The Truth About Cars » audi s5 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:16:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » audi s5 I Flew Twelve Thousand Miles To Accidentally Meet My Biggest Fan Tue, 04 Jun 2013 18:25:53 +0000 Picture courtesy the author.

Devoted readers of my personal site, if any such individuals actually exist, know that I’m currently in Malaysia for the purpose of compromising the international dignity of the United States by acting like a member of the “Duck Dynasty” in a time-trial series. The past week’s been fairly intense, to put it mildly. (And if I put it anything other than mildly, I couldn’t discuss it in a family-oriented publication like TTAC.) Today, however, I was visiting a few shops in Shah Alam, Selangor, to discuss a seat in the Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race and things got weird.

The car in the photo above is a lime green Audi A5 2.0T. I happened upon it by pure blind chance.

I want to repeat that, just for the record.

I flew a total of 12,700 air miles over the course of twenty-five hours, then drove four hours from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, then drove another hour to a cluster of obscure race shops in a corner of Selangor, Malaysia, and happened to drive right by this car. Occurrences like this make me strongly question my belief that the entire universe is ordered along logical principles.

Why is it so ZOMGAMAZING that I happened to find this car? Well… Long-time TTACers know that nearly three years ago, I sold my Audi Exclusive S5 in 1973 Porsche Lime Green. If you’ve forgotten the car, or never heard about it, here it is:

The Internet fame accorded to that particular car, the ease with which I sold it, and Audi’s passive-aggressive reluctance to even discuss doing another one for me all led me to believe that nobody had ever done anything quite like it before or since. It’s quite possible I’m wrong about that.

When I saw the A5, I immediately stopped my car, jumped out, and started photographing it. This led to an extremely unpleasant conversation with the proprietor of the garage, who told me I didn’t have the right to take pictures in a public street. My American sense of photographic freedom did not at any point intersect with his Malaysian sense of privacy. He wouldn’t tell me anything about the owner and he wouldn’t put me in touch with said owner. After a brief standoff, I agreed to leave but did not agree to delete the photograph.

What does the photograph tell us? Well, it’s a pre-facelift A5, and I’m guessing it’s a 2010 model. The interior is black, not brown. My quick impression was that the black roof was a vinyl decal. “Wraps” are a big deal in Malaysia — a few hours later, I had the chance to talk to the proprietor of a shop that wraps GT-Rs in brushed-metal foil — but I don’t believe this was a wrap. The car had the shine and depth of real paint.

Whether it’s factory paint is another matter, but I’m inclined to think it is, for this reason: it’s not Porsche Lime Green. Instead, it’s the “Viper Metallic Green” that was popular on the Euro-market Scirocco. When I started the order process for my Audi, this was the first color that was suggested to me, because it was already in the VAG paint bin. I insisted on the proper Lime Green and got it, but I can see how Audi might have steered subsequent punters to the metallic green. I don’t think it looks as good, but then again, I wouldn’t, would I?

Naturally, I am more or less dead certain that this car was inspired by mine. Perhaps the owner will see this and contact me to let me know. What are the chances, really, that I would just happen to fly and drive to the precise spot where the only other lime green Audi coupe in the world was sitting? It boggles the mind, it really does, and it piques the curiosity. If you’re the owner, holler at your boy here. I’d like to talk to you about the car — and I have a set of snow tires to sell you.

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Generation Why: Free Product Advice For GM (Or Anyone Else) Thu, 12 Apr 2012 13:07:29 +0000

General Motors has often been the focus of criticism at Generation Why – despite what some of the B&B suggest, it’s merely a function of the fact that they put themselves out there the most when it comes to publicizing their youth marketing efforts. But it’s time to reward their efforts with some free, unsolicited advice from a know-it-all keyboard jockey.

The above car isn’t anything Chevy is going to put into production. Instead, it’s a photoshop concocted by my friend Jover according to what I think about be a suitable “halo car” for Generation Why. With Chevrolet’s portfolio full of sensible, fuel-efficient cars like the Spark and Sonic, I figured something a bit flashier and more upscale would be something that young, image-conscious people would actually want to buy, invoking their emotions and desires rather than appealing to largely rational factors like price, fuel efficiency or practicality. If you would be so kind as to indulge me, the output of my thought exercise is below.

