The Audi A5: The Body

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April 16, 2007

Source: Audi AG

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Spacious, safe and solid

A coupe must naturally have a fascinating shape to charm the motoring fan’s senses. On that score, the Audi A5’s sporty, elegant design can hardly fail. Yet its metal structure also has equally impressive tangible qualities: it offers plenty of space, is extremely safe and has a combination of outstanding rigidity and good aerodynamics as a sound basis for the car’s excellent handling.

As a true gran turismo and a comfortable sports tourer, the Audi A5 cossets its occupants with a spacious luxury interior. At a length of 4.63 metres and with its long wheelbase of 2.75 metres it offers ample space for four passengers and their luggage, even on long trips. The driver and front passenger benefit from an interior width of 1.38 metres, and up to 99 centimetres are available between the seat surface and the roof. That makes for a relaxed feeling of space without a loss of contact with the vehicle.

Luggage space with plenty to spare

The spaciousness of the A5 interior not only benefits the front seats; in the rear, too, the A5 is a full-size touring car, even with its sporty, elegant coupe shape. Here the passengers enjoy an interior width of 1.34 metres and a usable height of 91 centimetres in addition to the ergonomically shaped rear seat bench. The extended forward-folding function for the front seats – easy entry – allows comfortable access to the second row, either as a manually operated version or with electric seat adjustment.

The luggage compartment volume of 455 litres means there is always space to spare for a bit of extra shopping, even on a long tour. The loading width of one metre allows easy stowage of large items of luggage, and even well-filled golf bags will fit crossways into the Audi A5 boot.

The boot lid is beautifully easy to use. It gently swings open on its special hinged arms when you press lightly on the soft touch release in the handle recess, on the interior door panel or the remote control unit, and it can be closed again with little effort.

Exemplary anti-theft protection

And should you need even more than the basic luggage volume, the rear seat back, lockable from the interior with two locks, folds down in two sections. You can then make use of the maximum load capacity of 829 litres. A load-through hatch including a ski bag is available as an optional extra. Both sections of the seat back are released using a lever in the luggage compartment – a solution that is very handy to use.

Like all current Audi models, the A5 has exemplary perimeter security and anti-theft protection, owing, for instance, to the sophisticated design of the doors and locks and the ingenious logic of the engine immobiliser. Since it is not possible to give any details on a sensitive issue of this kind, the verdict of an impartial specialist is called for: the Thatcham Institute serving British insurers tests the cars on the market every year and has awarded Audi the highest possible score of five stars for anti-theft protection. An anti-theft alarm is also available with interior monitoring and a tow-away protection feature using a tilt angle sensor.

Safety concept based on real-life accident research

In the event of an accident, the Audi A5 provides the exemplary safety you would expect. Its structure is optimised for crashworthiness and there is an improved range of safety equipment, including new features, to guarantee optimum protection for the car’s occupants. Audi has developed the overall safety concept with findings drawn from actual accidents: the Audi Accident Research Unit examines real road traffic accidents throughout the world and analyses accident databases.

The unit’s highly specialised engineers use these findings to formulate guidelines for their colleagues to apply in the design of new models. Right from the conceptual design phase, the requirements defined are simulated on a computer and over the course of a vehicle’s development a special team drawn from various departments continuously assesses the protective effect afforded by the body structure, the interior and the restraint systems.

In the A5 the result is a comprehensive safety package, which, of course, includes pedestrian protection, but especially takes the possibility of a roll-over accident into account: the roof pillars and the frame are designed to provide the best possible passenger survival space if the car rolls over. To achieve this, the newly developed high-strength and highest-strength steels are used extensively in the construction of the passenger compartment.

For the driver and front passenger the Audi A5 has two full-size airbags, which inflate in two stages, and thorax/pelvis side airbags. Additional protection is provided by the sideguard head airbag system for all four occupants and the optimised design of the seat structure, the seat components and, above all, the head restraint geometry and position for the front seats. In the optimised seat design, especially shaped seatbacks and head restraints protect the upper body and head in a rear collision. To ensure the best possible protection for young passengers, the rear seats are equipped with fittings for the ISOFIX child seat mounting system. This is also available as an optional extra for the front passenger seat, in combination with a deactivation switch for the front passenger airbag.

