Category: Audi

Faster, Sharper and More Performance: 2019 Audi R8

2019 Audi R8

Updated 2019 Audi R8

It’s safe to say that the Audi R8 is one of the prettiest cars on the road. It’s only ever improved as every new model and facelift has been released to the world. This stands true with the 2019 Audi R8 released just today. The updated V10 R8 is also now much closer to its motorsport siblings,  the R8 LMS GT3 and R8 LMS GT4, as it shares over 50% of parts from these track-bred machines.

Updated Audi R8

Design

One will instantly notice a much-improved design of the 2019 Audi R8, sharper lines and harsher edges give the updated R8 an even sportier and aggressive look. It looks nimble, fast and ruthless. In my personal opinion, it looks fantastic and is a great evolution from the previous model.

Updated Audi R8 front

Three exterior packages are available for customers of the new R8. These engine variant dependant packages add various highlights to the splitters and diffusers. If desired, the Audi badge can be specced in gloss black. There are also new paint colours in the range, Kemora Gray and Ascari Blue. 19″ wheels are standard, with ultralight 20″ rims available as an option.

Updated Audi R8 Interior

Engines

The 2019 Audi R8 still features the glorious 5.2-litre V10 motor, but now with more power. The standard model now produces 419kW and 550N.m, an increase of 22kW and 10Nm. The Audi R8 V10 performance model has a different tune, with 456kW and 580N.m on tap. This power increase results in a 0-100 km/h time of 3.1 seconds.

Updated Audi R8 Rear

Suspension

The suspension on the 2019 R8 has also undergone updates. The electromechanical power steering and optional dynamic steering has been tuned to provide more stability and precision when cornering. Depending on engine choice, three additional drive programs have been added to the drive select system. These modes are dry, wet and snow.

Updated Audi R8 V10

2019Audi R8 Pricing and Availability in South Africa.

Overall,  the 2019 R8 offers a better all-round package. It looks better and produces more power, so what’s not to love? The new models will go on sale throughout Europe in early 2019, we don’t know when they will arrive in South Africa just yet. let’s hope for later next year.

 

Audi Brand Experience Singapore

Audi Brand Experience

Audi Brand Experience Singapore 

If you asked me to describe the future of motoring in just a few sentences, EV and Autonomous driving would be my words of choice. Incidentally, these are two areas in the automotive industry in which Audi are spending plenty of time, research and money.

Audi invited us to the Audi Brand Experience, hosted in the fantastic city of Singapore, to get a closer look at new Audi products coming in the near future and those a little further away. You may not have noticed it, but it’s been a quiet year for Audi South Africa with little in the way of new product to the SA market. This is due to a bottleneck at manufacturer plants caused by new WLTP testing (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure). Also the unfortunate fact is that SA is currently not a key market.

However, 2019 will bring a wide range of new Audi product with facelifted A1 and Q3 models on their way, along with A6, A7, A8, Q8 and the highly anticipated, e-tron – Audi’s first all-electric vehicle.

Audi Brand Experience

 

Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo

As we arrived at the Audi Brand Experience, a wide range of current and future Audi vehicle’s were on display, and before the live show and presentation, we had the chance to browse the selection.   As a bunch of petrol heads naturally would, we migrated to the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo. Originally created for the actual game, this futuristic beauty was brought to life. Featuring 3 electric motors and 1-speed drive, the e-tron Gran Turismo produces 600kW (815bhp) and 990 Nm of torque. This results in a 0-100km/h time of 2.5 seconds.

Audi e-tron vision gran turismo

Audi AICON

Another eye-catcher was the Audi AICON. A level 5 autonomous, completely electric concept car. With futuristic front and rear lighting, as well as a smooth bubble design with large doors opening into a cabin that more resembles a German home. This was definitely one of those “distant future” kind of vehicles. Even so, it was remarkably striking and I found myself staring probably a little too much. Those lovely swivel seats were so inviting, however to make it into the cabin I would of needed to take on the very, let’s say strict, German lady who seemed to be playing the role of engineer and security – I didn’t fancy my chances.

Audi AICON Rear

Audi AICON Inside

2019 Vehicles

The live show presented to us vehicles throughout the Audi range. More importantly, new sedan models – A6, A7 ,A8 and then Q8, E-Tron and Elaine. Audi SA have not predicted too many sales for the new sedans, they have never been huge sellers in SA and many drivers are moving towards the SUV market. Still, the new models looked great from both inside and out.

The A7’s running day lights really caught my eye and I thought they looked pretty special. We also tested out the Magic Carpet Contol System in the A8. A system which scans the road ahead for bumps/ uneven surfaces and adjusts the suspension on each wheel independently. We tried and tested this out on a raised platform, this wasn’t just a gimmick, it really did work and the results were fantastic. The A8 is also level 3 semi-autonomous, which none of the A8’s direct competitors have yet managed.

