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Audi S5 and the original Coupe GT

In the S5, with its standard quattro all-wheel drive splitting torque 40/60 front/rear, the already neutral handling feels even sharper, its stiffer springs eating up corners while additional cross-bracing lends an amazing rigidity to the chassis. The S5 also benefits from standard 18-inch shod in 245/40 rubber that never give up grip.

When pushed hard the S5's tires have a lot to deal with 354 bhp. By directing these to all four corners from its 4.2-liter, direct-injection V8, things are always kept under control.

An adapted rerision of the R8 supercar's engine, the 4.2 reaches a torque peak of 325 lb-ft at 3500 rpm, with 85 percent available at 2000 rpm. The maker claims all that power allows the S5 to run from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.1 seconds. More importantly, you'll find power anywhere you look for it, in any of the manual tranny's six gears and at virtually every rev.

The regular A5 gets a reworked 3.2-liter V6, now with a variable lift cam system to improve both output and fuel consumption. Rated at 265 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque, the 3.2 will pull the A5 from a standstill to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds, Audi says. When we drove the "eight-speed" CVT-equipped front-drive A5, the simulated shift points actually produced a clunking sound on upshifts in automatic mode, though switching over to manual control erased the effect, making its operation feel similar to that of a DSG. Also available stateside will be a quattro-equipped A5 with the six-speed manual in place of the CVT.

Standard equipment across the lineup is generous, including an electric parking brake and power opening trunk. Among the options are a keyless remote that stores data such as the odometer reading on the key fob, three-zone climate control, a panorama roof, Bang & Olufsen audio and a rear parking aid.

Pricing for the S5 begins at roughly $60,000.

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