Additional sensors for more precise airbag triggering

In addition to the usual acceleration sensor in the airbag control unit, the Audi A5 also has two extra sensors under the headlights. In a head-on collision they are able to register the relevant data a few milliseconds earlier than the central sensor, thus enabling the system to more precisely control the triggering of the airbags. The same applies in a side impact: in this case, the system uses additional acceleration sensors close to the C pillars and pressure sensors mounted in the doors. They optimise the triggering process of the side airbags positioned in the seats and the large-volume sideguard head airbag system.

Adaptive frontal restraint systems (belt force limiters and front passenger airbag) are a new feature introduced with the Audi A5. They adjust their protective functions to the occupant’s sitting position to reduce the specific load acting on the body. The belt and airbag work in combination with a newly developed safety steering column with an integrated sliding mechanism and damping function.

Audi has a long-established practice of improving vehicle safety on an advanced engineering level requiring extensive fine tuning of all details. For example: in the fuel system great importance was attached to protection against leakage in the event of a rear collision. The tank was therefore not only positioned for optimum safety, but the routing of all fuel lines also was designed for crash safety. Moreover, the system is equipped with a sensor-controlled fuel cut-off plus an additional safety valve to prevent fuel loss in a roll-over.

However, not every crash is quite that severe. The vast majority of accidents result in damage to the vehicle only. When this is the case, simple and low-cost repair is important. The combination of weight-optimised cross members at the front and rear and aluminium deformation elements can prevent any damage to the actual body structure at impact speeds of up to 20 km/h. Thanks to bolted fastenings, damaged bumper systems can be replaced quickly and at low expense.

New types of steel, latest technologies

The extremely high bodyshell rigidity, typical of an Audi, provides the basis not only for superior accident safety, but also for the car’s crisp handling and its agreeable feeling of solidness and comfort. In the development of the A5, the engineers have successfully combined supreme sporty performance and agility with outstanding vibrational comfort. The car’s lightweight body construction was achieved using the latest technologies, such as highest-strength varieties of steel, metal plates with varying wall thicknesses or material qualities (tailored blanks), combined spot welded and bonded joints, and the use of aluminium, for example, in the front wings. A galvanised body has for many years been a matter of course at Audi and the 12-year warranty against rust perforation testifies to its effectiveness.

Elaborate fine tuning in the wind tunnel

A sporty, elegant design combined with extremely good aerodynamics characterises the shape of the Audi A5. Put in figures, the highly competitive drag coefficient of approximately 0.29 reflects the extensive fine tuning carried out in the wind tunnel. The Audi A5 also owes its low wind noise and reduced body soiling, for instance on the mirrors, to work done here. Underbody panelling that produces a largely smooth surface is an important element in good aerodynamics: it reduces overall wind resistance by roughly 13 percent. One small but typical example of the extensive high-precision work carried out in the wind tunnel can be seen in the spoilers moulded into the sides of the tail lights. They provide a defined airflow separation and are also integrated perfectly into the lines of the body design.

Low wind noise is vital for good long-distance comfort in a touring coupe. On this score, the Audi A5 attains the level of a luxury-class saloon car. The relative quiet prevailing in the cabin even at high speeds is thanks to important aspects such as the body’s superb airflow characteristics, its frameless doors with two consecutive lines of seals, the excellent aeroacoustics of the bow-type door handles and the aero wipers, which are hidden below the bonnet.

Perfection down to the smallest details

A few small ingenious features of these windscreen wipers: the windscreen wipers are “parked” in the invisible area below the edge of the bonnet, underscoring their sophisticated design and their high-quality look, while also improving the driver’s field of vision. The wiper motors’ electronic control system brakes the wiper movement before the end of each sweep. This reduces wiper blade wear and wiping noise. In addition, when the wiper blades are returned to their resting points, they are positioned slightly differently each time as this enhances their durability. As you can see, perfection is reflected in every detail.

The panoramic tilting sunroof is an additional highlight of the interior – thanks to its extra-large area, the electric glass roof gives the interior of the A5 a generous feeling of light and space.

Using the central locking or the remote control in the vehicle key, you can close the panoramic tilting sunroof from outside the car via its convenience feature. A steplessly adjustable sun blind provides the necessary protection against the summer heat. An electrically operated blind for the rear window can also be added. It moves on rails on the sides of the window and covers the entire surface of the glass.

Article Index:

At-a-GlanceDesignInteriorBodyEnginesRunning GearEquipmentCustomizationAudi S5S5 Engine and Running GearS5 Design and Interiors

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AudiWorld Discussion Forum: Audi A5 / S5

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