• Audi S3 Sportback and Audi SQ5 TDI now in SA
More Audi S supermodels storm SA
• Audi S3 Sedan now available to order
• Limited Audi TTS Special Editions to order
• TWO image galleries
Powerful performance, luxurious equipment, considerable practicality - the strengths of Audi S models. Each model applies its power to the road with quattro permanent all-wheel drive, offering a unique driving experience and ultimate everyday usability.
Audi South Africa will by the end of 2014 have an S model in most of its model ranges – a total of 13 individuals. The range has just been added with the S3 Sportback and S Q5 – the latter, Audi believes, has no direct competitor, so if you want to be really individual...
EVEN MORE TO COME...
Wheels24 drove both of them (the S3 on road and on Port Elizabeth’s Aldo Scribante racetrack, the superpowerful Q5 only on the open road).
Still to come (the South African launch will be on Feb 25) are the Audi RS 7 Sportback and RS Q3. The S3 will also be available, to order, as a sedan from May 2014, to complete the current range of A3 models.
The second quarter will also see the launch of the 200kW Audi TTS Special Edition (move it, there will only be 25 of the 500 to be built!) in either yellow or grey.
Launching soon afterwards will be the “newly improved” Audi S8 followed by the potent Audi S1 in the second half of 2014. Last to come will be the first S3 Cabriolet. The range of models now available through VW and Audi showrooms now covers just about every degree of the automotive compass – on-road, off-road, commercial, performance, luxury and budget.
But back to the two most recent launches...
AUDI S3 SPORTBACK...
This the third generation of the Audi S3 Sportback is described as “the new lightweight premium compact model” in Audi’s multi-stalled stable and “combines its dynamic performance with impressive efficiency”.
In effect it’s the Audi version of the VW Golf R launched a week earlier, also in the Eastern Cape, but with a re-shaped shell, amended interior and, somehow, a rather more upmarket feel. Maybe it’s just the badge and marketing perceptions. Anyway...
GALLERY: Audi S3 Sportback
The four-cylinder two-litre turbo engine in the S3 Sportback is the same as in the Golf R, right down to output, acceleration and top speed: 206kW at 5500rpm, 380Nm from 1800-5500rpm and supplied with only a six-speed auto/manual sequential gearbox (in SA). The same car in Europe makes 221kW – those in SA have been detuned to accommodate our much warmer weather.
It also has the same amazing all-wheel drive system and the same two pairs of exhaust pipes with their distinctive blaaaar under power.
Performance figures are the same, too: 0-100 in five seconds - which makes it one of the world’s fastest-accelerating production cars - 250km/h top speed and a launch control system for if you want to get serious.
Audi SA lists the 2.0 TFSI engine as using 6.9 litres/100km (Euro standard tests) which is 1.5/100 less than the previous S4 Sportback on the same test. Remember, those figures are under perfect test conditions and unlikely to be close to real life.
The improved figures perhaps follow the tall sixth gear and stop/start ignition, better aerodynamics and the shedding of 70kg compared to the previous car.
Gearshifts are achieved in full auto or in normal or sport settings using steering-wheel mounted paddles, same as the Golf R, and the AWD means the car will accelerate fast and without wheelspin and corner more dynamically.
A dozen laps of Scribante showed off its merits; with a modicum of commonsense (a couple of my colleagues still managed to lose it) and following the racing lines, even a moderate driver would have been able to put in pretty good times.
The standard multifunction sport steering wheel, covered in leather, features a flat-bottomed rim, while pedals and footrests are made of brushed aluminium. Instrument gauges are dark grey and the indicators white and the tacho has a boost-pressure display.
The driver information system has a colour screen that rises from the top of the facia as the engine is fired up.
Standard equipment on the S3 Sportback includes:
• 18” 5-parallel-spoke cast alloy rims
• Xenon Plus headlights
• S sports suspension an progressive steering
• Cruise control and auto dimming interior rear view mirror
• Bluetooth with audio streaming and voice control
• Brushed stainless-steel pedals with rubber inserts
• S3 embossed sport seats in Trophy Cloth/leather
• S3 instrumentation in grey.
• S3 multifunction sports steering wheel with large shift paddles
• S3 badging on the boot lid
Audi S3 Sportback quattro S tronic - R 500 500 (inc all taxes and five-year or 100 000km Freeway Plan)
...AND AUDI S Q5
The Audi SQ5 TDI is the first S model in the Q range. It is also the first S with a twin-turbo diesel engine, an amazing example of the evolution of diesel engines over the past two decades.
No track time with this car, but some freeway and much wide-open back-roads driving. Superlatives shouldn’t be chucked around by motoring publications but this three-litre turbodiesel really is astounding.
GALLERY: Audi S Q5
Diesels were always high on torque, low on kiloWatts, high on engine gargle and exhaust noise. Not this three-litre V6 gem: 650Nm from 1450-2800rpm for lazy revs (which is as it should be) but hurtled on its way by 230kW.
It’s obviously a Q5 but comes with restyled front and rear bumpers, roof spoiler, black brake callipers, SQ5 badging and many other features punting its performance pedigree; Audi says the SQ5 TDI has no direct competitors in the premium B SUV segment.
Despite its comparative bulk, the SQ5 TDI is right there with the S3 Sportback in performance: 0-100km/h in 5.1sec and also a governed 250km/h top speed. Fuel consumption is listed (Euro test again) as 6.8/100 and drive is sent roadwards through a super-smooth eight-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive.
The sport suspension ride is 30mm lower than the standard car and it rides on 20” spoked alloys.
The cabin is sportily black, the leather seats have power adjustment, the instrument dials are grey and include a 3D S badge, the needles are white, the pedals and paddles have an aluminium-look finish.
FAMILY / SPORTS - IT'S HOW YOU DRIVE IT
This is a family rather than a sports car (despite is performance creds) so luggage capacity is 1560 litres; and don’t be afraid to take the caravan or boat with you – the SQ5 is rated to tow 2.4 metric tons.
Here are its general specifications, apart from those already mentioned:
• MMI 3G Navigation Plus with Audi connect on-line services (including Google Earth satnav and wi-fi hotspot)
• Flat-bottomed steering wheel, big shift paddles
• Black headliner
• Exhaust sound actuator
• Two pairs of twin exhausts
• S-design front and rear bumpers, S-design sills, S-design front bumper and grille, S-badging
Audi S Q5 TDI quattro Tiptronic - R794 500 (inc all taxes and five-year or 100 000km Freeway Plan.