Audi Q8

To really get a sense  of a vehicles size and presence, sometimes you need to get up close and personal. This was the case for me with regards to the Audi Q8. Strong, sporty and substantial are words I would use to describe Audi’s flagship SUV. I’ve seen plenty of images before, but it looked so much better in the flesh. Strong, sharp lines will really give it presence on the road, whilst the interior features Audi’s new tech with upper and lower screens located in the centre console for control of vehicle functions. There seemed to be plenty of space all round as well.

I have a feeling the Q8 will do extremely well in South Africa as it has been doing overseas. We can expect the Audi Q8 to arrive in South Africa around quarter 2.  There will be two engines available. The Q8 55, which is a 3.0 V6 TFSI and will produce 250 kW. Whilst the Q8 45  is the 3.0 TDI variant producing 183 kW.

Audi Q8

Time to get electric  

If you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t notice the e-tron was an all electric vehicle.  Audi have decided to keep the design very similar to its current design language across the Q range. It’s much bigger and has more presence than I anticipated after seeing images. In terms of size, it’s bigger than the Q5 but smaller than the Q7.  The closed front grille emphasises it’s electric nature whilst the full-length rear light bar also gives it some uniqueness in the range.  A car like the e-tron justifies its own article, you can continue reading here:

Audi Elaine

If you asked to describe what Elaine is, I would say it’s the halfway point between the e-tron and the AICON. It’s Sports Activity Coupe’s nature and cool styling gives off a fun and funky ora. Elaine is also fully electric and focuses on adapting itself to the drivers’ behavioural patterns and reliving the driver of as many inputs as possible. She’s Level 4 autonomous which means unlike the AICON, it still has a steering wheel. I hope if or when Elaine makes it into production, Audi stick as closey as possible to the design and awesome use of LED lighting.

Audi Elaine

 

Overview

All in all, our Audi brand experience in Singapore was fantastic.  As petrol heads, it’s pretty difficult not to enjoy a car show, however it’s great to get up-close and personal and experience future product coming in 2019. The show also gave us a much deeper insight into how important Audi is taking EV, there statement after all is “ Electric has gone Audi”. While many brands are dabbling in electric and hybrid, Audi are committing to a future cause. They are not only looking at the near future, but also the distant future and are putting the work in now to be leaders in this field.

Audi e-tron: Audi’s first production electric vehicle.

Audi e-tron

The Audi e-tron is coming to South Africa.

You’ve probably heard about the Audi e-tron, if you haven’t, it’s not the name of a spaceship, or your best friends dog. Rather it’s Audi’s production ready, first EV vehicle. There has been big press around this vehicle over the past few weeks, with international press already driving the vehicle. We headed with Audi South Africa to Singapore for the Audi Brand Experience. Here we had a chance to get up close and personal with many of the new vehicles coming to SA in 2019- Including the e-tron.

Audi e-tron

Design and size

Surprisingly to many, the e-tron’s design doesn’t fledge far away from the design language of current Q models. It’s bold, features sharp lines and a new rear light setup similar to that of the Q8. One will instantly notice the closed-off grille, which is one of a few unique design features which allow you to recognise it as an electric Audi. e-tron is a meaty SUV and is similar in size when compared to the Q8, whilst being slightly smaller than the Q7. There is no mistaking that in the flesh this is one pretty vehicle.

Audi e-tron

Range

Times are changing, and soon, we will live in a time when you will no longer ask the guy next to you at the traffic lights how much power his vehicles produces but rather, “ How’s your range?” Yes the most asked and debated question when it comes to electric vehicles. Range, range, range.

Picture this, your heading to Durban from the concrete jungle for a long weekend of sun, surf and sand. You jump in your vehicle, setup the perfect playlist, buy snacks for bae, or the kids, or both, and head off down the N3 in wake of the coast. After an early start to beat the traffic, you’re now ready for the classic South African road trip meal – Wimpy. After a short but satisfying 30-minute stop in Harrismith, you jump back into your vehicle and finish off an easy run to Durban.  Sound like a dream? Not at all, this is a trip many have completed. Now imagine doing that in an electric vehicle, no I’m not delusional, e-tron makes it possible.

The e-tron’s range is impressive, 425km’s to be exact. Whilst you may be doing quick math and realising that roughly 200km’s less than you’d need for a trip like the above, you’re missing one very important factor- a 150kW fast charge system.  In just 30 minutes or the amount of time it takes you to finish a Dagwood sandwich and supreme size chocolate milkshake, your Audi e-tron will be charged to at least 80% capacity.  Range anxiety will no longer become a factor. Furthermore, these charging facilities are due to be installed in Harrismith, and eventually all around the country. Making trips like this a reality.

