Kamis, 08 Maret 2007

BMW E92 M3 concept, Audi A5 pictures and information












In an ambitious plan spanning two continents and nine time zones, Audi will take the wraps of what drive.com.au understands will be the sporty 'S5' version of the A5 Coupe just minutes after the world's media sees it half a world away.

The A5 reveal happens at 8am Tuesday, March 6 in Geneva (6pm Tuesday Melbourne time). The S5 will be uncovered at the Melbourne exhibition centre exactly 30 minutes later, at 6.30pm.

The reveal of Audi's stunning S5, powered by a 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine, marks the end of an ambitious and aggressive Melbourne motor show rollout which saw the debut of four new models.

In addition to the S5, Australia got their first chance to see the S3 hot hatch, TT Roadster and Allroad wagon.

Photos of the A5 and S5 coupe were leaked in late February, as was much of the information surrounding the all-new pair.

Aimed squarely at the BMW 3 Series coupe and the Mercedes-Benz CLK coupe, the A5 is the first car to be developed on Audi's new platform, which will eventually spawn many new models including the next-generation A4 and a Q5 4WD.

Former Audi and now Volkswagen Group chief designer Walter de Silva has been quoted as saying the A5 is the most beautiful car he has ever styled. That's significant considering his resume includes such beauties as Alfa's elegant 156.

Audi's simultaneous reveal of the A5/S5 at Geneva and Melbourne doesn't trump Ford and Peugeot. The former debuted the Mondeo and the latter the 207 CC and GTi at Melbourne ahead of Geneva.

While Audi will show the S5 in Melbourne, it will launch the car for sale at the Sydney motor show later in the year. Audi Australia managing director Joerg Hofmann confirmed the first model to go on-sale would be the V8-powered S5 sporting flagship.

"We want to get the S5 on-sale before the end of the year, maybe the final quarter," he said.

"The A5 is a very important car for us. Previously we have the TT and now the R8. But we have not had a mid-sized sports car. Finally we are able to close that gap with a design that I think is one of the best you will ever see."

He estimates Audi could sell 800 A5s in Australia in a full year when the range is fleshed out. It is another step in the company's mid-term goal of 10,000 sales per annum.

The A5's dimensions sit between the current A4 and A6 models, with its 4630mm body 44mm longer and 286mm shorter than the mid-size and large-size Audis respectively.

Audi claims its new coupe is a genuine four-seater, and the A5 sits on an all-new platform. Engines will include two all-new petrol engines, a 3.2-litre V6 FSI petrol engine (195kW) and a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo (125kW).

There will also be a revised version of the company's 3.0-litre TDI (up 5kW to 176) plus a 2.7-litre V6 TDI (140kW). The 1.8 turbo and 2.7 TDI A5s will be front-drive: the 3.0 TDI and 3.2 FSI versions employ Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system.

This is it, the new King of the Road. BMW last night unveiled this "concept" car at the Geneva Motor Show, but any revhead who knows how to spell "benchmark" will recognise it as the next M3. There are likely to be few, if any, differences between this show model and the E92 M3, which has been in gestation for some time.

We already know the basics. The E92 will break with tradition and move away from the tried and true straight-six engine layout and adopt a V8. The race to 300 kilowatts and beyond among the European prestige car makers has seen all the main contenders offer an eight-cylinder engine.

No details about the new BMW engine are available, apart from the fact that it will be "high-revving", but there are some guidelines. The 335i 3-Series coupe features a twin-turbocharged straight-six that makes 225 kW and 400 Nm, sufficient to push the 335i's acceleration close to the current 252 kW M3.

The V8 will need extra urge if it is to maintain a decent performance edge over its sibling, so 300 kW is considered a starting point.

BMW has taken its time to perfect the E92 and the opposition has not been standing still. Audi's RS4 has astonishing V8 performance, Mercedes-Benz is preparing a 6.2-litre C-Class and Lexus is about to transform its one sports sedan, the IS250, with a 5.0-litre V8.

The E92 will have to hit 100 km/h in five seconds to be taken seriously in this company. That's supercar performance previously only found in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini.

While it has always been hard to hide the giant rubber that glues M3s to the road, BMW has tried to exercise restraint when it comes to exterior adornment in the past. But the V8 engine needs so much air that BMW has had to enlarge both the front air intakes and also cut holes in the bonnet.

Now made of aluminium, the bonnet features a "powerdome" between two air outlets. These augment the now-traditional gills on the front mudguards that distinguish all Ms.

The coupe's other lid, the roof, has come in for weight-saving treatment, although this time BMW chose the more technically challenging idea of inserting a plastic roof with carbon-fibre reinforcing, as it does on the M6 Coupe. The unpainted roof is said to lower the car's centre of gravity and its overall weight, the enemy of acceleration.

The only panels shared with the 3 Series coupe donor vehicle are the doors and the bootlid.

"The concept revealed at the Geneva Motor Show is more than a hint of what we can expect to be driving soon," said Guenther Seemann, BMW Australia's managing director.

sourced from drive information.

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