2008 Audi A5 Coupe

At Geneva Motor Show, Audi will unveil the A5 Coupe that will go on sale in early 2007 as a 2008 model. The car will share styling cues with the Nuvolari and Shooting Brake concepts and a platform with the next-generation A4 and Volkswagen’s forthcoming upscale coupe. Also a soft-top convertible version with a canvas roof will replace the current A4
cabrio in 2008.

From the Nuvolari Concept it will take its sloping R8-like nose, coke-bottle body contours, surprisingly formal roofline, high beltline and short rear deck. Similar to the Audi Nuvolari, the A5 is built to fit in between the Audi A4 and A6 models as well as compete with the Mercedes Benz CLK class and the BMW 6 Series sport coupes.

The A5 will be availible in both V6 and V8 versions, the same engines that are found on the A6 sedan and wagon. The 3.2 liter V6 engine will deliver arround 220 hp-255 hp, while the V8 engine will go up to 350 hp. Additionally, it is very likely to see an updated version of the A5 known as the RS5, that will be powered by an ultra powerful 420 horsepower engine.

The A5 will also be available with diesel engines: the four cylinder delivering arround 160 hp and the six cylinder TDIs delivering 170 and 250 hp.

Audi A5 Coupe

The top speed will be electronically limited to 155 mph and the 0 to 60 mph sprint it is expected to be made in 5.8 seconds.

Current Audis have their engines mounted ahead of the front axle centerline for packaging reasons, making the cars a bit nose-heavy. The A5 will have its V8 positioned directly above the front axle for much improved weight distribution. It also creates a shorter front overhang for the bodywork that, quite frankly, looks much sportier. Judging by his enthusiasm for the new engine placement, this will likely be the way all Audis are constructed in the future.

The new coupe will be offered with one of three transmissions - a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic or an updated version of the DSG gearbox.

As for the interior trim, it will be a mix of A6 and TT design cues.

Sales of the 2008 Audi A5 Coupe are expected to begin in Europe by the summer of 2007; it will arrive in the US market in the fall of the same year. A convertible version will follow in 2008.


Competitors

Mercedes CLK-Class

The appearance of the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class expresses the increased power of the extensively upgraded coupe and convertible. The redesigned front bumpers with their striking wedge shape and larger air intakes create a more dominant look, as does the modified radiator grille with three instead of the previously four louvers. In the future, the CLK’s AVANTGARDE equipment line will feature 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels as standard, while the ELEGANCE line will have nine-spoke alloy wheels (16-inch; 17-inch wheels for the CLK 320 CDI and up).

The newly developed 5.5-litre V8 engine boasts a peak torque of 530 Nm (outgoing model: 460 Nm), allowing the CLK-Class to deliver a virtuoso performance: the sprint from 0 to 60 mph takes just 5.2 seconds (outgoing model: 5.9 seconds), while the top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited). Despite the 26 per cent boost in power, NEDC combined fuel consumption remains at an impressive 11.4 - 11.5 l per 100 km, matching the excellent figure posted by the previous model.

Audi A5 Coupe

Mercedes-Benz has extended the six-cylinder line-up for the CLK-Class by adding the tried-and-trusted 2.6-litre V6, which develops 125 kW/170 hp and provides a maximum torque of 240 Nm at 4500 rpm. The CLK 320 remains unchanged in the line-up. And with good reason: the V6 power plant (160 kW/218 hp) is particularly well-suited to the new Mercedes Mercedes Cabriolet, since it delivers equally impressive performance during either sporty driving with high power output or more serene and relaxed driving at lower engine speeds. With 310 Nm of torque on tap from just 3000 rpm, the six-cylinder engine offers the very best of both worlds.

BMW M6

The new M6 makes yet another statement for BMW and BMW M: lighter and lower-built than the M5, possessed of an even sportier attitude. Customers will look at both, feel their preferences, make their choice. Either way, they get the full measure of BMW M’s performance capabilities and technological sophistication. In a comparison test of these two M masterpieces, Road & Track (February 2006) put it this way: “If you need space, the M5 is the one. For those who don’t, the M6 performs ever so slightly better according to the numbers.“

Once again, BMW M has blazed new trails in powertrain technology and performance. Model year 2000 saw a new V-8 engine for the then-current M5, a 5.0-liter unit developing 400 hp and thrusting that luxury sports sedan to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Then, in ‘01, M launched an inline 6-cylinder unit employing advanced low-mass valvetrain technology to achieve stunning high-rpm performance: With its “redline“ of 8000 rpm, this engine gave the new-generation M3 a nearly 100-hp increase from the former M3‘s 240 hp to 333 hp. This time, it’s M’s first V-10 engine for a roadgoing vehicle – introduced in the new M5 last fall and now powering the new M6 as well. In both models, it achieves essentially the same dramatic results.

Audi A5 Coupe

Current M engines do not employ the Valvetronic system now found in BMW’s regular-production V-8 and V-12 engines as well as the new N52 6-cylinder unit in the 3, 5 and Z4 Series. Though Valvetronic eliminates throttles and their throttling effect, it is not (yet) suitable for a very high-rpm engine like this. Instead, the V-10 employs a typical BMW BMW M valvetrain, with its 4 valves per cylinder actuated via “box-type” hydraulic lifters derived from racing practice. These are small, light and extremely rigid, as they must be for 8250 rpm; they are also specially shaped for efficient valve actuation, with an oblong cross-section (not round like bucket tappets), slightly curved contact surface and guiding tab to ensure a consistent position in their bores.


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