Audi has followed last week's leaked pictures fiasco by releasing official photos and information on its new full-sized coupe, the A5, ahead of schedule.There hasn’t been a proper four-seat Audi coupe since 1988, but Audi has just rectified that situation with this car. And there hasn’t been a serious performance four-seat Audi coupe since the original Quattro turbo ended production in 1991 – but now there will be an S5, complete with the S4’s 4.2-litre V8. You can see pictures of both in our gallery. The A5 is the Audi that will transform the brand's reputation for mediocre handling – or at least that’s what the firm’s engineers, who have developed the new A5, are hoping. Underneath the A5 lies a chassis and an engineering principle that will be used on the next A4, A6 and A8. The key is the way Audi’s engineers have moved the front axle as far forward as possible and the engine and gearbox as far back into the car as possible. The system is called MDS and Audi will be hoping it will address some of the criticisms of its cars dynamic ability. Weight distribution is vital to the success of the MDS platform. The car’s front differential is located in front of the clutch and the steering rack is low down and as close to the front axle line as possible.
The car’s exterior gives us a look at the appearance of the next A4 – think of it as an A4 coupe. The most distinctive feature is the wavy belt line that runs the length of the car, from the rear lights to the headlamps.The S5’s exterior is not dramatically different from the A5, with different front air intakes, alloy door mirror housings and quad tailpipes. There’s also a subtle rear boot spoiler and a set of sill covers. There’s an all-new interior, although the look is closely based on the A6’s layout. It’s a much less cluttered design that the current A4’s, and a lot of the functions have been assigned to the rotary MMI controller on the centre console. Again, expect to see this interior in the new A4 next year. The S5 interior gets S-badged instruments with grey dials and aluminium sill plates, although it doesn’t get the flat-bottomed wheel from the RS4. Trim options include carbonfibre, aluminium, stainless steel and wood.
There are will be two frugal diesel engine options to choose from. Top of the range is the 3.0-litre V6 TDi with 240bhp; there will also be a 190bhp 2.7-litre V6. Petrol engines include Audi’s 3.2 V6 with 265bhp and a new 170bhp, 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo with direct injection. The S5’s 4.2-litre V8 will appeal most to keen drivers. Lifted from the S4, the 354bhp unit gives the S5 a 0-62mph time of 5.1sec. On top of this, the S5 gets its own tuned suspension, with lowered, stiffened dampers and uprated brakes with black callipers. The ESP system can be deactivated in two stages to allow more driver control over the car’s behaviour.
The A5 and S5 will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show, and the first cars will be delivered to their owners in June. Prices are expected to start at around £25,000, rising to around £40,000 for the S5. And expect a cabriolet A5 to come sometime next year – we could see the first car at the Frankfurt Show in September.