The above car would use the Cruze’s Delta architecture. think of this as a re-imagining of the slightly gawky Tru 140S concept, because Chevy got the Code 130R (which would be rear-drive and presumably be based on the Alpha architecture) fairly correct from the start. That means that yes, it’s front wheel drive. Big deal. Most consumers don’t care. If they do, they are going to buy a Camaro or a Scion FR-S.  Front-drive would also allow for better packaging; believe it or not, carting around your friends and throwing “lifestyle accessories” matters more than 50/50 weight distribution.

The base engine would be the 1.4T 4-cylinder engine, with the same 6-speed manual and automatic gearboxes as the Cruze. Hopefully, a power bump could be engineered – acceleration in a Cruze is adequate, but any car with sporting pretensions has to have forward thrust that goes beyond “acceptable”. There could also be an Eco model that employs the active aero shutters and low rolling-resistance tires like the Cruze Eco. Higher trim levels could use the 2.0L LHU turbochagred 4-cylinder from the Buick Regal. With 220 and 270 horsepower trims available, there’s room for a mid-grade and a high-performance version that would echo the Cobalt SS.

Unlike the Cobalt SS, the above concept wouldn’t be a factory tuner special. The whole car is supposed to look upscale and mature, like an Audi A5/S5 for people who don’t make the Audi’s MSRP as their yearly salary. While cars like the Hyundai Veloster and Chevrolet Sonic are literally going after those with youthful sensibilities, this would be a car for young people (or anyone, really) that is looking for something more mature, something that wouldn’t be embarrassing to take clients out to lunch in (or take someone out on a date in). The character lines at the rear may look particularly S5-ish, but they’re actually borrowed from the new Malibu. The goal is to keep Chevrolet design cues while still compelling people to ask “what is that?” if they saw it on the street.

The interior would be the place where a grand bargain would have to be made; to touchscreen, or not to touchscreen? Having not had the chance to use the MyLink touchscreen system in the new Malibu or Spark, I can’t endorse it in good faith. I do know that the conventional buttons-and-knobs layout in the Cruze, Orlando and other vehicles is intuitive and easy to use. That can be standard, along with Bluetooth, a USB port and yes, an auxiliary input jack. Those three, more than any kind of touchscreen, or streaming music app, are the must-have features for a new car today. Base versions could come with cloth seats and monochrome surfaces, but higher grade versions could get leather and the earth-tone leather and dash surfaces seen on the 2013 Malibu and other vehicles.

With a Cruze starting at $16,800 and a Camaro starting at $23,280 (not to mention, the Scion FR-S at $24,930 and the Genesis at $25,125), an appropriate price point for this car becomes tough to nail down. A base version, at $18,995, is still accessible to a fair amount of younger buyers without being too bargain basement. More powerful versions (especially a 270 horsepower version loaded to the gills) could push deeper into Genesis Coupe territory. Even if it didn’t quite have the performance cred, the upscale styling and premium interior would help draw in a buyer more concerned about making the 7:15 movie screening than running a 7:15 on the Nurburgring. That’s not to say that this car has to be a compromised, sloppy-handling poseur-mobile, but think of it as, well, an Audi A5, whereas the Scion FR-S is more focused and driver oriented like a BMW 3-Series. There’s no use in trying to beat Toyota and Subaru at their own game. Instead, this car would focus on a different set of criteria, sacrificing some outright driving engagement for more upscale look and feel. A future vehicle based on the Alpha platform can do that, and be positioned at a higher price point if need be.

The only thing missing is a name.

Thanks to Jover for his Photoshop wizardry

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The Internet Has An Opinion About My eBay Auction Fri, 09 Jul 2010 20:41:23 +0000

By the time the weekday TTAC crew rolls back into their cubicles/corner offices/gondola-of-the-”Zorin”-blimp-high-over-San-Francisco, the eBay auction for my 2009 Audi S5 will be crashing to a vaguely interesting end.