Normal but not so normal

There is a stereotype when it comes to EV vehicles because various concept cars have shown them to be these futuristic tech-laden machines. In reality, the e-tron is very normal. For the most part, it follows Audi’s design language and looks like an Audi. It features Audi’s new cockpit which features an upper and lower screen in the centre console. This is much like the Q8 and other new models going forward. It also has more space in the rear thanks to the removal of the transmission tunnel. All in all, it’s very normal, and I really like that about the Audi e-tron.

Audi e-tron rear

Having said this, when you look closely it may be less normal than you think. There are some very cool pieces of tech in this vehicle and one of them is Audi’s side mirrors or lack of them. The Audi e-tron doesn’t feature standard wing mirrors. Rather virtual mirrors in the form of a slim bar which features a live camera. This image is then displayed on the inside of each door. It’s a world first and helps massively with efficiency and well, looks damn cool. There are other world firsts as well, such as the electrohydraulic brake control system which in conjunction with the electric motors, provides braking while also regenerating the electric battery. So while from the exterior it looks pretty normal, there is plenty of fancy tech working hard under the body.

Audi e-tron back

Audi e-tron pricing in South Africa and Arrival

 Audi e-tron is planned for arrival in South Africa during Q3 of 2019. We have no pricing at this stage, however, the vehicle will retail for 80,000 euros in Germany. We don’t know what the currency will be doing next year, but this does give us a rough estimation.

Learn more and register your interest here.

Audi Sport Launch – A day with the RS3, RS5 and TTRS

New Audi RS5

Audi Sport Launch in South Africa

When a launch comprises of three different vehicles, all of which produce over 290kW and reach 100km/h just over 4 seconds, one tends to give off a childlike giggle. As car enthusiasts, these type of days don’t come around often – contrary to popular belief, but when they do, we get excited.

The Audi Sport launch in Cape Town put us behind the wheel of three Audi RS models. The facelifted RS3 Sportback and sedan, the aggressive TTRS and a car which many have been waiting for – the new Audi RS5.

Starting a Monday morning on a red-eye flight out of Durban is something I dread, but even with just a few hours of sleep the night before, my mind was buzzing because of what lay ahead. Upon arriving, a beautiful array of vehicles were set before us, like a lovely high-performance buffet. I must say, Audi’s RS colour pallet is something I’m fond of. While many may be put off by a bright yellow or a bold green, 0-100 km/h in three point something seconds just doesn’t justify black or white in my opinion.

On that point, Francisco and I jumped into a Sonoma Green RS5 and headed to a small airfield where some petrol headed antics awaited us. Initially, the new RS5 gave me an impression of a slightly beefed up S5. Even so, it made one hell of a sound and went like the clappers. The Quattro system gives the car a softer edge. It certainly doesn’t feel as aggressive as a BMW M4, but with power figures of 331kW and 600Nm it did give us something to think about. How does the new Audi RS5 compare to its biggest rival, the BMW M4 and Mercedes’ C63? Francisco goes into detail on that very subject here.

Nothing gets grown men worked up like a gymkhana challenge and that’s exactly what we were going to do in all these RS’s. Before that, a quick chat and interview with Audi Sport racing driver Kelvin van der Linde and DTM driver Mattias Ekstrom kept us entertained as war stories were told. Hearing these stories inspired most of us, as we prepared to tame the gymkhana styled time trial and the 200m drag race. Cue the childlike giggles once again.

First in order for us was the drag races and after having our fun with like for like models, we decided to pitch the Audi RS3 up against the new Audi RS5. What happened next caught our attention. The RS5 simply had better off the line traction each time and won most of the time, This didn’t stop the underdog RS3 from sticking to its coattails however and at times even closing the gap.

There is no doubt about it, the new Audi RS3 is an absolute weapon. It features a power increase of 24kW over the previous model, bringing the total output to 294kW from a new 2.5l five-cylinder engine. This now makes it the most powerful production five-cylinder engine on the market. It’s also transversely mounted, weighs 24 kg less and sounds as good as ever thanks to the unique 1-2-4-5-3 firing order.

Next, we each had the chance to set a time in each of the vehicles around the Gymkhana styled time trial. This consisted of slaloms, hairpins, a chicane, all ending with a high-speed breaking challenge, which required us to stop in a box. As much fun as this was, this allowed us to experience the dynamic ability of each car and quite frankly, the TTRS took the cake here. Stepping inside the racing styled cockpit was enough to make you go faster, but its lightweight agile chassis and ridiculous power from the same five-cylinder engine featured in the RS3, definitely helped. I was never a huge fan of the TT, perhaps due to my “younger” days when the previous generation was known as a “hairdressers” car. I now look at the new  TTRS with newly found respect. One would need to be a bloody good hairdresser to afford one of these.

