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Audi S5 and the original Coupe GT

Today, in an effort to trace the car's lineage, we've brought along Audi's first mass-produced coupe - aptly named the Coupe GT. Many will remember that this car was born from the carmaker's desire to financially capitalize on the rally success of the UR quattro.

Suprisingly, comparing the cars side-by-side, one sees there are many similarities. Both share the same basic proportions, both have proper rear seats (difficult in a sports coupe), both have sunroofs that only lift, and both have rear side windows that don't go down.

Not suprisingly, however, this is where the comparison ends. In short, the Coupe GT is a relatively uncomplicted machine largely based on eighties Volkswagen technology, whereas the Audi S5 is a sophisticated engineering marvel.

But the A5's real genius lies deeper. It is built on a new platform, which will underpin the next-generation A4. Audi engineers made some significant changes in the car's basics that improve its overall driving dynamics when compared with the current A4.

The front differential moves fore of the clutch, letting the engine scoot back farther toward the center of the car, similar to the configuration in the A8. The result is a 58/42 front/rear weight split in front-drive models, 54/46 in those equipped with quattro.

The rack-and-pinion steering system gets relocated lower in the chassis. It combines with an all-new five-link front and trapezoidal rear-suspension setup to let the car respond crisply to driver inputs, transmit a ton of road feel, provide excellent body control through turns and offer all-around sharp, sporty handling.

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