We spent time trying to figure out if the Audi S3 Sedan is as fast as a compact 4 door family hauler should be.
While Audi’s smaller RS derivatives have been renowned to include the shouty, all powerful 5 pot turbocharged motors, the more affordable boosted 4 cylinders shared with Volkswagen and paired to a quattro powertrain prove to be just as much fun for a more affordable price tag. Not only does the S3 bridge the gap between the mundane-to-drive A3 and the ludicrous RS3, but it’s less hardcore and therefore more usable.
While this may sound daft to read, not many people in the market for a purpose built supercar predator like the new RS3, made up predominantly of youngsters like me, have the finances to back up their preference. The 2021 model year RS3 is expected to cost north of R1,3 million while the S3 only starts at R810 000.
That’s not to say that the S3 is not a performance capable machine, in fact it’s power of 228kW and torque of 400Nm propel it to 0-100km/h in a time of only 4.8 seconds which can still snap at the heels of the big boys. If you are well versed with Audi products you may think this is a typo since the above specs are exactly the same as the previous model but they are not. Improvements have been made in the mid range when accelerating which give the torque a more linear delivery than before and enable the new derivative to complete the quarter mile fractionally quicker than the outgoing model despite being a bit heavier tipping the scales at 1464kg.
Once you engage dynamic mode and feel the motor deliver its full performance, this becomes completely prominent with torque consistently propelling the car forward all the way up to the redline. It is a fun car to drive enthusiastically, with the quattro system instilling vast amounts of confidence when behind the wheel – sometimes a little bit too much… Not only is cornering at speed in the realm of possibility, but any heartstopping split-second of oversteer is immediately corrected by the clever programming of the Haldex system.
This brings me onto my next point; steering. The dynamics of turning and accelerating give this sedan immense cornering capabilities. While the steering can admittedly feel a bit light and disconnected in Comfort, flipping the drive mode switch to Dynamic immediately remedies this. The lighter front end of the 4 cylinder over the RS models also makes slow cornering and low speed maneuverability much easier to live with.
For the majority of my duration with the S3, the drive mode was permanently engaged in Dynamic and despite this the suspension remained comfortable, compliments of damper control. The drivetrain was also smooth and the 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox produced prompt shifts without jerking the car along. The only downfall I found was the continually emptying petrol tank which can be expected when the addictive engine burbles on deceleration spur you on. The current exhaust setup is demure in comparison to the outgoing model, particularly with the soft limiter, but once going the induction noise resonates through the cabin and tingles the senses.
It’s not all good news as Audi have infused sound actuation through the speakers in an attempt to boost the engine noise. The subtle, fake 5 cylinder exhaust note at the top of the rev range makes the model attempt to be something it is not, no matter how good it sounds.
The rear bumper is also scattered with fake vents while only one intercooler vent is functional on the front bumper of the car while the other side is blanked off. It isn’t all bad news for the purists as there are four real exhaust pipes below the diffuser.
Keeping with the exterior, the updated model has sharpened up the previous design extensively with more aggressive headlights and vents dominating the front end. Aside from that and a few tweaks to the rear, their silhouettes are almost identical. Subjectively, the S3 looks streaks better than the awkwardly proportioned BMW M235i Gran Coupe and is probably on par with the squat Mercedes-Benz A35 Sedan. Where the largest update has been implemented is the interior, which feels more modern as opposed to the already outdated previous gen center console.
Premium is the dominating theme in the cabin where comfortable, supportive seats host the driver and pleasant looking and feeling materials dominate everything in front of the eye. For the first time, the infotainment screen has been integrated into the dashboard while Lamborghini inspired aircon vents flank the drivers display.
Much like the previous generation of S3 sedan, the driver and passenger seats have sufficient room all around but the sharp rake of the C pillar has limited the headroom for taller passengers in the second row of seats. To appease their potentially less comfortable journey, the driver can bestow the entertainment responsibility to the passengers in the back seats as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto screen mirroring can be done wirelessly.
The minimal center console features a minute extrusion which operates in a similar fashion to a traditional gearknob and is a hint to what we can expect in electric powered Audi’s in the near future. Despite looking foreign, it is easy to assimilate to although I found my hand would naturally reach much higher to engage with it from muscle memory. Despite some red stitching and an S logo, the interior still lacks the overall flair of a sporty sedan but not quite on the same level as being stuck in a Post Office in Berlin.