After our fun and games at the track, we headed out to drive the cars where most would experience them, the road. It’s pretty obvious to all that these cars are pretty quick, but the realisation of how fast they really are becomes a reality when driving them on tight roads instead of wide open spaces. All three vehicles feature 0-100 km/h times of just under or just over 4 seconds. The RS3 has an official time from Audi of 4.1 seconds, but it’s broken the 4 second barrier in local other tests. These aren’t supercars either and it raises the question of how much faster are cars going to get? Due to advances in technology and smart all-wheel drive systems, these cars can all be enjoyed and experienced fairly safely, by drivers who probably aren’t highly skilled.  A great deal of self-control is needed to not to boot it on every journey, because the sheer acceleration and noise from these cars is pure delight. This is especially the case in the RS5, which gives you the right blend of comfort and speed. If you’re not careful you find yourself aimlessly chasing the next gear, the next engine blip and the next corner. in terms of everyday performance, these are fantastic drivers cars.

The RS3 exudes a young, hooligan, supercar disrupter type of feel. This would be my pick of the bunch, in Sportback guise. Each RS model offers something unique and exciting. Audi Sport have really done well with these new models. It’s evident that Audi are on a mission to break stereotypes and we are excited to see what comes of the next 12 months.

Audi Sport Pricing in South Africa

Audi RS5: R1 285 500

Audi TTRS: R963 000

Audi RS3 Sedan: R 925,500

Audi RS3 Sportback: R 895,500

New Audi RS5 First drive: Better than the competition?

New Audi RS5 First Drive

“Let it not be a disappointment, let it not be a disappointment” was the phrase going through most of our minds when we first laid eyes on the new RS5 at the recent Audi Sport media launch. The previous one simply didn’t live up to the extremely high standards that the B7 RS4 set. Compared to the C63 coupe and M3 of that time, it didn’t capture us the same way the competition did. The likes of BMW and Mercedes AMG haven’t made it any easier for the new RS5, with their current weapons of mass destruction. The C63 is the muscle car of the segment with its boisterous V8 BiTurbo, whilst the M4 is a precise track tool. Where then does this new RS5 fit in?

Aesthetically, it’s right up there. Oddly enough, in a normal colour with non-glossy wheels you can easily mistake it for an S5. However, throw in a loud colour, the glossy bits and the extra special shiny aluminum 20 inch wheels and you’ve got a knuckle bitingly beautiful car. The interior also makes you feel like you work very hard for your money. It’s plush, luxurious yet understated. Overall, just looking at the car would make any potential M4 and C63 coupe buyer think twice.

Starting the car gives you a welcome V6 growl from its 2.9 litre bi-turbo. It’s not very loud but loud enough to make passersby look. The exhaust note of the RS5 almost sets the tone for the persona of this car. It can be likened it to a smooth-talking individual, who is more about action instead of just talk. A claimed 0 – 100 time of 3.9 seconds is a whole lot of action and you would expect it to explode your senses when you put your foot down. It doesn’t though strangely enough. We’re so used to the theatrics from the BMW and Mercedes – which scamper and squirm off the line due to immense torque being presented the rear wheels very quickly. The RS5 doesn’t do that, it caresses you to illegal speeds, allowing you to keep your coffee intact as you zoom into the land of the detained. Was I disappointed? Initially, I wanted more. More drama, more playfulness, more edge of your seat kind of stuff. But no, instead I was given comfort, refinement and a sweet sounding V6 with enough torque on tap to not even warrant a downshift, when I needed to move a slower driver. Is that it then? A nicer looking S5 with more power? Surely there must be more to this car.

Dutoitskloof pass in Cape Town is a lovely stretch of road that allows you to get a feel of a vehicles capabilities. This pass was the RS5’s saving grace in my opinion, as it showed us its unique appeal – accessibility. In this segment, there’s “power” and then there’s “accessible power”. The BMW M4 and Mercedes AMG C63 have got immense power, but I could put money on the table that most of those vehicles drivers only access around 60-70% of that power in situations that allow for it, especially around corners. Put your foot down in the aforementioned cars and you’re met with the infamous traction control light, which reminds you that it’s keeping you alive. Powering out of corners and it’s the same thing, the traction control light is flickering away, keeping the car from oversteering. Of course, if you’re that way inclined, you’ll switch the systems off and manage everything on your own. If that’s your thing, this article is not for you. If not and you simply want “point and squirt” performance, read on.

The RS5’s ability of allowing the driver to drive the wheels off it with little drama is unmatched in this segment. This is simply because of its 4WD setup. If you’re not a knob and you respect the fact that almost all cars with this setup will understeer should you come into a corner too fast, you’ll love it. “Slow in, fast out” is the age-old recipe for an enjoyable RS5 experience, follow that rule and you’re set. In my layman hands, I felt that I could extract everything I wanted to out of the car, within my limits. No drama, just simple straightforward performance, all 331kW 600N.m of it. Steering felt good too, not extremely intuitive but enough for me to place the front end where I wanted, and exit out of corners with ease.

