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A letter to media
for reading it properly
2017 Audi S5 Coupe review
What is it?
The Audi S5: for now at least, the top-of-the-range medium-hot performance version of the new A5 coupé. With two doors, four seats, a longways engine, permanent centre-diff-based ‘quattro’ four-wheel drive and a torquey turbocharged engine, it’s a car made to a time-honoured mechanical template for Audi. Though it’s powered by six cylinders rather than five-, this is the closest thing to a classic 1980s ‘Ur-Quattro’ that the firm currently makes. And given that people who are in the market for a fast coupé like this are probably just the right age to remember the 1980s with particular fondness, that may not turn out to be an entirely irrelevant factor for wannabe S5 owners.
For this new version, Audi has moved from supercharged V6- to turbocharged V6 power and, having already made weight-savings in the A5’s basic construction, has also made gains on both power and torque. The car doesn’t quite come into the niche in an outstanding position on outright potency, though, thanks to the recent introduction of the bigger-hitting Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupé. And yet it certainly has enough grunt to get your attention: 349bhp, 369lb ft and the potential for 0-62mph in less than 5.0sec.
The S5 also gets its own suspension specification and tune, riding lower still than even sports-sprung versions of the standard A5. But here, Audi’s trick is to mix in greater comfort, refinement and civility than you might get in a more powerful RS model, as well as plenty of dynamic purpose.
Impressive technical and material specification, and advanced onboard technology, are also very much part of the modern Audi S-car’s appeal – the S5 getting LED headlights, heated nappa leather sports seats and an ‘MMI Navigation Plus’ infotainment system as standard.
But just like most of their fellow Audi buyers, S5 customers should still expect to find budget to spend a few thousand pounds on options. Adaptively damped suspension, active-ratio ‘dynamic’ steering, a mechanically locking sport rear differential and Audi’s impressive ‘Virtual Cockpit’ digital instruments are all cost options – and having all four will inflate the cost of what’s already a relatively expensive car by more than £3000.
What's it like?
Fast but not feral; precise-handling but settled- and secure-feeling; gently sonorous at times, but a long way from demonstratively noisy. Just a little bit exciting, then – but never so much as to risk being even vaguely wearing.
The car’s interior sets the tone for the driving experience to come. Ahead of the B-pillar, there’s little that sets the A5’s cabin apart from that of the A4 saloon, but you’re definitely aware of the relatively low driving position of the S5. The car’s mix of cabin materials is a bit subdued, but the quality with which they’re deployed and finished is nothing short of spectacular.
The car’s driver’s seat itself, meanwhile, was a little bit narrow for this tester but softly upholstered, nicely supportive and comfortable. Behind it, occupant space is respectable – but don’t expect to carry fully grown adults very far in the back. A C-Class Coupé is probably marginally more accommodating. But then again, if you’re buying the coupé version of this car rather than the forthcoming ‘Sportback’, you probably won’t find that too much of an imposition.
The V6 engine announces itself quite clearly and tunefully around town, but fades into the background as your speeds increase – only raising its voice after a downshift and a short charge at the redline. Even in a lower-order performance machine, you’d say it could afford to be a bit more effusive.
There’s a hint of softness to the accelerator pedal response, no doubt caused by the combination of turbocharged engine and torque converter automatic gearbox – but it only delays the S5 for an instant. Torque builds much more quickly than from the last S5’s supercharged motor, and the new car feels brisk straight from the off.
You’ll need to lock the car in manual mode to get a clear sense of the engine’s full combustive range; leave it in ‘D’ and the eight-speed gearbox has the same liking for a downshift with almost every change in accelerator pedal position that seems to characterise so many modern cars. But locked in third gear, you’ll feel the engine knuckle down quickly from low revs. It goes slightly flat through the upper-middle part of the tacho’s scale, only to find its breath again over the last 1000rpm of the rev range.
So the motor’s a worthwhile improvement over what it replaces, but it doesn’t always combine brilliantly with the eight-speed gearbox. Overall, we suspect petrolheads will still narrowly prefer either Mercedes-AMG’s new 3.0-litre turbo V6 or BMW’s longer-serving 3.0-litre straight six.
The S5’s chassis, meanwhile, seems to do 90% of what most owners will desire of it very proficiently – but it isn’t a natural entertainer. Even with Audi’s optional sport rear differential in train, our test car wasn’t particularly poised or engaging when cornering – though always grippy, precise and sure-footed.
The car rides quite well: better, in our limited test experience thus far, than any sports-sprung standard A5. It’s fairly firm, but deals with uneven surfaces well enough to make it a credible grand tourer. At least, it does with Audi’s optional adaptive dampers fitted. Those dampers have ‘Comfort, ‘Auto’ and ‘Dynamic’ modes, and we preferred the last of those three modes on the road because it improves close body control without making the eventual compromise harsh or fidgeting. The ride feels under-damped in ‘comfort’, simply allowing the car’s body to heave rather than creating much useful additional compliance.
Audi’s dynamic steering continues to be an obstacle to your enjoyment of the driving experience, because it makes the amount of weight and control feedback through the wheel vary widely. By increasing the steering’s directness at low speeds, it can also make the S5 tricky to place at junctions and around roundabouts. At A-road and motorway speeds it works well enough, though – and before actively avoiding it, we’d strongly advise you try the car’s standard passive steering setup.
Should I buy one?
There’s a convincing case here for anyone looking for a usable, stylish, brisk and unimposing luxury coupé with a smidgeon of sporting edge – but those looking for real involvement from their daily driver should shop elsewhere.