Since the first S3 model was introduced over 20 years ago, Audi has mastered the sporty premium compact market segment. While the RS model has capabilities to compete with modern day purpose built supercars and with price tags equally as mouthwatering, the S3 might be the better buy when it comes to a well balanced car with good suspension and performance. Its not too hardcore but remains fun enough to put a smile on your face every time you go for a drive.
Iconic is the appropriate word to describe the in-line 5 cylinder motor that has powered Audis benchmark cars for the better part of the last 40 years. Among its favorable characteristics, one of the more memorable is its deep resonance when the motor is at full throttle, especially when paired with a 1980 WRC archive film of a fire breathing Quattro on a rally special stage. Well, the popular compact sedan/hatch combo from the Ingolstadt manufacturer has undergone a generation change. Fortunately for the power hungry enthusiasts with a limited budget, it is retaining the iconic motor with a slight improvement in power and efficiency and beefed up looks!
The compact Audi offerings will share many similarities to their trailblazing forefather that forged a legacy in rallying, although somewhat tweaked. Equipped first and foremost with the familiar 2.5-liter TFSI motor which has won the “International Engine of the Year” award nine times in a row, mild performance improvements increase ratings to a maximum of 294 kW and 500Nm. As a bonus to this additional power, the exhaust system features a fully variable flap control system that supports intermediate positions which lets the 5 cylinder sing with less restraint.
This power and torque propels the four door, four ring, four wheel driven machine to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds – worthy of out-accelerating modern day supercars. The new RS3 has a maximum top speed of 290km/h in the RS Dynamic package which means it’s capable of keeping up with the aforementioned supercars too. All of these stats make the new model class leading in terms of top speed and acceleration.
Transferring the power to all four wheels is a fairly standard 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. However the rear axle differential is replaced with a standard-equipped RS torque splitter which optimally distributes power along the rear axle which improves cornering grip and traction. This also allows the RS3 to engage a rubber destroying drift mode for the hoonigans out there.
Speaking of tyres, the novel innovation found in the RS performance mode included in the model is created specifically for the racetrack. Changing the engine and transmission characteristics to be tailor suited to semi-slick tyres – a factory option first time. This really is shaping up to be a racecar for the road!
The exterior aesthetics are expected, continuing the silhouette of the outgoing model and very subtle changes to the styling – this is still easily comparable to its predecessor in other words. What does stand out for this model is the lighting, something Audi always has a pioneering preference for. The most significant are the daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals which are programmed to present the RS3 lettering and a chequered flag as a dynamic leaving and coming home scene. Superior matrix LED headlights are available as an option for greater illuminative clarity.
The significantly different design feature from the outgoing model is the air outlet element behind the widened front wheel arches – Audi Quattro much?! This is done to help accommodate the 33mm wider front axle track to the previous model. Within those arches are 19-inch wheels while a six piston steel or ceramic brake system is protected within the confines of the spokes.
Sebastian Grams, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH states that “They represent the entry point into our RS world and are premium sports cars that are suitable for everyday use and equally thrilling to drive on public roads and racetracks”
While both sedan and sportback are already selling in Europe, Mzanzi will receive both derivatives in the second half of 2022. With a price tag of €60 000 for the Sportback and €62 000 for the sedan, South Africans could be expected to pay anywhere north of R1,2 million to get behind the wheel of one. While Audi may no longer be winning on rally stages, the RS3 should continue to be a winning formula for sales numbers into the RS world.
the arena with a whopping 15 new models! We see how they stack up
You’re thinking to yourself times are tough, right? Here we are giving you a buyer’s guide on vehicles that cost the equivalent of houses in upmarket areas. You must be thinking we’ve gone nuts? Well, no. In reality, it’s you that are the ones that have gone nuts!
South Africans have quite a sizeable appetite for performance cars – we often account for large percentages of manufacturers performance brands global sales. We have every M derivative from BMW; the same from Mercedes-AMG and now of course Audi Sport has joined the party.
They are a bit late to the party, to be quite honest. Some models mentioned below have been on sale in global markets for a few years now while others will only arrive later on in the year. Audi South Africa says homologation issues and a supply chain backlog caused by Covid-19 was the reason for this delay.
