Audi A5 Coupé 3.0 TDI - No funny titles, Just WOW!

It's no secret that I like Audis. I have owned an S3 Quattro and it painted many thrilling smiles on my face. The Audi A5 Coupé thrilled no less, but I am sad to say that it was short-lived. This 180kW and 500Nm elegant and classy Coupé made me sad.

It's always been a head-turner and the facelifted A5 continues the trend. If you're familiar with the Audi 'face' then you'll know what I mean, but the A5 has a very unique design in the running lights. They remind me of IronMan's suit as it starts up and the eyes flicker on ready for flight. It's the same with this car - when those eyes illuminate you just want to be seen. From the outset, that is what this car makes me want - to be seen.
Seated in the premium cabin, surrounded by such intimate detail and workmanship, in the comfort of leather and alcantara with spectacularly forged switchgear made from a combination of metals and indescribable materials, I cannot tell you how important it makes you feel. Audi are legendary at interior appointments and it is the best interior detailing I have ever experienced. It took me a while to fully understand the Multimedia system, but once you've taken the time to learn how it operates, it's quite intuitive and easy.  



I wasn't driving for too long when I wondered how the heck Audi had made a diesel that sounds and feels so much like a petrol engine? This car eats up highway quickly and silenty. The cabin is so quiet and comfy as you watch the speedo effortlessly climb towards the nether regions of 200km/h. I didn't drive this car with the intention of saving fuel, but it's also quite frugal for a car with this much power under the taps. I managed a 8.8 l/100 after about 420km with the car and that's mighty impressive when you consider the driving I was doing, in an around Johannesburg. A leisurely drive to Haartesbeespoort Dam demonstrated a fairly hard ride, which was expected. The drive also gave way to some wonderful stretches of acceleration where I could properly experience the in-gear surge from this wonderful diesel powerplant. Man alive it's enjoyable motoring.



The Audi A5 Coupé 3.0 TDI starts at R585,000 with this particular model being a full-house car on the other side of R660,000. If you're wondering whether it's worth it, let me quickly say ABSOLUTELY! It's a stunning car with stunning credibility and unmatched quality. The ride is solid and the quattro system is very forgiving if you become a little sinful with the car. I wouldn't say it's the most entertaining car in the world mainly because the steering feels a little 'fake'. I know that's not a great word but I can't describe it any other way. It just doesn't inspire any confidence and it isn't as sharp as some other cars I've driven. If anything, the rear seats are very cramped, moreso than you would imagine, but the boot does allow for quite a bit of stuff.

I can't really fault this car based on what it is, a 2-door Sports Tourer. It's handsome for sure, has road presence and road manners, it knows how to make the driver feel important and it can do the low-flying job description should you want it. It's also not ridiculously priced if you don't tick too many boxes on the application and it can save you money at the 'Garage' should you drive it efficiently.

So, why the sad face? Simple answer is that I cannot own one. At least not in the near future. I absolutely love this car! It's everything I like in a car. The interior is sheer beauty, the drive is smooth and the face is oh so handsome. But it's a Coupé and that just does not suit my family right now. It doesn't make sense when I weigh up baby chairs, baby bags, baby food, nappies and all that family stuff. This car being parked at our house makes me want to leave the family behind and go for a selfish burn around Gauteng.

Ooh but remember that Audi has a A5 Sportback. Mmm, now there's an idea...

AM

Renault Offensive - Part 2: The Renault Koleos 4X4

THE NEW RENAULT KOLEOS - A STEP FORWARD

Renault Koleos 4x4 2012 amotion
The 2012 Renault Koleos 4X4 getting dirty in Knysna

The Renault Koleos has always been hard to argue against with great practicality, the Renault all-inclusive deal and the competence of the car. Renault South Africa treated me to the new Renault Koleos that continues the trend. Upwards and onwards.

If you haven't been to Knysna along the garden route of sunny South Africa, then know this: it's a stunningly beautiful rendition of why South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Of course, the coastline is one such beauty that also boasts the Knysna Heads which separate the lagoon from the big blue sea beyond. The other beauty is the lush green vegetation that paints the hills and valleys surrounding this area, and whilst it's beautiful, it's also where the fun begins...in the New Renault Koleos.

We travelled by chopper to experience the offroad prowess
Deep in these forests are gravel roads that could get you completely lost, but along the way, they'll show you pictures that are nothing short of amazing. In the pouring rain and on muddy roads, I drove the Koleos with the view to really understand just how capable a car it is. In a word: QUITE.

The Renault Koleos comes in 3 variants, a 4X2 Manual; a 4X4 Manual and a 4X4 CVT all hustled along by a 2.5 litre, 16V petrol engine. Renault South Africa continue to bring us models that include everything in the advertised price, and if you've been reading my previous blogs about other manufacturers, then you'll know that I like this arrangement. The Koleos ranges from R289k to R340k and these prices are for a complete car.

New on the Koleos and across most of the Renault range, is the Tom Tom satnav system which integrates nicely into the facia and includes the Tom Tom Traffic alerts as well. Included in the package is a comprehensive selection of safety features; driver aids galore and nifty comfort and practicality features that really make sense for a small SUV like this. I really recommend you look at the STANDARD FEATURES list as it's too long to mention here. I'll leave you to it.

Now that you're suitably impressed, let's chat about the drive - competent is the word I continue to come up with. I drove this car in some rough terrain on very slippery roads and through some very muddy sections and the Renault lapped it up. The ESP and EBA are obviously standard, as is the Hill Down Control and Hill Assist. What I like most about the car is the ease with which the driver can switch modes on the car(the 4X4 models specifically). The facia features a 3 mode button that can change the drivetrain between 2WD / AUTO / LOCK(4X4). No fuss. It's idiot proof and I like it.

The other thing I found quite good especially for a car like this one is the amount of storage space inside the cabin. You know those boxes you get at Mr Price Home that house about 18 different sized boxes within? Practical right? It's similar inside this car. Renault have made stowage in all the seats, in the centre consoles front and rear, under the floor in the car and in the boot and under the seats. If this is not a USP for you, then think about the lifestyle of someone who may buy this car. Think of a small family who enjoy Sunday picnics and braais at Delta Park.

Speaking of braais, this car is the official vehicle of the new Pick n Pay Ultimate Braai Master show that starts in September. Make complete sense when you get to know the car.

My summary: Competent, practical, easy to use technology. I'm not sold on the looks which is a biggy, but heck I am sold on everything else including the price and packaging. What other car have I said that about?
AM