New Audi RS5

When it’s all done, put the car back in Comfort and continue your conversation as if nothing happened. It was after this that I realized what the new RS5 was about. It’s a great road car first and a stellar performance car second. It plays both fields very well, better than the competition to be honest. Where the Bimmer and Merc are more visceral, it’s more liveable, which is what many people want. Before considering any of the cars in this segment, you need to understand what you want from the car. You want to shred tyres? Then the RS5 is not for you. You want an excellent all-rounder? Then there’s something for you here. I’m just happy to report that the new RS5 is not a disappointment. When spending over R1 million rand in this league, you’ll buy what you like at the end of the day and in this segment, all of the cars are very good at what they do. Can’t I just have them all?

Audi RS5 Pricing in South Africa

The Audi RS 5 Coupé is priced at R1 285 500, standard with the 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.

The South African Motoring Experience 2017

South African Motoring Experience 2017

 TheMotorist Attends the South African Motoring Experience 2017

Following a turn-out of 51 000 patrons last year, Kyalami Proves year and year again to be the hub of all motoring shenanigans. 2017’s Festival was different to the years past given the strange partnership with a Boat show, which was ‘same, same but different’; although it was the Motoring Experience S opposed to the Festival of Motoring, which only takes place every second year. Nevertheless, the boats were still a very popular attraction and reminded many that boats are rather cool. The largest attraction without a doubt was the Pit Lane, test drives and ride alongs which allowed for anyone off the street to have either the experience of driving some of their favourite cars on the track or have the trained drivers hurl them around at breakneck speeds. Unsurprisingly the waits were long and plentiful but warranted by the smiles on hundreds of faces afterwards, suggesting that this was all worth it.

South African Motoring Experience 2017

Personally, the long quest for smiles proved a bit too daunting and I opted for a ride in the more exclusive stuff that I hadn’t yet sampled namely the Lexus LC 500 on a track which was a rather enlightening experience with the GT being a lot less luxury cruiser and more Apex bruiser on the track. The space in the rear was not amazing and more so when you have a racing driver attacking Sunset Corner at 180km/h plus and your face feels like it’s coming off, and knees rather numb. The was the usual mix of V8 Jags and Range Rovers, AMG Merc’s, fast VW’s and RS Audi’s to sample around the track but no BMW – partly due large to their own exclusive M Festival next month and the presence of new faces to the festival’s Pit area. The likes of Suzuki, BAIC, Haval and even Peugeot’s 3008 SUV were taking to the track, all of whom offering the chance to sample a track driving experience and most importantly for the manufacturer, a chance to drive their latest products.  Having again sampled the larger portion of their offerings, the three the stand out model for me by-in-large the Haval H6 and H6C, which for a Chinese entry into the market is really impressive, good road manners, good power and even when kicked around on a track still proved well put together with no rattles or squeaks to my nit-picking ears.  Another surprise was the debut of the BAIC X25, which again drove rather well, and this was a view few shared me and the drivers. There was a fair amount of shove from the 85 kW-1.5 Litre engine, enough to make the drive fun enough on track but again I was surprised at the level of refinement, both in the chassis and in the interior, proving that the Chinese are most defiantly upping their game in terms of vehicle manufacturing.

Moving around the festival, there was much to see from all the manufacturers; interactive experiences of active safety systems, tandem attacks at the Skid pan and even Aerobatics stunts from the very loud Puma Energy stunt planes. Cell C’s Supercar Zone was another clear favourite with the presence of a rather young looking man in a suit with the keys to Aston’s DB11 and a Malaren 570S. The Suited Youth would turn them on and allow for rev’s and pictures in the machines, much to the approval of the crowd. In the same room was Bentley’s new Continental GT Speed, an Aventador S, and and  R8 V10 Sypder, all in bright colours aside from the black 911 Turbo hidden in the corner.

4X4 Fans were not forgotten as a short shuttle ride took you to the mud and dust where the diff locks and hill descent controls were more important. Providing an in-depth look into the more slow paced stuff, where speed is not the objective. On showcase was the New Pajero Sport, which was highly capable on the track and yet still rather well appointed and less rudimentary than the previous models. With striking looks and very clear off-road ability and comfort, it’s an interesting alternative to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest.  The 4×4 track was rather tricky and difficult with all kinds of grip testing and axle twisting stuff and the likes of the VW Amarok V6, Nissan Navara and the G range of Mercedes-Benz SUV’s, with the exclusion of the tamer GLC and GLA. The Renault Duster made an appearance and proved it’s not as soft as one would think but lacking in low-range and hill-descent control, and instead of a very skillfully footed instructor and a slightly different track with only the Plucky little Suzuki Jimny keeping up with the behemoths that were the double cabs and Diff-look toting SUV’s.

