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Road Test: ABT AS5R
ABT Sportsline is a well-known player in the world of car tuning and creating highly refined upgrade packages for a large line-up of vehicles. Audi is one of the most important brands for the tuner from Kempten, Germany. For us time to have a closer look at one of their siblings, the 2009 ABT Sportsline AS5-R. To surround the vehicle with the best possible scenery we choose Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as the place to experience the upgraded luxury coupé.
The ABT is based on the S5 a high-performance luxury coupe intended to counter BMW’s growing stockpile of turbocharged sporting machines. The S5’s lines are essentially the same as the A5’s, a number of subtle differences will tip off informed bystanders to the fact that they are looking at a S model. The details include a revised grille, silver-colored side mirrors, quad tailpipes, 19-inch alloy wheels and some S5 badges.
ABT’s take on the vehicle includes usual changes for the engine, looks, suspension, brakes and wheel trim. The ABT AS5-R takes the model’s standard 4.2 liter V8 with 354hp and up rates it to a whopping 510hp. The tuner achieved this by installing ABT POWER R, meaning a change to the engine management and the insertion of an ABT compressor.
The engine upgrade gives a definite boost to the performance of the vehicle. The AS5-R reaches 100km/h (62mph) in 4.5 seconds – 0.4 seconds faster – and continues powerfully up to its maximum speed of 292km/h. In spite of this enormous increase in performance, consumption and thereby emissions still remained at the level of the series-produced vehicle. The free-revving V8 easily spins up to its 7,000rpm red-line at a tip of the throttle pedal. The supercharger offers increase of torque of 620Nm between 3,500-5,400rpm making it ideally suited for blasting down desert roads or trundling down the freeway in rush hour traffic.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the coupé, and a six-speed automatic with manual shift control is optional. On the cabriolet, a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual is the only available transmission. The standard setup of the AS5-R driven in Dubai included the automatic gearbox. A superb setup for the UAE in which an immediate power boost is needed to rescue yourself from dangerous traffic situations or people changing lanes without noticing you. The roller-coaster ride in the Emirates is unique in its kind, but the AS5-R loved it and found its way through the dense traffic easily transporting its passengers with comfort.
After entering the wonderful German-made interior, the next step is pressing the starter button next to the shifter and firing the supercharged V8. Tip into the throttle and a wonderful growl emanates from the four exhaust outlets of the ABT exhaust system. A volume of sound that overwhelms you while driving or waiting in front of the traffic light and which nicely fits the luxury feeling of the S5. Not too much, not too less.
To ensure enough stopping power and to deal with the extra push new brakes are required. ABT outfitted the AS5-R with 380 millimeter-diameter disks providing the corresponding pull on the vehicle. The ABT coil-over suspension also tightens the AS5-R’s grip on the road.
The standard driving impressions of the S5 is one of a sharp-handling car, with more than enough AWD traction and little body roll. It is a classic grand touring car instead of truly focused racer capable of transporting four people. The improvements from ABT change the character of the vehicle merely. The ride is firmer than standard due to the tightened suspension and the 20 inch wheels/tyre combination. However, it is never bumpy and adds itself to the sporty standards of the S5-segment. Especially on the subject of enthusiastic driving steps have been made, without questioning or downgrading the long-distance cruising abilities.
On the outside, changes are clearly visible. Taste is something we will not discuss nor doubt, it is either you love the designs the Germans have come up with or you hate them. It is either one of the two. Their cosmetic do-over includes a new front spoiler and inner fender skirt, new grille, rear skirt and fog lamps. A gill-shaped side air inlets conveys all the heavy breathing this coupé will be doing out on the road. 20 inch BR alloys round out the new sports car look of the AS5-R. Up on request other wheel sets are available.
The interior lacked any changes. Of course, you get Audi’s attractive and high-quality cabin and the excellent front sport seats – one of its strong points. The vehicle driven in Dubai had no additional refinements inside. ABT Sportsline does have some available if requested. There are decorative inlays, floor mats and an aluminum pedal set mentioned on the option list.
The standard package of the Audi S5 is a premium luxury coupé with a sculpted, muscular styling that conveys both power and luxury. ABT Sportsline adds a flavour of sportiness to it without questioning the comfort and cruising abilities. The ride is firm, but it never lost the basic quality setup of the S5. The supercharger upgrade is the only way to go when a decent power improvement is requested. Add the exhaust to the equation and you have a wonderful 500+ package under the hood.
Thanks to Ali & Sons Motors Co. LLC, Dubai UAE.