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Audi Gains Economy, Keeps Power Because Led Lights

If there was any question as to the relative potency of an Audi A5 Coupe equipped

with the 2.0L turbocharged four cylinder, it was erased for me on a visit to southwestern Spain.

On an early morning, somewhat frantic blast (we got lost and were in danger of missing our flight home), the quattro coupe proved itself in the cut and thrust over secondary roads and a high-speed run on the highway. Cruising at double Canadas posted maximum was a completely quiet, refined and relaxed affair.

The Audi A5/S5 is still a relatively rare sight on our roads, but it is now four years old, and a mid-cycle refresh of both coupe and cabriolet will come our way later this year, likely billed as a 2013.

Pricing for these new models will be announced closer to the launch date, but Audi Canada says there will be little if any change. The S5 Coupe quattro currently starts at $60,500, with the A5 2.0 TSFI Coupe at $46,700.

As would be expected, or hoped, cosmetic changes to the beautifully proportioned A5 are subtle the most obvious being new wedge-shaped headlights that incorporate a fishhook-shaped swath of LED daytime running lights. Looks better than it sounds. The grille and front fascia has been reshaped and the taillights have new LED accents. According to the designers, the bodys character lines sport sharper creases too. Kudos to you if you can spot the difference.

Similarly, the 2013 A5/S5 interior sees some mild upgrades with new colours, trim design, available wood veneers, redesigned MMI interface controls and a new 7-inch LCD screen.

That said, most of the notable revisions are found beneath the A5/S5s fair skin.

As noted above, the A5 Coupe and Cabriolet sport a 2.0L direct-injection TSFI turbo four-cylinder that makes 211 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 1500 to 4200 r.p.m. This is the only engine on offer, now that the original 3.2L V6 is history.

Reduced internal friction and a standard start-stop system (we will be getting this feature) give the A5 TSFI Coupe, with an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, a 6.4 L/100 km rating on the European combined cycle.

To further chip away at fuel consumption figures, Audi is introducing an all-new electro-mechanical steering system in this car, claimed to save up to 0.3 L/100 km. On learning of this, I immediately feared Audis mostly light and uncommunicative steering was going to take a final swan dive into the Novocain pool.

Not so. It seems the Ingolstadt automaker has been listening to its drivers. Electro-mechanical steering systems are getting better all the time, and this latest generation from Audi shows a natural weighting that progresses linearly as speed increases, giving a good sense of whats going on down front.

This was most evident on a lengthy blast through the rolling countryside in a 2013 Audi S5 Coupe, the higher-performance variant of this two-door.

When originally launched as a 2008 model, the S5 Coupe was fitted with a 340 hp 4.2L V8. That now gets ditched for the 333 hp, 324 lbs.-ft. 3.0-L supercharged direct-injection V6 found in the Audi S4 sports sedan and the S5 Cabriolet, which bowed with that engine as a 2010 model. So now the S5 Coupe and S5 Cabriolet share the same engine. Confused yet?

All you really need to know is the 2013 S5 Coupe, with the slightly lighter, 20 per cent more fuel efficient and torquier V6 engine, likes to play. The improved steering, tweaked suspension and rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive work in step with the robust engine, optional active rear Sports Differential and exceptional 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic to make for an extremely rapid and luxurious missile. The exhaust system kicks out a more authoritive bark, so you wont be missing that V8 too much.

All 2013 S5s coming to Canada will have Dynamic Drive, which gives control over the parameters of the adaptive suspension, transmission mapping, throttle response, steering feel and the active differential. A new Economy mode, which joins the Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and customizable Individual settings, optimizes everything including the HVAC for fuel economy.

New available safety technology includes adaptive cruise control with collision-avoidance full braking activation below 30 km/h, and active lane keeping that uses the electro-mechanical steering to nudge the car back in line should you stray out of your lane.

Overall, the LED lights are widely used for automotive lighting, and will come out with even more innovation in the future.

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Audi Gains Economy, Keeps Power Because Led Lights