Though its ride shows evidence of a skilled finish, the S5’s handling isn’t as natural, as balanced or as compelling as rivals, some of which show that greater excitement can be delivered with little or no compromise to comfort or all-weather stability.
In future, Audi probably needs to do more with its S-branded cars to successfully counter the threat posed by Mercedes’ more engaging ’43-badged lower-order saloons and coupés. If it can, this performance niche’s newly competitive forces might yet bring us a worthy successor to the original ‘80s Quattro – but they haven't done so for now.
Audi S5 Coupé
On sale now; Price £47,000;
Engine V6, 2995cc, turbocharged petrol;
Torque 369lb ft;
Gearbox 8-spd automatic;
Kerbweight 1615kg; 0-62mph 4.7sec;
Top speed 155mph;
CO2/tax band 170g/km, 31%
Rivals: Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupé, BMW 440i M Sport Coupé
Content Distribution Tools #Notes
When you’re creating useful, actionable, epic content, everyone deserves to see it. So how do you get your hard work and effort seen by the largest audience possible?
The 3 Types of Content Distribution Channels
Before we dive into the tools, let’s start with an overview of content distribution. Essentially, when you distribute your content, you do so in three basic channels.
OwnedEarnedPaidOwned media includes the channels that belong to you, where you control the content. This can be your blog, website, email newsletter, and social media profiles.
Earned media involves others sharing your content. This can take the form of social media shares, guest posts, media coverage, and product reviews.
Paid media is the exposure you pay for, be it pay-per-click ads, display ads, social ads, or otherwise.
When viewed in a Venn diagram, you can see that these channels provide a bit of overlap with one another as content distribution can touch on many different channels for the same piece of content.
With this idea framework in mind, let’s look at some tools that help accomplish content distribution in each of the three major distribution channels: owned, earned, and paid.
The 17 Best Tools for Widespread Content Distribution
We’ve found Buffer to be the simplest way to share your content to your social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can schedule your posts to publish at ideal times (or let Buffer decide when is best), and you can reshare older content by re-buffering straight from the app dashboard.
A new tool for reposting content from your archives, Edgar helps with evergreen promotion by linking to your social channels and sharing old content at a regular drip.
A complete, beautiful email signature that can contain the typical contact information plus a host of other social media, RSS, and content distribution tidbits. You can show your latest tweet or hook up your RSS feed to show your latest blogpost.
Create an email newsletter full of amazing links (including the content of yours you want to distribute). Goodbits lets you drag-and-drop content from a queue made up of any RSS feed you connect as well as any articles you add via the bookmarklet or browser extension. You can then customize, edit, and send to your contacts, including your MailChimp list and segments.
Speaking of email newsletters, MailChimp is one of the biggest and best (and free) ways to send email to your list of contacts. You can set up automated campaigns that deliver each new post that you write, or you can create campaigns from scratch. MailChimp offers free accounts for those with fewer than 2,000 contacts in their list.
The suite of tools offered by the SumoMe WordPress plugin helps considerably with owned media and earned media. For owned media, SumoMe offers list building tools that include a subscription scroll box, a signup bar, list popup, and incentives/giveaways widget.
In terms of earned media, SumoMe makes it easy for others to share images on your blogposts as well as the posts themselves.
7. OnePress Social Locker
This WordPress plugin allows you to lock a portion of your content behind a social share button so that the content can only be accessed once a user shares to Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.
8. Help a Reporter (HARO)
HARO lets you connect with journalists looking for a source. If you’ve got an expertise or experience in a certain area, you can sign up at HARO and a reporter could get in touch!
9. PR Newswire
Got something newsworthy to share? Consider going the press route. PR Newswire can help with distribution of news, announcements, and events to a variety of sources. If you sign up, a rep from PR Newswire will get in touch directly to authorize your account and help with any press release promotion you need.
Build a list about anything—resources for your niche, articles you love, helpful tools, recommended books, etc. Grab links from around the web (including yours), and publish and share—and even embed—your list so that others can see.
Buzzstream provides a host of services that assist with link building. You can find influencers in your niche who may want to share your content, and you can organize outreach efforts all the way from list building to measuring responses.
12. Boomerang for Gmail
Outreach to fellow bloggers and influencers may require a bit of followup. With Boomerang, you can schedule your emails and automate follow-ups.
Writers, authors, and journalists can create a portfolio at Contently, which can then be viewed and shared by just about anyone—readers, social media users, and even potential employers. The Contently platform helps connect content producers with those in need of content, and the service acts as a great way to distribute your own writing in one consistent place.
Collect content from across the web—blogposts, tweets, and more—and place it into a Storify page. We use Storify for recaps of our Bufferchats on Twitter. The service integrates all types of media from videos to articles and everything in between.
Have you ever come across a series of links at the end of an article? Would it be cool to see your content there? You can sign up for this kind of service at Outbrain, which feeds related/interesting content to pages all over the Internet.
Similar services include Disqus, Taboola, Skyword, and SimpleReach. Contently did a great breakdown of the pros and cons (and costs) of these paid channels, and Powered By Search has a list of great options, too.
16. Facebook sponsored posts
In a similar way to Facebook ads, you can pay to have your page’s posts seen by more users on the network. You can boost any post from your page and target the boost to reach a particular demographic of location, age, gender, or interest.
17. Promoted tweets
Like Facebook sponsored posts, you can get more views on your tweets by paying to promote a tweet to a larger audience. This occurs through the Twitter ads dashboard where you can compose an original tweet to promote or grab one from your stream that you’d like more people to see.