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The Audi A4 versus the Audi S5 reviewed-sometimes less is more

Aurich / AudiIt's been an interesting year behind the wheel here at Cars Technica. Ganske enkelt, de fleste biler som…

 The Audi A4 versus the Audi S5 reviewed-sometimes less is more

Aurich / Audi

It’s been an interesting year behind the wheel here at Cars Technica. Ganske enkelt, de fleste biler som jeg har testet har levert overraskelser, underwhelming ones i best-sellers som Toyota Camry og Nissan Rogue, så vel som uventet dejlige som Kia Niro og Honda Accord. Think of today’s story as a microcosm, then. It’s about two cars from the same OEM, built on the same architecture, similar enough to be cross-shopped. The brand is Audi, the cars are the 201

8 A4 sedan and 2018 S5 Sportback, and the surprise? For that you’ll have to read on.

Neither car is a stranger to these pages. We first drove the A4 sedan back in 2016 at its launch, proclaiming it “for nerds, city nerds.” S4 sedan og S5 coupe kom en år senere, som vår første drivkraft fra Sportback, en slankere, men praktisk, fem-alternativ til sedans. First drives are certainly informative, but you’ll learn a lot more living with a car for a week than you will share it for the day with another auto journalist. And over the summer, I had the opportunity to really know these four-ringed siblings.

The car I thought I’d love

OK, that subheading gives the game away, but it’s true: I thought the S5 would be the one I’d love. After all, it’s a Sportback-the name Audi gives its five-way fastback sedans. My love for the five-door body style is well documented at this point; I spent my own money on a Saab 9-2x, and I’m a true believer that five by wagons, hatches, and fastbacks really do offer the most practicality while also looking better than almost anything else on the road.

The July 4th weekend and the annual IMSA Six Hours of the Glen endurance race at Watkins Glen in New York proved to be the perfect test of the S5 Sportback’s practicality. With the rear seats folded flat, the Audi easily swallowed assorted camping paraphernalia, and, despite the lack of adaptive cruise control, the 400-mile journey north was far from a chore. The front seats were comfy, the adaptive sports suspension cosseted us when the tarmac turned poor, and if you must have a red leather interior, this particular one (called Magma Red in Audi-speak) looked classy and not at all like the workplace of a person of negotiable affection.

But the longer I liked the shape. I spent the S5 hard not to do when it was parked next to the tent. From the rear, I’m still a fan, but there’s something about the hood line and the way it curves back down towards the A pillar that gives the car an air of bulbosity. This might be color sensitive; I do not notice the same effect on S5 Sportbacks painted in darker metallic tones. Looks are subjective and all that, but when a car’s looks are part of its USP (unique selling proposition in car-speak) and those looks fall a bit flat, it’s a turn off. In the Sportback’s defense, it did generate a lot of positive attention from passers-by, so maybe I’m alone on this.

The other USP for the S5 Sportback (and this applies to the coupe too) is that the more powerful turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine and uprated running gear should be more exciting to drive. With 354hp (260kW) and 369ft-lbs (500Nm) it is actually more potent than the 2.0L in the regular A4 and A5, and it will reach 60mph from a tollbooth more than a second earlier than the four-cylinder model. Men til tross for et mer bak-biased all-hjulsystem og det (valgfritt) Audi Sport-bak differential-a dreiemoment-veksle-enhet ikke mindre, det er faktisk ikke så engasjerende å kjøre. This confirmed something we noticed in 2017 at the S5 launch; Selv om det var mindre og lidt bedre end den S4 siden, var det jo sidst, der var mere sjovt, da vejene blev kurvede.

The car I did not expect to love

I was not actually supposed to drive the A4. Originally, the company that manages one of the local press fleets had scheduled a week with a Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, which I had to pick up at Dulles International Airport (saving a cab fare and therefore killing two birds with one vehicle, as it were). Something evidently happened to that slice of four-wheeled Americana, because in its place was the blue A4 you see in the gallery above. Like the S5 Sportback, it was well-used for a press car, having recently nudged past 10,000 miles.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this particular A4 came with three pedals. I’ve stood up for the automatic transmission, and the car ‘box that Audi uses-ZF’s 8HP eight-speed-is the best in the business. (I swear you’ll be able to read a feature on this mechanical marvel at this very website, eventually.) But after a few days spent with the stick shift version, I could not escape the fact that it was just more engaging to drive than any other A4, S4, A5, or S5 I’ve tried. The clutch action was nice and light, yet positive, and the engine’s stop-start system also provides an anti-stall function that should save the novice any embarrassing moments.

The A4’s fun factor was helped by the fact that it came with the Sport plus package. That means the same thin-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, some sportier suspension that’s 0.9 inches (23mm) lower than normal, and some other bits and bobs that lift the interior into the same league as the more expensive S * models. It’s obviously slower than the V6-powered car, with just 252hp (185kW) and 273lb-ft (370Nm) on tap, but it never feels slow or underpowered.

The A4 also featured a new driver aid that right now is exclusive to Audi, and one that only works in a handful of cities. Det heter Traffic Light Information, og det betyder at bilen kommunikerer med stoplys for at fortælle hvor lang tid du har at vente på signalet. Det er ikke en funktion at ændre ens liv, og ja, du kan normalt få en nedtælling til grøn ved at se fodgængerstegnet. Men jeg må tilstå Jeg fann det ganske praktisk, mer så da det fortalte mig hvor lang tid en lys var å holde grønn-når det var på jobb, til enhver hastighet. Selv om District of Columbia er et af de 10 byer hvor Traffic Light Information er operationelt, har det ikke fungeret for hver trafiklampe, eller lige så ofte ).

The A4 has it

By the end of my week with the manual A4, the conclusion was inescapable. I found the A4 more engaging to drive, just as nice to sit in, and almost as practical as its sportier stablemate.

The MSRP on the A4 in the mid-level Premium Plus trim is $ 43,700, and our test car tipped the scale at $ 51,650 (for the Sport plus package, its blue paint , and the Navigation and Telematics package that gives you Virtual Cockpit). The S5 does not even get out of bed for less than $ 54,400, and once you add up the options-Navigation, S Sports package, plus some other bits and bobs-the S5’s sticker was a hefty $ 63,975. On top of that, the stick shift A4 drinks less gas, with a combined 27mpg versus 24mpg for the S5.

Less is not always more in the automotive world-the four-cylinder Kia Stinger is not as good as the V6 model, for example. Men i dette tilfælde, den billigere, slower, mindre kraftige Audi er den eneste jeg ville velge, især når det kommer med en manuell transmission. Det er det eneste som gjør at du vet at du ikke kommer til å prøve det selv. Takket være en verdensomspændende mangel på efterspørgsel, Audi er dropping den manuelle transmission helt for A4 og A5 fra 2019 model år fremover. Insert sad face emoji here.

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