It had never occurred to me that my decision to sell a car would be “news”, but it probably never occurred to Elon Musk that he would have to explain his divorce to the readers of Jalopnik, either. Click the jump to find out why I’m selling, what the drooling morons of various BMW-oriented web forums think about it, and why I not-so-secretly hope it doesn’t meet the reserve…

There are very few one-of-a-kind cars in the world. My 2009 Audi S5 is one of them. To my knowledge, it was the first S5 produced by Audi’s “Exclusive” division, and a contingent of Audi dealers visiting Ingolstadt was treated to a sneak preview of the car before I ever saw it, just to impress upon them the lengths to which Audi would go to please their customers.

It is painted 1973 Porsche Lime Green, as seen on the Carrera RS 3.0 and the Porsche IROC cars. I paired the very loud exterior color with the Tuscan Brown interior because I wanted to pay homage to the early Seventies and the bright, cheerful, vintage look of German cars from that era. Some time around 1982, the default German look became a dark car, dark windows, dark Serengeti Driver sunglasses, hard-ass expression on the face of the oh-so-snobby man behind the wheel. I think that’s pathetic. Cars are supposed to be fun.

I’ve driven the S5 32,000 miles in the past 22 months. It’s gone from Chicago to New York to South Carolina, and back to my home town of Powell, OH. Although I’ve owned some attention-getting cars in my life, including a Lotus Seven replica, nothing pulls like the Audi. Squads of tough-looking black kids run across the street in downtown ATL to have me take their pictures. Teenaged girls working drive-throughs put their phone numbers on the receipts and hand them out with a lingering touch. Valets move Bentley Flying Spurs out of the way. Women of a certain age come to a dead halt in parking lots and beckon me over to chat while they slip three-carat rings off their left hands into their pockets. People drive up next to me and flip me off. I find notes left on the car, asking about drug deals.

My Audi has done hundreds of laps on racetracks, most notably during the CTS-V Challenge where the brakes proved inadequate to a televised run around Monticello. It appeared on SPEED TV. It has hundreds of Google results.

I have enjoyed every single day with the Audi, but it doesn’t seem to fit the person I currently am as much as it fits the person I used to be. My girlfriend hates being stared at while we drive down the road. I can’t tow a race car with it. The monthly payment is roughly what it would take to buy a sunburst-finish Gibson Les Paul Studio. Maybe it’s time for it to go.

A friend of mine with a reasonably successful auto-brokerage service wanted something interesting to launch his eBay biz with, so I handed over the S5. He put together the auction listing, misspelling just one word. (I’m so proud!) I didn’t think anybody would really notice.

I was wrong. The auction has appeared on most of the special-interest sites out there, particularly the German-car ones. Without exception, these anonymous little beta-males piss and moan that:

* The floormats are dirty (Yeah. They’re WeatherTechs.)
* The engine bay isn’t clean. (A clean engine doesn’t run any better.)
* It’s ridiculous to mention that the car will come with new tires. (That’s because they all run 20″ Sumitomos on their thugged-out used M3s. A real set of OEM Dunlops for this car costs big bucks.)
* A green car with a red interior is stupid. (It’s brown inside.)
* They would never “rock one”. (I doubt they’ve ever “rocked”.)
* LOLOMGFAIL (This, usually from people with Chinese-language arm tats)
* And so on.

It frustrates the piss out of me to see my little vintage-look Audi subjected to their comments. I don’t care if they wouldn’t “hard-park” it at Cars and Coffee. When I look at the car, I see my memories.

I see myself briefly clipping 142 on the back straight at VIR before smoking and curb-hopping my way in on the “Daytona Prototype line.” I remember parking it on the street in Manhattan, my girl on my arm, and walking downstairs to the Village Vanguard to see Al Foster’s quartet play five feet from my table. I think about the night before the CTS-V Challenge, killing half a bottle of vodka and falling over the motel bed onto the ground. I think about being black-flagged out of NJMP for “high-speed drifting” during a rainy track event, looking at Turn One through the driver’s window at eighty miles per hour.

This is my car. My memories. When the broker called to ask me what the reserve should be, I paused for a moment, and said, “Make it too high to see.”

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