In the various rooms and looking points, the list of exotic cars and classics that we saw last year was not as extensive with no ‘Porsche Room’ and 918’s just a hall with exhibitors trying to sell you car related stuff at inflated prices, like an Automotive rand show, well I thought this until I saw a few classic Ferrari’s Like the 264 Gt Dino and older brother 308 GT4. Race 1 brought a large collection of wide-body super and hyper-cars, but overall internally not as great as 2016.  

Overall, this year’s festival as a day out in the sun with the family or as the group of enthusiasts is an ideal way of spending your day if you like keeping up to date with the trends of the motoring world. I wouldn’t miss it at all but as always, the rather lengthy queues in the pits, even from as early as 10 am, do mean you must be rather patient if you want a ride around the track but for the experience, it’s difficult to rival. If I was to break it down in terms of highlights, low lights and a numerical rating out of 10, it would be simple, The KIA Stinger 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 coupe on the track and the ever developing Chinese were standouts for me, as were the dynamics of the X25 BIAC and H6 Haval and 2018 Nissan 370Z which is rather dated but still quick. The Lengthy queues and pricey vendors of refreshments no so much but forgivable, overall a solid 8 from The Motorist.

The next event will be the BMW M Festival in October and we’ll most definitely be there, providing the ins and outs to the happenings of the day.   

BMW 440i vs Audi S5 – Decisions decisions.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

BMW 440i vs Audi S5

Do you have a R1million to spend on a coupe? Are you torn between a BMW 440i or an Audi S5? Well, you’re in good hands, TheMotorist is here to help you decide…

If only things worked like that. You read an article online. You make your mind up and off you go into either an Audi or BMW dealership and you drive away as the sales team cheers you off. Firstly, sales people don’t cheer you off, by the time you’ve driven off they’re just super glad they don’t have to talk about discounts with you anymore. I digress. The truth is, if you’re going to spend R1 million, you kind of know what you want. Right? Also, we all have preferences – so if you’re an Audi guy, get the S5 and if you like Beemers, give them a ring. What we want to do in this article is objectively compare the two models and see what comes out on top. So first and foremost, the looks.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Who’s the fairest of them all?  

The 4 Series is a hit in SA. Everywhere you go people are driving these things. The problem we have with the 4 Series is that besides the amount of exhausts you have and the badge in the rear, they all look the same. Obviously, you have different model lines to choose from, but we wish the 440i had something about it that says, “I’m a 440i, not a 420i!!!”. Don’t tell me the two large exhausts are the differentiator because non-car people won’t even notice that. The S5 at least has different outside trimmings compared to the standard S Line models, so you can notice a slight difference. Again, it’s not huge because Audi loves to keep things low-key but you do have four exhaust pipes on the S5. So there’s that. The interiors on both cars are top notch, but the S5 has nicer seats and the BMW has a nicer dashboard. The S5 does have Apple CarPlay so that’s a big win, but BMW’s infotainment system also works really well. Whatever you do in both cars, you always need to go for the higher spec sound system. Audi calls it 3D surround and BMW has Harman Kardon.

The engines:

The only reason why you’d be buying either an S5 or a 440i is because your co-worker has a lesser model and you want to show them who’s boss, no? Either that or you’re a petrol head and fancy yourself some speed. This is the trickiest part between choosing between these two cars because both have SUCH nice engines. The Audi sounds nicer since it’s a 3.0 V6, but BMW’s new in-line 3.0 6 cylinder “B58” is the Greek yogurt of the range, so pure and creamy. Both cars feel just as fast and understandably so as you get 240kW in the 440i and 260kW in the S5. The BMW may have less power, but you’d have to be mad woke to notice a real difference. Where the difference comes in, is the drivetrain setup.

Quattro VS RWD:

The age-old debate between 4WD and RWD is a long standing one. We all love a good “slidey” RWD car but ask yourself, when am I going to do big slides in my car? If drifting is a concern, then the 440i is the obvious choice. But answer me this, do you attend many track days? Do you have access to an airfield? Do you have an endless budget for tyres? If you answered no to two of those questions, then RWD vs 4WD shouldn’t be your concern. “But don’t Quattro’s understeer?” You may wonder. Anything understeers if you come into a corner too quickly. The fact is that both the S5 and the 440i handle beautifully on regular roads and twisty ones, the average person will enjoy both cars at speed.

BMW 440i vs Audi S5

So, what’s the best then?