We are a
unique market and other countries around the world don’t have the pleasure of
experiencing the breadth of performance cars that we do. Imagine being a
petrolhead in Sweden? Shame! So, let’s ignore their tardy entrance and focus on
what’s on offer:
Audi RS Q3/ RS Q3 Sportback
The most affordable offering here and likely to be a top seller for the Ingolstadt brand. The RS Q3 comes in two body styles, including a Sportback version if less head room is your thing. Powered by the familiar 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine producing 294kW and 480Nm with 100km/h sprint time of 4.5 seconds, the new RS Q3 should prove to be ferocious machine.
else can you park your money? Well, Mercedes-AMG are yet to offer the GLA 45 to
our market, so like-for-like competitors will be the BMW X2 M35i which serves
up 225kW and 450Nm. Although it is down on power, it is also a bit cheaper
retailing for R929 400 as opposed to the Audi’s base price R1 094,
000. Add another R30 000 to get into the Sportback version.
On the opposite end of the scale, you have the Porsche Macan S, which comes with a lovely V6 engine producing 260kW and 480Nm. But it does start at R1 250 000 so pound-for-pound, it seems the RS Q3 represents good value for money.
Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster
If you want
all of that fire-breathing goodness of the RS Q3 but in a hunkered-down, coupe
body style, then TT RS is the one for you!
Utilizing the exact same engine as the RS Q3, the TT RS can sprint to 100km/h in just a mere 3.7 seconds! It’s often referred to as the ‘Supercar Slayer’ and you can see why! Although, the convertible will achieve that same time 0.2 seconds slower.
The TT RS
retails for roughly the same amount of money as the RS Q3 and produces
identical power and torque figures. It is worth noting that the TT RS makes use
of 7-speed-tiptronic gearbox while the RS Q3 gets a S tronic with the same
number of gears.
This is a
tough segment to be competing in. Enemy number one is the BMW M2 Competition
which has a retail sticker of R1 139 464 and produces a whopping
302kW and 550Nm (8kw/70Nm more) and is rear wheel driven. Because of that, it
can’t beat the Audi with its all-wheel drive system to 100km/h, coming in 0.5
seconds slower at 4.2 seconds.
also consider a Mercedes-AMG A45 S, which retails for R1 156 840 and
has a mightily impressive 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Figures are
eye-watering at 310kW and 500Nm for such a small powerplant. But if you’re
looking for the fastest sprinter, then TT RS is still quicker with the Mercedes
getting across the line in a close 3.9 seconds.
Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback
on the topic of coupes, the updated RS 5 Coupe and Sportback have finally
touched down. These models are just mid-life refreshes (likewise for the TT
RS), so don’t expect significant changes. You still have the familiar 3.0-litre
V6 churning out 331kW and 600Nm with a highly respectable 100km/h dash in 3.9
seconds. Minor exterior changes have made the RS 5 more aggressive while you
can also expect some tech updates on the inside.
retails for just a smidge under the R1.4 million mark, while the 4-door
Sportback is just slightly over that amount.
Audi’s chief rivals from Munich and Stuttgart come in at almost R2 million for their M3/M4 and C63 respectively, so they’re out of the equation. A left-field contender could be the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio which comes with almost the same sticker price but 44kw more power at 375kW and 600Nm. It is a tough sell considering their embattled reputation in the country but take nothing away from an outstanding product!
For another left-field contender, we can look to Porsche again and this time their 718 Cayman GTS 4.0. It is almost R100k more expensive and can’t compete in the power stakes, only offering up 294kW and 430Nm, but it does offer a completely different driving experience and you’re sure to get the same, if not more thrills than the Audi.
Audi RS 4 Avant
start with thanking Audi for continuing to bring in these beloved but neglected
cars. The steer towards SUVs will always mean that station wagons will remain a
niche segment, but one that Audi has full control over.
The RS 4
Avant carries over the same engine as the RS 5, so power and torque figures are
identical. The additional weight at the rear means that the sprint time has
been cut down by 0.2 seconds to 4.1 seconds.
is just an updated model so there isn’t much to talk about in terms major
changes – just small updates that bring it into line with other Audi models.
So then, where else should you park your R1.3 million? Well, nowhere else really because there are no natural competitors in our market for the RS 4 Avant. So instead, we’ll just amiably ask that you go out and buy one so Audi can make a business case to continue bringing them in. Please!
