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William Maley

Audi Drops the Tops for the A5 and S5: Comments

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William Maley    393

From the "we're not that surprised" department; Audi has revealed the cabriolet variants of the new A5 and S5.

Like the coupe, the A5/S5 cabriolet uses a new chassis that not only drops 88 pounds, but is 40 percent stiffer compared to the last-generation model. Overall length has increased by two inches allowing for more passenger space. The new cabriolets retain a soft-top, which can be raised and lowered in under 20 seconds.

The European market will get the choice of five engines (two gas and three TDIs) and three transmissions (six-speed manual, seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch, and eight-speed automatic). The U.S. will likely get the 2.0L TFSI four-cylinder found in the new A4 with 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic will come paired with the TFSI. We don't know if the A5 convertible will get front-wheel drive like the previous-generation model, but we expect quattro all-wheel drive to be offered.

The S5 will come with a 3.0L turbocharged V6 with 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This will come paired with an eight-speed automatic and quattro all-wheel drive.

We'll have more details later this month when Audi unveils the A5 and S5 cabriolet at the LA Auto Show.

Source: Audi
Press Release is on Page 2


The new Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet – open to intense driving pleasure

  • Sporty, elegant design, larger interior, more comfort and convenience
  • Seat belt microphones and fully automatic acoustic hood as standard
  • Audi S5 Cabriolet with 354 hp V6 turbocharged engine and quattro drive

The premiere of the new Audi A5 Cabriolet* completes the new generation of the A5 family. Up to four people can enjoy intense driving pleasure on board the open-top mid-sized model. The fully automatic acoustic hood opens and closes up to a speed of 50 km/h (31.1 mph). In the Audi S5 Cabriolet* a new six-cylinder turbocharged engine developing 354 hp and 500 Nm (368.8 lb-ft) of torque ensures top performance.

Striking shoulder line, classic soft top: the exterior
The designers went with the sleek lines of the Coupé for the styling of the new Audi A5 Cabriolet. The rear window is now flatter and emphasizes the sporty looks, as do the short overhangs and the long wraparound hood with power dome. With a length of 4,673 millimeters (15.3 ft), the new A5 Cabriolet is 47 millimeters (1.9 in) longer than the predecessor model.

The classic soft top fits perfectly and delivers outstanding aeroacoustics thanks to effective insulation. The new one-touch opening function makes operating the standard acoustic hood much easier: Just a quick pull of the switch is all it takes to open the soft top fully automatically in 15 seconds or close it in 18 seconds – even while driving up to 50 km/h (31.1 mph).

The front is dominated by a three-dimensional Singleframe grille which is much flatter and wider than before. The wave-shaped shoulder line – a hallmark styling feature of the entire A5 family – makes the A5 Cabriolet extremely elegant. The pronounced bulges over the wheel arches accentuate the quattro DNA. Horizontal lines at the rear emphasize the width of the new Audi A5 Cabriolet, which at the same time is slightly narrower than the predecessor.

The third brake light is elegantly integrated into the surrounding trim strip of the hood compartment cover. LED rear lights and optional LED or Matrix LED headlights with dynamic turn signals at the front and rear make high-end technology visible even after dark.

Strong package: the chassis
The wide track and the long wheelbase measuring 2,765 millimeters (108.9 in) are key features of the balanced, sporty suspension tuning. The track width is 1,587 millimeters (62.5 in) at the front and 1,568 millimeters (61.7 in) at the rear. An updated five-link suspension is used on the front axle. At the rear, a five-link construction replaces the trapezoidal-link suspension used on the previous model. Adaptive dampers are available as an option. They are incorporated into the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system and allow the driver to choose between a highly dynamic or comfortable driving experience. The newly developed electromechanical power steering offers good feedback from the road and greater steering precision. Optionally available is dynamic steering, which varies its gear ratio depending on the speed and steering angle.