Again, both packages are very good indeed. The Audi wins when you’re sitting inside the car, but the BMW looks better on the outside. The Audi sounds better and has one hell of an engine, but the BMW’s engine is just as good. Money talks and this is where most decisions are made. The S5 will cost you R928 000 whereas the 440i will cost you R864 976. Both those prices don’t include options but an approximate difference of R60 000 between the two is interesting. If you’re financing, it’s not going to be a huge difference, either way you’re in for a big installment. What would we take home? I hate to say it but the BMW 440i is our top pick and before you scream “We knew it!”, the decision is based largely on the following: It’s all good and well to buy a new car but a time will come when you need to get rid of it. This is where the BMW wins because it’s biggest disadvantage is also its biggest advantage. There are many 4 Series models on the roads so you may lose out on the exclusivity you’ll have in the S5, but there is a bigger demand for the 4 Series in the used market. This means that when the time comes for you to trade in your 4 Series, you’ll get a better trade in value over an S5, purely because of the demand. For that reason, we’d drive away in the BMW. Besides that, both cars are a very good match for each other.

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro released, but will it be available in South Africa?

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

Earlier this year, Audi released the Q2 in South Africa. It’s quite unique to the Audi range in terms of styling as it follows Audi’s new design language – a language which has not yet seemed to filter through entirely to other new models.

At launch, the Q2 was released with three engine choices, a 1.0-litre TFSI, 1.4-litre TFSI and the 2.0-litre TDI Quattro. These three variants were good options, unless you loved the Q2’s looks but yearned for something with a little more oomph in the drivetrain department.

If that is the case, then you will be pleased to know that Audi have announced the introduction of another drivetrain option for the Q2. This new variant will feature Audi’s well-known 2.0-litre TFSI motor, linked to the Quattro all wheel drive system. This new model will produce around 140 kW which results in a 0 – 100 km/h time of 6,5 seconds, making it the fastest Q2 model currently available.

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Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

The 2.0 TFSI variant can be specced as either S-Line or Edition #1 but don’t let this worry you just yet as we are unsure if this model will be available in South Africa. Audi SA have confirmed that they are evaluating the decision but as of yet, no word. This could be for a variety of reasons with one of them being price. South Africa has a unique market and with this new model costing anything from £30,000 (R524,800) for the S-Line and £36,000 (R629,770) for the Edition #1, it may just prove to be too expensive for the South African market.

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

From our side, we think the Audi Q2 is a vehicle which boasts a great design and a really nice  driving experience, albeit a little expensive. We would love to see a sportier variant available as it would really emphasize the Q2’s fun and sporty nature. Time will tell, keep in touch on social media for the latest news.

New Audi RS3 Hatch and Sedan Specs and Pricing

New Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 Specs and Pricing for South Africa

If there’s one thing that almost all car people can agree on, it’s that the hot-hatch is a brilliant invention. Take one practical family hatchback, add some poke, some coloured stitching here and a useless spoiler there and voila – you have the most sensible iteration of a performance car.

Then Audi comes along, and in true Vorsprung fashion, rewrites the rule book from cover to cover. The Audi RS2 was the original Super Hatch/wagon and in many ways, the spiritual successor to the RS3 with its gurgling 5-pot and grippy all-wheel-drive system. Now, if you have never experienced this exceptional recipe, you can be guaranteed to drop an expletive or two when you launch and Audi RS hatch for the first time. The acceleration is just brutal and luckily that fact remains with the facelifted RS3 and new-to-the-range RS3 Sedan. That’s right, you can now have a super-hot sedan version of the hatch.

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New Audi RS3 Sedan

Some visual tweaks here and there can be noticed but the biggest change is the additional 24 kW/15 N.m and massive 26 kg weight loss, thanks to major internal changes within the fabled 2.5-litre TFSI unit such as smaller crankshaft bearings and a hollow bored crankshaft. This should go a long way to improve the dynamics of the RS3 which was always considerably more understeery than its competitors, the BMW M2, Mercedes-AMG A45 and the Ford Focus RS.

Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit instrument binnacle is now available with slightly modified gamification for the RS models, shifting the rev-counter to the middle of the display. LED headlights and taillights are now standard for both the Sportback and Sedan.

New Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 Pricing in South Africa

The New Audi RS3 Sedan is already available at all Audi Sport dealerships in South Africa and the RS3 Sportback will be arriving on our shores in November with both models coming standard with Audi’s 5 year/100 000km Freeway Plan.

Audi RS3 Sportback: R895 500
Audi RS3 Sedan: R925 500

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We drive the new Audi Q5 & SQ5

Audi SQ5

New Audi Q5 & SQ5 Driven

I realise that I speak a lot about Sci-fi here but it’s for good reason. In my opinion, Sci-fi and in specific, its movies, give us snippets as to how life will be in the not too distant future. If you have watched the movie iRobot, you will know what I’m talking about. You see, in this movie, the hero (real life hero to yours truly) drives the fanciest Audi that drives itself, has a brain of its own and makes you want to jump thirty years into the future to sample the latest and greatest. The all-new Audi Q5 is a snippet of that future. An evolution rather than revolution in terms of design, this vehicle brings the latest in tech and design to Audi’s midsize SUV.