Audi RS 6 Avant
This is the
big daddy station wagon, and rearing its head over the R2 million mark, it
certainly should be. The RS 6 Avant ditches the V6 of its lesser sibling and
upgrades to a mighty V8. 441kW and 800Nm is nothing to sneeze at, in fact this
all-encompassing family runabout can get you to 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds. While
22-inch rims and the optional carbon ceramic brakes should do a good job in making
sure you can stop equally as fast.
only one natural competitor to the RS 6 Avant and that’s the Porsche Panamera
Sport Turismo. However, in order to get into the V8 model, you’ll have to opt
for the GTS which retails for a hefty R2.4 million and there’s quite a power
shortage with 353kW and 620Nm on top. To get near the RS 6 Avant’s power
figures, you’ll have to opt Turbo S model which is almost another R1 million on
top of the price of the GTS.
to win another round of value for money!
Audi RS 7 Sportback
not a fan of station wagons, which it seems many of you sadly aren’t, then the swoopier,
coupe-like RS 7 Sportback is for you. Identical to the RS 6 Avant in most
aspects apart from looks but it will cost you an extra R100k, with a sum total of
you prefer a sedan or station wagon, both are jaw-droppingly beautiful. This is
probably Audi’s best effort yet in the styling department, and that’s a big
statement seeming they’ve produced a few lookers in their current stable.
Buyers in this segment do have a few choices, you can look at Porsche again with their Panamera, but I think the RS 7’s biggest rival will be the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe. At almost the exact same starting price, the M850i is down on power in comparison to the Audi, with 390kW and 750Nm in comparison to 441kW and 800Nm. The more closely matched competitor in terms of power is the M8 Competition but that sits at a healthy R3.4 million. Ouch!
It’s the same story over at Mercedes-Benz. If you want a V8 model, then you have to opt for AMG GT63 S 4 Door, which has the same price as the BMW M8 Competition but it does produce a lot more power at 470kW and 900Nm. More in line with the RS 7’s pricing is the AMG GT53 4 Door, which utilizes a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder with electric support. Figures of 336kW and 520Nm are well short of the Audi.
V8 power for V6 money – good job, Audi!
This is Audi’s
answer to the perennial Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. The A8 does
live in the shadows of the other two but Audi hopes to change that with a suite
of systems that should rival the best. Dynamic all-wheel steering, predictive
active suspension management and a Quattro system with a sport differential should
mean the new S8 will be enjoyable and luxurious. This is another Audi packing
V8 power and 420kW and 800Nm should be more than handy!
We mentioned the two chief rivals earlier to the S8 so let’s start with the one everybody seems to love. Mercedes-Benz have yet to officially launch the new S-Class that debuted internationally last year, but we do have some figures. For the time being, we will be getting the S400d and S500 with both models falling between the R2.4 million mark. You only have the choice of a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder producing 336kW and 520Nm for S500 and 243kW and 700Nm for the oil-burner.
BMW has a
variety of options in their 7 Series range, from a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder all the
way up to a 6.6-litre V12! Best snag one of those before they’re all gone!
The 750Li xDrive
would be the Audi’s closest competitor in terms of price with a 4.4-litre V8
and costing R2.5 million, but there is a significant power difference (I sound
like I’m stuck on repeat) with outputs of 390kW and 750Nm.
Audi SQ 7
The Q7 went under the knife last year which saw mild styling tweaks on the exterior and some welcomed goodies on the inside. The Q7 range is only offered in diesel derivatives and the SQ7 is no different – but now with Audi’s most powerful diesel engine! 310kW and 900Nm would’ve done the trick in freeing the Ever Given ship blocking the Suez Canal! And you would’ve had room to fit any stranded sailors with all 7 seats in place.
comes to powerful diesel powertrains, Audi has this corner of the market well
covered as many manufacturers have opted against bringing in new diesel engines.
Mercedes-Benz provides the SQ7 with its sternest challenge in form the GLE 400d
but power figures can’t match the Audi with only 243kW and 700Nm available.
There is of course another competitor that I think is massively underrated and an equally brilliant, if not a better choice than the Audi and it comes from their own stable. The Volkswagen Touareg is hugely accomplished vehicle, and yes it can’t compete with the Audi in terms of power (nothing can, to be honest) but it rides on the Volkswagen Groups latest platform that underpins their newer models like the Q8 and even extending into brands like Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini. The best bit? You save almost R170k with a retail sticker of R1.5 million.