Lighter and torsionally stiffer: the body
The body of the new Audi A5 Cabriolet is the stiffest in its class and yet is among the lightest in the segment. Thanks to a smart mix of materials and geometric lightweight design, the engineers have increased the good torsional stiffness of the predecessor model by another 40 percent. All of which makes the Cabriolet’s handling even more agile. The total weight of the new generation is reduced by up to 40 kilograms (88.2 lb). The front-wheel-drive A5 Cabriolet with the 190 hp 2.0 TDI weighs 1,690 kilograms (3725.8 lb).

Additional struts in the body compared with the Coupé and reinforced sills make up for the absence of a fixed roof. In the event of a crash and rollover, head-thorax side airbags and automatically extending aluminum profiles ensure the occupants’ safety.

Wide lineup: engines and drivetrain
There is initially a choice of three engines for the new Audi A5 Cabriolet in Germany – a 2.0 TFSI with 185 kW (252 hp), a 2.0 TDI with 140 kW (190 hp) and a 3.0 TDI with 160 kW (218 hp). Following the market introduction, a 2.0 TFSI with 140 kW (190 hp) and a 3.0 TDI with 210 kW (286 hp) will join the lineup. Compared with the previous model, the engines offer 

up to 17 percent more power while consuming as much as 22 percent less fuel. All the engines combine high efficiency with sporty power development and smooth running – especially the two 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engines.

Six-speed manual transmission, seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission or eight-speed tiptronic – tailor-made drivetrain technology is available for every engine version. The drive is provided as standard via the front wheels; quattro drive with ultra technology and permanent all-wheel drive are available as options. The latter comes as standard for the 3.0 TDI with 210 kW (286 hp).

The Audi S5 Cabriolet is moving into a whole new league with its newly developed 3.0 TFSI. From its 2,995 cc of displacement, the boosted six-cylinder engine produces 260 kW (354 hp) of power – 15 kW (21 hp) more than the engine in the previous model. The top model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 5.1 seconds, and on up to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). It features quattro permanent all-wheel drive and the eight-speed tiptronic as standard.

Spacious and functional: the interior
The increased dimensions, the wheelbase extended by 14 millimeters (0.6 in) and more compact seats increase the space for the driver and passengers. The shoulder room in the front row of seats has been increased by 26 millimeters (1.0 in) and the kneeroom in the rear by 18 millimeters (0.7 in).

The horizontal architecture of the instrument panel and the continuous air vent strip create a generous sense of space. High-grade materials, different colors and excellent workmanship ensure a very special feel-good atmosphere and underscore the premium character. As an option the ambient lighting with 30 adjustable colors creates a fitting mood for the interior.

With the hood closed the luggage compartment has a capacity of 380 liters (13.4 cu ft). The soft top compartment in the luggage compartment automatically moves down when opening the soft top and up again when the soft top is closed, thus providing the largest possible luggage space at all times. The rear seat has a 50:50 split and can be easily folded forward using levers in the luggage compartment. As standard the tailgate on the A5 Cabriolet now opens automatically – using the remote control key or the button in the driver’s door. Audi also installs gesture control for the tailgate as an option: A proximity sensor in the bumper responds to a kicking movement with the foot – the tailgate opens automatically once the optional convenience key is detected.

Seat belt microphones as standard: operation made easy
Thanks to the all-new operating and display concept including natural language voice control and free-text search, the driver can control all functions effortlessly and intuitively. Standard seat belt microphones for driver and front passenger improve voice quality even with the hood open. As an alternative to the analog instrument dials, there is the Audi virtual cockpit with various display options. The large, high-resolution TFT monitor measuring 12.3 inches presents richly detailed graphics. The optional head-up display projects all relevant information onto the windshield in the driver’s direct field of vision as easily comprehensible symbols and digits, thus enabling the driver to keep their eyes on the road.