Audi Q5

When we landed in Cape Town, we were greeted by the typical June weather with a hint of sun here and there. After a short while at Cape Town International Airport, we headed for the picturesque Gansbaai in the Western Cape. The first vehicle we were acquainted with was the Q5 2.0 TFSI, producing 185 kW and 370 N.m from its petrol motor it seemed very eager to show off its new-found muscle from the Vorsprung gym. The cabin is nothing short of “Audi Spec” and showcases Audi’s continued strides in terms of build quality and materials used. Its simply sublime.

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Audi Q5

Carving our way through a grey and drizzle soaked Cape, as passenger, I decided to start playing with all the new toys and gimmicks. The new MMI system, still a bit confusing with the trackpad, makes the iRobot dream come alive-ish. What I keep on going on about is the cabin and the quality thereof. There is no doubt that you feel like you have achieved in life, surrounded by this well-kept launch spec cabin. The extras adorned on the TFSI model were many, but not enough to warrant a second mortgage on your home.

Audi Q5

The navigation system, which is married to the virtual cockpit, makes you fall in love. The directions are shown to you at binnacle height and the LED display is crisp, clear and doesn’t tire the eyes. I would have liked a change in colour scheme to suit the different driving modes, being Eco, Normal, Dynamic and Individual. Yes, I’m that guy!

Audi Q5

Halfway to the overnight destination, I found myself in the driver’s seat of the 2.0 TDI variant with 140 kW and a very healthy wave of torque to the tune of 400 N.m. Pair this to the famous Franschoek Pass and it makes for an entertaining drive. Steering, although too light for my taste, provides good communication as to what inputs the front axle needs when you first start throwing the Audi Q5 from apex to apex. The steering rack does feel very quick but you soon learn to modulate your inputs to place the vehicle where you want. To be very honest, this vehicle will never, with it’s natural driver such as the interior designer from Sandton or the Private Wealth Manager from Investec, throw it from mid S bend to apex like I did, but we needed to see what this new Quattro system is all about. This has changed considerably from the old system. While the old system was configured to be on the whole time, this system goes with the less is more option. What the new system does, called “Quattro on Demand”, is de-couple the rear axle when not in need and within 200 milliseconds, full Quattro can be activated which will give the familiar on rails feeling of yesteryear. Lean on the chassis and yes, it will understeer, as Audi have built this vehicle for the discerning driver and not for the “extract every split second” racing driver. We got to our overnight hotel, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, and the Q5 was well at home on the make shift rally circuit being the odd four kilometers of gravel, stones and mud. The vehicle felt very sure footed at speeds that would make the late Colin McRae proud and my co-driver sick to the stomach.

Audi SQ5

The next morning, nursing a post 30’s red wine headache courtesy of the kind Audi staff, I was let loose in the range topping SQ5. This vehicle is definitely built for the sportier wealth manager and thankfully, this variant sports a mighty 3.0 V6 TFSI Turbo petrol motor. The reason for Audi SA’s decision is simple. There is currently no diesel version of this vehicle so the Petrol will have to do. From start up, the silky-smooth motor, delivering 260 kW and 500 N.m, makes itself known and purrs away beckoning to be let loose through the rev range. The make shift rally track, now done in reverse direction, gave insight to the new dynamic direction that Audi is focused on. An oversteering Audi? Surely that wine wasn’t that good? It wasn’t, and the new steering from the rear was from the reworked Quattro System. See, for the SQ5, the Quattro is not the same but rather has a rear bias under normal driving and when driven enthusiastically, will call in the help of the front axle and even braking the inside wheels due to some clever electronic wizardry. Turn in is crisp, body roll is at a minimum and ride comfort is sublime thanks to the 45 profile tyres. This seems like a car to drop the kids off and take the back routes to work just for the sake of driving those few extra kilometers.

I handed over the SQ5 to my co-driver very reluctantly, and had to play DJ. This wasn’t the worst job to have as this SQ5 had the optional Bang & Olufsen sound system among some of the toys already mentioned.

Overall, the New Audi Q5 is a force to be reckoned with. Yes, its styling might not be wild or as provocative as we would have liked but look at the whole package and you can forgive the “facelift” appearance. The SQ5 left an impression on me though, and I would love to see what it will do against its natural rivals, the Mercedes GLC 43 and the upcoming BMW X3 M40i. The school run King. Who will take the crown? Bring on the Sci-Fi future.

Audi Q5 Pricing in South Africa

Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro S Tronic: R698,000

Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro S Tronic Sport: R748,000

Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro S Tronic: R747,500

Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro S Tronic Sport: R797,500

SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: R1,044,000

 

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