Audi SQ 8 and RS Q8
While the bonkers RS Q8 makes use of a monstrous petrol-powered V8, the SQ 8 follows the same path as the SQ 7 with its diesel engine. Power figures are identical to the latter but like we mentioned earlier, it does benefit from the Volkswagen Groups latest modular platform which comes with a raft of benefits over the previous iteration.
But the big
talking point here is the RS Q8 which produces a phenomenal 441kW and 800Nm,
while this large lump of metal can achieve 100km/h in just a mere 3.8 seconds. No
wonder then that it claimed the title of the fastest SUV around the famed Nürburgring.
SQ 8 retails for around R1.8 million you will have to shell out a fair bit more
to get into the RS Q8 with a price R2.3 million.
For around R300k more, the Range Rover Sport SVR offers a decent alternative to the RS Q8 with its absolutely raucous supercharged V8 churning out 423kW and 700Nm. Although, it is an ageing product, and the Audi will outperform it in many areas in terms of power, tech and refinement. And if a coupe-SUV is your thing, then the Range Rover doesn’t quite fit the bill.
The Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is a more worthy alternative in the segment with figures of 466kW and 850Nm, plus it is provided with some electric assistance to achieve a 100km/h sprint in just 3.8 seconds – matching the Audi. Pricing is well north of the Audi, however, coming it at an extraordinary R2.9 million; and if you’re wondering, the BMW X6 M Competition is priced similarly.
Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder
the best for last and with a screaming mid-mounted naturally aspirated V10 and
the fastest acceleration time of all with 3.2 seconds, you can see why!
With 449kW and 560Nm readily available, this is Audi’s performance halo car and comes with a price tag to match with the Coupe costing you R3.3 million and the Spyder going for R3.6 million. The latter does weigh slightly more thanks to the retractable roof so it’s 0.1 second down compared to its hardtop sibling.
While the near-identical Lamborghini Huracan would be a natural rival to the R8, its R5 million price tag blows it well out of the water!
So, let’s turn to Britain for an alternative in the form of their Aston Martin Vantage. Power figures from its AMG-sourced V8 are respectable at 375kW and 685Nm and it does cost a healthy sum less at R3 million.
One of the fastest accelerating cars that I have ever had the pleasure of driving is the Porsche 911 Turbo S and even though it’s quite a bit more expensive sitting at R3.8 million, it does break that 3.0 second barrier with 100km/h coming up in just 2.9 seconds. Power figures of 478kW and 800Nm outshine the Audi’s by quite some margin.
What are your favourites? Leave us a comment below!
I know what you are all thinking, how does the Italian stallion compare to the ever so popular BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the third German moustache – the Audi A4?. All giants of the same segment.
This article isn’t going to be a long-winded and unnecessary comparison, the seats are like this, the wing mirrors are like that…if that’s what you came for you can copy and paste the above paragraph into the mighty Google search. This article is simply going to give you the reason why one should consider the Giulia- summed it up in one word: Difference.
Let me expand this over a few hundred words.
You see, a BMW 3 series is a great proven product, likewise a C-class, they sell in droves partly because of this, but also because these brands are huge in this fine country of South Africa. Consumers buy BMW/Mercedes/Audi products for the same reason they buy Apple- because of how it interprets them and how they are viewed by their friends. I have happened to fall for this clever marketing ploy, you don’t sell the product, you sell the experience, the lifestyle…
The first Alfa Romeo Guila I drove happened to be the QV, its fast and nimble front end caught my attention, so did the faulty electronics, and then a day later it ended up in a tyre wall ( through no fault of my own) It’s safe to say I didn’t get to spend much time in that specific vehicle, but after spending a good amount of time in the “standard” model, the Giulia just happens to also be a very good motor vehicle – shock horror.
However, I can’t just leave you with that to break the mould. We can all see its beautiful, but above that, it drives very nicely from both a comfort and performance perspective, it’s darn comfortable, the interior is fairly splendid and features technology which belongs in 2018. The Giulia’s 2.0 Petrol with 147 kW 8-speed automatic transmission offers just a good if not a better driving experience than its direct competitors. So here is what you need to ask yourself, why not be different?