Top-class connectivity: infotainment and Audi connect
MMI navigation plus with MMI touch tops the infotainment range. Its 8.3-inch monitor has a resolution of 1,024 x 480 pixels. In addition to a DVD drive and a 10 GB flash memory, the high-end system also features two card readers, an AUX-IN connection and a USB connection with charging function.

An LTE module provides access to Audi connect online services – free of charge for three years. The first five map updates for the navigation system are also free of charge. The media hub also comes with a Wi-Fi hotspot which connects passengers’ mobile devices to the World Wide Web.

The Audi smartphone interface integrates iOS and Android cellphones in an environment specially developed for them in the MMI. The Audi phone box connects smartphones to the on-board antenna to provide superior reception quality. It also charges the smartphone inductively, without any wires, using the Qi standard. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System features innovative 3D sound and further improved bass thanks to a second woofer. It opens up the spatial dimension of height and gives the driver the sense of sitting in a concert hall. Its amplifier supplies 755 watts of power in total to 19 loudspeakers.

Abundant support: the driver assistance systems
With up to 30 driver assistance systems, the new Audi A5 Cabriolet offers a broad range of support. An intelligent combination of different technologies enhances safety, comfort and efficiency. Meanwhile Audi is also taking the next step toward piloted driving.

Playing a central role here is the adaptive cruise control (ACC) Stop&Go system including traffic jam assist. It relieves drivers in slow-moving traffic up to speeds of 65 km/h (40.4 mph) by assuming the tasks of braking and accelerating the car, and it also temporarily takes charge of steering on better roads. The predictive efficiency assistant evaluates GPS information from the car’s immediate surroundings and helps to save fuel by giving specific driving advice – a unique feature in this segment.

Collision avoidance assist intervenes if the car needs to drive around an obstacle to avoid an accident. Based on data from the front camera, ACC and radar sensors, it computes a recommended driving line within a fraction of a second. The lineup is rounded out by other assistance systems such as turn assist, park assist, rear cross traffic assist, exit warning, camera-based recognition of traffic signs, Audi active lane assist and Audi side assist.

Pampering program: the equipment
The Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet come with an especially wide range of equipment. Standard features include xenon headlights, the Audi drive select dynamic handling system and partial leather seats. Intuitive, ergonomic operation comes courtesy of the Audi MMI radio plus with 7-inch color display, seat belt microphones and the one-touch opening function for the soft top. The new lines concept with various equipment packages enhances the scope for individual design expression.

The new Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet will be in dealerships in Germany and other European countries in March 2017. The A5 Cabriolet starts at EUR 49,350. The price for the S5 Cabriolet is EUR 67,800.


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    • By William Maley
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      We have to give Audi some credit for at least trying to make the new A8 look slightly different than the outgoing one. Elements of the 2014 Prologue Concept are present with similar styling in the rear - slightly angled trunk lid and LED taillights with a light bar. The front end features the largest version of Audi's Singleframe grille and headlights equipped with lasers that double the range of the high beams at speeds above 43 MPH. 
      But the big story about the new A8 is the smorgasbord of technology available.
      The virtual cockpit system now comes with a 720P HD screen Audi's updated MMI system doesn't feature any knobs or buttons. Instead, various functions are accessed through the 10.5-inch touchscreen or voice controls. Sound and tactile feedback tells a driver the function is being executed.  Audi claims the A8 is "the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving." (We're sure some competitors will be balking at this exclamation.) Audi AI is an artificial intelligence-based software system that controls the self-driving aspects of the A8. This system is the first production vehicle with SAE Level 3 self-driving tech - a vehicle can take full control of driving the vehicle, but only in specific situations. In this case, Audi AI can take care of accelerating, steering, and braking at speeds below 37.3 MPH.  Audi AI can also maneuver the vehicle into a parking spot or garage space without the driver in the vehicle. All A8s will come with a 48-Volt electrical system - first shown on the SQ7 TDI. This means the A8 will come with an active suspension system that uses an electric motor and various components for each wheel to adjust suspension load. Audi claims this gives the A8 a comfortable ride and sharp handling characteristics. The 48-Volt system also means all A8s will have a mild hybrid system to improve fuel economy. For the European market, the Audi A8 will launch with two turbocharged 3.0L V6 engines (gas and diesel). Down the road, Audi will add 4.0L V8 (gas and diesel), W12, and a e-tron plug-in hybrid to the A8's powertrain lineup. An eight-speed automatic routes power to all four wheels.
      Audi will launch the A8 in Germany this fall with other markets to follow. Pricing will begin at €90,600 (about $103,318) for the standard wheelbase and €94,100 (about $107,310) for the long-wheelbase A8 L.
      Source: Audi
      Press Release is on Page 2


