top speed of 316km/h.
Performance figures are off the chart: 100km/h arrives in 3.9 seconds, and 200km/h in a mere 8.6 seconds.


4. Aesthetically pleasing
The R8 V10 is a perfectly balanced amalgamation of beauty and brutality neatly packed into an automobile. You can see the Lamborghini blood flowing through its veins. Its low-slung looks and wide stance make it good to look at, while appearing intimidating at the same time. It’s undeniably German in the front and a raging Italian bull at the rear. At first glance it looks very similar to the V8 version but upon closer inspection, the differences are very clear. The first of which is the V10 badging marked on its side fenders. Other than that, it has flared air intakes on its carbon-fibre side blades and dual, oval exhaust tips that replace the quad-tipped outlets.

5. The perfect drive
I placed the R8’s gated gear lever into first and took off lickety-split across the tar. OMG! The perfect launch – no wheel spin, thanks to Quattro. My head is forced back onto the headrest with a fraction of a second reprieve before I snapped it into second at 8 500rpm. Pair the hallmark Quattro system with a mid-mounted engine, and you get supreme handling. The Quattro bias is set at 40-60 in favour of the rear with that ratio changing to 20-80 with a heavy foot. So you can imagine the sort of fun there is to be had on the track. It’s accurate steering and near-perfect weight distribution makes anyone look like a racing champion.

6. A sensory experience
Driving the R8 is a sensory adventure second to none. Be it the smell of the leather or the burnt fuel, the touch of the steering wheel, the feel of the heat or the glorious sound emitted by its huge engine, your senses are given a thorough workout. It’s a far cry from what the average South African is used to: this is more than just transport. Nothing else matters when driving this car, it provides the ultimate bond between man and machine.

7. Pretty comfortable
With most supercars, there is always a certain degree of comfort that will be comprised. This is because of the ferocity of the engine, the stiffened suspension, the wider body and taut chassis – all of which contribute to a lack of space. But Audi has managed to negate this issue. It has a very roomy cabin. You are able to stretch your legs and do a Pilates class – you can’t do that in a Ferrari, can you? What’s more is that the ride isn’t as hard as you’d expect it to be. Obviously off-roading is out of the question but for daily commuting and South African roads, the R8 will cope effortlessly.

Its truculent front end will scare off most road-users

8. Its presence
If you love attention, you’ll love driving the R8. Everywhere I drove I was greeted by people bowing down to me, waving at me, throwing their underwear and generally behaving like groupies. Yes, you feel like a rock star, but it might all get a bit too much. I found myself battling with the popularity, the camera flashes and the strange people following me home. Audi has succeeded. Everybody loves it. There’s envy but no spite. You will probably have more difficulty being liked in a BMW Z4 than the R8. The Audi R8 is car that breaks down differences. It can stop wars. Drive the R8 through Baghdad and enemies will have something in common. Fighting will stop and the R8 will save the day.

9. Fine detail
Look at any Audi and you will see attention to detail. Be it the 500, the A3 or even the TT. In each particular segment, Audi will always go one step further in providing an unprecedented product. It’s no different in their flagship R8. The racing seats are garbed in the finest nappa leather, and the roof lining and door inserts are clad in alcantara. The instrument cluster is emblazoned with R8 and V10 insignia. The exterior of the car is encapsulated by two carbon-fibre side blades with a brushed aluminium R8-branded fuel cap moulded snugly into its right side. The R8 has all the finishing touches of winner.

10. The Price tag
Come on, the price isn’t that bad, is it? Like many car-loving South Africans, I can’t afford the R8. Not many of us will have the wherewithal of one day owning one of this rare breed, but when compared to its contemporaries, the R8 isn’t as expensive as its R2-million price tag might suggest.If we analyse what we are actually getting for our money, it’s quite a bargain. Compare the R8 with its Gallardo brother and there is a price difference of about R1.7 million, with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia a variation of R1.3-million and the Porsche 911 GT2, a R745 000 disparity. What we get is a supercar that is just as beautiful, just as powerful, just as exotic and considerably cheaper than its peers.

Ecstasy: This is what happens after every spirited run

Read Full Post »

Achtung! Be sure to move over when seeing this in your rear view mirror

The guys from Ingolstadt have been working very hard the past couple of years to ensure an unparalleled product for the Audi enthusiast. It’s no surprise then that the new S3 Sportback is nothing short of astonishing. Few cars hold a reputation as menacing as the Audi S3, with its alluring proportions and its hallmark Quattro system. The S3’s new design – DRL headlights on its front-end, rounded off by a bold, black front grill – gives it an unmistakeable road presence. These trademark features culminate in a malevolent glare that strikes fear into other road-users.
It employs the same 2-litre FSI motor found in the GTI but its been equipped with an array of upgraded components that guarantees a power output of 195kW and 350Nm, encouraging the S3 to obliterate the 0-100km/h mark in 5.8 seconds.
But it’s not just the impressive credentials that makes it a desired chunk of sheet metal, its the S-line exclusivity of owning a vehicle that comes in at a base price of R400 500.

Is that an Avant? The four doors and larger backside make it an ideal family carrier

Having an S3 is a like having your own personal Cobra rollercoaster – it handles like it’s on rails, it churns your stomach and makes you grind your teeth and, best of all, you get to ride it everyday.

C02 emissions: 201.0 g/km

0-100 km/h: 5.8 seconds

Top speed: 250km/h

Read Full Post »

The Perfect Drive: I can't fault it

The conqueror

It’s been just over a decade since the last force induced Audi S4 and, for some, that decade feels more like a millennium. The S4 exercises Audis all-new supercharged 3-litre V6 mill. Yes, it’s the same engine found in the A6, but it’s been tweaked to supply bigger power and torque output. The way the S4 accelerates is mind-blowing − 230km/h arrives in no time at all. I can’t but wonder if the quoted power figures have been understated. The smaller-engined V6 and supercharger also help to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. So, we can agree that the S4 gets top marks in the performance department. What about the handling? Well, with all S models, Audi’s fantastic Quattro system is always squeezed in. The Quattro bias is set at 40:60 front-to-rear with a maximum of 80 per cent supplied to the tail. Power and handling are what Audis are famous for and this symbiotic relationship ensures that maximum power is consistently supplied to all four wheels resulting in controlled handling, sometimes making the most inexperienced driver look like a seasoned pro. One aspect separating Audi from its adversaries is the superiority of its interiors. Unlike most cars, Audi successfully transfers the dynamism of the exterior to the interior.

With interior like this who needs a bed? In fact who needs a house?

Its cabin is finely shaped from the highest graded leather and trim, providing only the best ergonomics. The S4 is a true sports car clothed in the guise of a staid sedan. Apart from the brushed aluminium side mirrors, LED tail lights and dual exit pipes, there is nothing really setting the S4 aside from the normal A4, which will make for some interesting encounters on the road and track.

Go figure: The rotational force of its crankshaft supplies the S4 with 245kW and 440Nm which is 7kW less than the previous model but it makes 30Nm more. This helps the S4 to destroy the 100km/h barrier in a claimed 5.3 seconds.

Verdict: Faultless. That’s the only word that truly epitomises Audi’s latest masterpiece.

Apart for the dual-twin exit pipes, there isn't much separating the S4 from the A4

Read Full Post »