You see, life isn’t always what your friends think. While on route to test drive the “you know whats”, break the stereotype and pull into your nearest Alfa dealer. You never know unless you try and let’s be honest, if I had a Rand for every 320 M-Sport I passed on the morning commute, I wouldn’t be making a morning commute…
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The new Audi A5/S5 has been on sale in South Africa for a couple of months now and as is always the case, the convertible has now joined the Sportback and Coupé to complete the suave and swoopy A5/S5 range. Now featuring an “acoustic” roof that opens in a brisk 15 seconds and closes in a zippy 18 seconds up to 50 km/h, it features a single “one touch” operating which is great if you’re the kind of person who hates holding down a button for 15 seconds.
Carrying across the design cues of the Audi A5/S5 Coupé and Sportback, the Convertible also features the striking and bold ‘tornado line’ which featured on the previous generation A5/S5, but has now been accentuated create and even more striking side profile. With an updated five-link suspension up front and a new five-link rear construction replacing the trapezoidal-link suspension used on the previous A5/S5, this new convertible promises to deliver handling in line with its dynamic looks.
The A5/S5 Convertible’s body is both lighter and torsionally stiffer than before, reducing scuttle shake and maximising other safety measures during an impact. Two 2.0-litre petrol power units will be on offer initially, delivering 140 kW and 185 kW through the front wheels and all four wheels, respectively. A 2.0-litre diesel motor will join the market at a later stage. With 260 kW and 500 N.m, the S5 convertible will hurtle itself towards the horizon with impressive pace, sprinting from 0-100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds. Thanks in part to the weight saving, quattro all-wheel drive and ZF’s sublime eight-speed automatic gearbox are also to thank here and are mated superbly to the S5’s silky smooth 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine.
Interestingly, microphones are now integrated into the front seatbelts which improves voice quality during phone call or when trying to use voice recognition, even with the roof down. As one can expect from Audi, the usual array of safety aids come as standard across the range, including EBD and Audi pre sense City which monitors both pedestrians and other road users and initiates emergency braking if necessary.
Audi A5/S5 Convertible Pricing in South Africa
The Audi A5/S5 Convertible goes on sale in South Africa in July and pricing starts at R689 000 for the A5 Convertible 2.0 TFSI (140 kW) with the range-topping S5 Convertible costing R1 028 000 with Audi’s 5 year/100 000 km Freeway Plan featuring as standard across the board.
Audi is starting to take electricity very seriously: Audi E-Tron Sportback revealed.
Manufacturers fascination with electricity was not just a phase, it’s happening and getting better and better. So much so Audi plans to launch five electric cars in the next five years. Yikes. The one everyone is talking about now is the Audi E-Tron Sportback, a sleek looking electric crossover of sorts. We know concept cars rarely look the same when going into production but Audi has surprised us before. The R8 for instance looks a great deal like the concept car it came from. If that’s going to be the case with the E-Tron Sportback, we’ll be in for a visual treat. The car looks very space age, almost like the it came out the movie Tron.
It will be powered by a 95kWh battery with a predicted range of approximately 500km. So imagine being able to make it to Pietermaritzburg in your E-Tron Sportback? The trip won’t be a boring one too as the car will be able to do 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. That’s properly quick for a car that’s going to be silent, or any car for that matter. Of course the main target market for a car like this in China, as electric cars are booming that side. For us South Africans however we may wait a while until this car comes our side. Thankfully the likes of BMW and Nissan have paved the way, so by the time fully electric Audi’s come this side we may have the infrastructure we need.
A sedan version of a hatchback? The A3 Sedan seemed like a strange concept when it was first released. A few years later, consumers have come to enjoy the car as it makes sense for those not looking for the space an A4 offers. You wouldn’t be wrong to assume then that this car can be considered the “Young man’s A4”. The range recently went to the bathroom for a nose powdering session and has emerged sleeker and smarter.
Engines and technologies:
The most interesting addition the range has been the 1.0 litre turbocharged engine. This produces 85kW/211Nm which is a healthy number considering the size of the engine. Having driven this car we can confirm that any scepticism about the size of the engine can be laid to rest as it does a sterling job to get the car going. We however had the 2.0 TDI on test which has ample torque for the city and open road with a figure of 340Nm/105kW. The model we had on test also featured new technology for the A3 range, virtual cockpit. Let it be known that Audi and Volkswagen have some of the most intuitive digital dashboard systems, so it’s great that this option is now available in the A3. There is a catch though, in order to get the dashboard, the car needs to be specified with navigation. So a R7 250.00 option needs a R24 000 option to be selected, which can hike up the price quite a bit.