      The new Audi A8: future of the luxury class
      World debut for flagship model at Audi Summit in Barcelona New design language and a pioneering touch operating concept Piloted driving functions to be rolled out in production Audi A8 versions from 2018 Today is where the future begins in the luxury class: The new Audi A8 makes its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona. In its fourth generation, the flagship model again provides the benchmark for Vorsprung durch Technik – with a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The Audi A8 is also the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving. From 2018, Audi will gradually be taking piloted driving functions such as parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production.

      Doyen of style: the exterior design
      The Audi A8 is stylistically defining – it signals the dawning of a new design era for the entire brand. The front end with the wide, upright Singleframe grille and the fluid, muscular body symbolize sporty elegance, sophistication and progressive status. The new A8 delivers on the promise made by the Audi prologue design study. The luxury sedan possesses a powerful presence – whether in the 5.17 meter (17.0 ft) standard version or the A8 L, which has a 13 centimeter (5.1 in) longer wheelbase.
      The Audi brand is renowned worldwide for sports appeal, lightweight construction and quattro permanent all-wheel drive – and the design of the new A8 conveys these values. The balanced proportions emphasize all four wheels in equal measure. Muscular shapes above the wheel arches give visual expression to the quattro drive. Viewed side-on, the upright front end combined with the gently inclined rear create visual tension. The flagship model proclaims its identity both day and night, drawing on both the striking HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting, and the LED light strip combined with OLED technology rear lights. These produce unique light animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car.
      Luxury lounge: the interior
      Freedom is the defining design feature with a new luxury slant. This explains the A8’s resemblance to a lavish, spacious lounge. Compared to the predecessor model, it has grown substantially in length in both body versions.
      The range of equipment and materials is extensive, with every detail radiating superlative bespoke quality – from the perforation in the seat upholstery to the electrically opened and closed shutters on the air vents.
      The classiest seat in the new Audi flagship model is in the rear right – the optional relaxation seat in the A8 L that comes with four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat. The new comfort head restraints complete the experience. The rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the new HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, plus make private phone calls, via a separate operating unit. The rear seat remote, with its OLED display as large as a smartphone, is a removable unit housed in the center armrest.
      Fingertip response: the controls
      The luxury sedan’s interior deliberately adopts a reductive design; the interior architecture is clear and with a strictly horizontal orientation. Audi carries its high quality standards into the digital age with a radically new operating concept. It does away with the familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad of the predecessor model. The instrument panel is kept largely clear of buttons and switches. At its center is a 10.1-inch touchscreen display which, when off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surround thanks to its black-panel look.
      The user interface appears as soon as the car is opened. The driver controls the Infotainment system with fingertip control on the large display. They can use a second touchscreen display on the center tunnel console to access the air conditioning and comfort functions as well as make text inputs. When the driver activates a function in the upper or lower display, they hear and feel a click by way of confirmation. The glass-look operating buttons respond in the same way. The combination of acoustic and tactile feedback along with the use of common touch gestures such as swiping make the new MMI touch response especially safe, intuitive and quick to use.
      The A8 can also engage in intelligent conversation. The driver can activate an array of functions in the automobile using a new, natural form of voice control. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or is delivered from the cloud at LTE speed. The extensive Audi connect range also includes traffic sign recognition and hazard information – innovative car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.
      The extensively optimized navigation is another new feature: It is self-learning, based on the route just driven. This provides the driver with intelligent search suggestions. The map also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities.
      World premiere: the pilot-driving Audi A8
      The new A8 is the first production automobile to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) on freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system is activated using the AI button on the center console.