Silence is golden:
You would think a diesel would be noisy and clunky and that the noise would spill over into the cabin. This is not the case with this car, the noise levels are very low, creating a peaceful atmosphere. The overall ride quality is very good, despite the lack of an S-Line kit, which makes things firmer but nicer. This specific model did have optional Sports Suspension, but members of the youth would probably prefer the S-Line for aesthetic reasons. The elegance of a standard model fitted with a good set of wheels is also visually appealing. Is the 2.0 TDI the pick of the bunch? The engine delivers torque almost instantly and the S-Tronic happily obliges. The Drive Select option is a good thing to tick in the options list, because it allows you to give your car different “moods”. In Comfort the car ticks over as usual, in the Eco mode the car is less responsive but more fuel efficient (best for highways). Dynamic mode is for when you’re in a hurry and the car in my opinion is at its best here, simply because it’s always awake. When in Comfort the car tends to take things easier, I call it “Cape Town” mode but Dynamic is “Johannesburg” mode, which is good to go all the time.
The facelifted Audi A3 sedan is the same car we’ve come to know, only better. New headlights and different bumper designs are what set the new car from the old one, as well as a nicer steering wheel. The subtle exterior changes aren’t enough for older specification owners to lose sleep over though. The additional engine compliment the range well and the option of Virtual Cockpit is awesome but expensive. Speaking of expensive, the 2.0 TDI starts at R499 000 which is tough pill to swallow. The model we drove retailed at R583 490 and it didn’t even have leather seats. It was quite a strangely specified car in fact, because the big ticket items were Navigation (R24 000), Adaptive Cruise Control (R15 300), Panoramic glass roof (R11 100), 17 inch wheels (R12 000) and Virtual Cockpit (R7 250). The smaller items such as Drive Select, Audi Sound System and Sport Suspension were all in the region of R3000.00 per option. The moral of the story is this, pick the necessary options and you’ll be okay or tick the wrong boxes and you’ll pay.
In my mind, Audi’s RS5 has always had a unique appeal in the very sporty small coupe segment. While BMW’s M3 has always been the nimble and dynamic youth in a hoody and Mercedes-AMG’s C63 the grandpa in All Stars, the last generation RS5 suffered from an identity crisis and was neither supremely comfortable nor tekkie squeaking fast, but it was one of those cars that you wanted and preferably without a roof.
The same could be said for each of the above’s fan bases with the Audi, again, sucking hind-teet while the C63 and M3’s were scooped up by young millionaires and old folk recapturing their youth. Every time I see an RS5, I struggle to place its driver into a category and be mean, but is this such a bad thing?
Stereotyping aside, the RS5 was great when it launched 7 years ago, a time when the E92 M3 reigned supreme and grandpa sported a 6.2-litre masterpiece in his AMG All Stars. The RS5’s 4.2-litre V8 was a meaty and burbly unit and as a whole, the RS5 was the weapon of choice for those who preferred to be discreet, yet dashing. Unfortunately, on the performance front at least, the RS5 has been left behind in recent years by the turbocharged F82 and W205.
Fast forward to 2017 and the new RS5 has again befallen the recently tabooed fate of all engines – downsizing. Harkening back to the days of the B5 RS4, the all-new RS5 sports a 2.9 litre doubly force-fed V6, putting out an M3/4 Competition Package matching 331 kW and 170 N.m more than the old naturally aspirated V8 at 600 N.m. This should be good for a 3.9 second 0-100 km/h sprint, accompanied by one of motoring’s all-time favourite soundtracks, an Audi V6. The motor is in fact the same unit found in the new Porsche Panamera, and will undoubtedly blend performance and economy in a typically Germanic and clinical fashion.
While the engine is big news, the indistinguishable crowd of people who buy RS5’s will perhaps swoon over its blacked-out LED headlights, beefy bumpers and oval holes that house the exhausts. It’s actually 17 mm wider than the model it replaces yet 60 kg lighter which is about as much as a fat child. Accompanying the reduction in weight is a multi-link suspension set-up at the rear which replaces the trapezoidal-link from the previous model.
Consumption is also vastly better than before with a claimed combined average of 7.2 l/100km.
There’s no word yet on local availability or pricing but a good guess would be the first quarter of 2018 for a million and a bit.