      The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently. They can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and, depending on the national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it calls on the driver to take back control of the task of driving.
      From a technical perspective the traffic jam pilot is revolutionary. During piloted driving, a central driver assistance controller (zFAS) now permanently computes an image of the surroundings by merging the sensor data. As well as the radar sensors, a front camera and the ultrasonic sensors, Audi is the first car manufacturer also to use a laser scanner. The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot means the statutory framework will need to be clarified in each individual market, along with the country-specific definition of the application and testing of the system. The brand’s high quality standards are equally applicable in the realm of highly automated driving. In addition, a range of approval procedures and their corresponding timescales will need to be observed worldwide. Audi will therefore be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models.
      The Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the maneuver is monitored by the driver. The driver need not be sitting in the car. They start the appropriate system from their smartphone using the new myAudi app. To monitor the parking maneuver, they hold the Audi AI button pressed to watch a live display from the car’s 360 degree cameras on their device.
      New dimension: the suspension
      With a whole package of innovations, the suspension revisits the very limits of what is physically possible. One such innovation is dynamic all-wheel steering, which combines direct, sporty steering with unshakable stability. The steering ratio for the front wheels varies as a function of speed; the rear wheels are turned in or against the direction of steering depending on the speed range. The car’s handling becomes even more dynamic and precise with the sport differential. This actively distributes the drive torque between the rear wheels, complementing the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that is now standard in the new A8.
      The second new technology, Audi AI active suspension, is a fully active suspension system. Depending on the driver’s wishes and the driving situation, it is capable of raising or lowering each wheel separately with electric actuators. This flexibility imparts the driving characteristic with huge latitude – ranging from the smooth ride comfort of a classic luxury sedan to the dynamism of a sports car. In combination with pre sense 360°, the car is raised with lighting speed if there is an impending lateral collision, reducing the potential consequences of the accident for all occupants.
      This highly innovative suspension system obtains the energy it requires from a 48-volt electrical system. Audi now for the first time fits it as the primary electrical system in all model versions of the A8. In conjunction with the advanced air suspension for the A8, the innovative suspension concept delivers an utterly new driving experience.
      Mild hybrid and e-tron: the drives
      The new A8 starts out in the German market with two extensively reengineered V6 turbo engines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel develops 210 kW (286 hp), and the gasoline version 250 kW (340 hp). Two eight-cylinder versions – a 4.0 TDI with 320 kW (435 hp) and a 4.0 TFSI with 338 kW (460 hp) – will follow slightly later. The exclusive top engine version is the W12 with a displacement of 6.0 liters. (These vehicles are not yet on sale. They do not yet have type approval and are therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC.)
      All five engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is the nerve center of the 48-volt electrical system. This mild hybrid technology (MHEV, mild hybrid electric vehicle) enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption of the already efficient engines even further – by as much as 0.7 liters (0.2 US gal) per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) in real driving conditions.
      The A8 L e-tron quattro with its powerful plug-in hybrid drive will follow at a later date (This vehicle is not yet on sale. It does not yet have type approval and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC.): Its 3.0 TFSI and the powerful electric motor achieve 330 kW (449 hp) of system power and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of system torque. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 50 kilometers (31.1 mi) of electric driving. It can optionally be charged by Audi Wireless Charging. A pad in the garage floor transfers the power inductively to a receiver coil in the automobile with a power output of 3.6 kW.
      The new Audi A8 and A8 L are being built at the Neckarsulm site and will appear on the German market in late fall 2017. The starting price for the A8 is EUR 90,600, with the A8 L starting at EUR 94,100.
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