Though perhaps not as widely anticipated as the upcoming R8 sportscar, Audiâ€™s impending A5 coupe is possibly closest to the hearts of the most ardent Audiphiles. Sure, Audi builds another coupe in the form of the TT, but those who lament the long-gone UrQuattro and Coupe quattro models yearn for a spiritual successor. Just such a successor will come as one of the first offerings to make use of Audiâ€™s modular longitudinal vehicle architecture.
What you see here are some of the first photos seen of the upcoming A5 Coupe. Shot by an eagle-eyed Munich realtor, these photos reveal a shape strikingly similar to the Nuvolari concept from 2003. Even with the disguise at front and rear, itâ€™s easy to see the low profile roofline that is considerably more aggressive than Audiâ€™s sedan offerings.
Judging by the exhaust pipes on the black test mule, these are probably A5 mules, and not rumored S5 or RS5 models that are expected to follow with bigger displacement, more cylinders and more exhaust pipes.
Multiple test mules have been photographed by spy photographers over the past few months, most of them such early prototypes that theyâ€™ve worn B7 body pieces grafted on to the car. This is the first actual B8 mule weâ€™ve seen thus far that wears the body expected when it goes into production. Though disguised at the front and rear, the Nuvolari-inspired profile is hard to miss. Other notable details include what looks like new production exterior rearview mirrors with built-in side repeaters. Additionally, it appears the A5 will benefit from Audiâ€™s Open Sky sunroof design, appearing to be fitted on the black test mule.
Exact details on the A5 are still hard to come by. However, the cars are believed to be the first models to spawn from the new so-called B8 platform. The coupe will be followed closely by the next-generation A4, a soft top convertible A5 and the much-rumored Q5 SUV. Contrary to numerous reports in the media, the Q5 will be based on this new modular architecture and not on components shared by the Volkswagen Touareg or Volkswagen Tiguan.
Simply calling the platform B8 might be a bit of a misnomer. Like the Volkswagen Groupâ€™s current transverse architecture that scales from Golf to Passat and mixes in aluminum variants like the new TT, the new scalable chassis with longitudinally mounted engine is expected to provide components for everything from the next-generation A4 sedan, Q5 and A5 coupe to the next-generation A6, A8 and the rumored A7 4-door coupe.
The new architecture should benefit dynamically from a more aggressively placed engine that will be mounted further back in the chassis to help front to rear weight bias. This was achieved through Audiâ€™s development of new gearbox and front differential positioning that has made it possible to move the front axle forward by roughly four inches.
It will also mean more easily shared parts, something that will help Audiâ€™s profitability and broaden the potential for drivetrain and component sharing â€“ making a wider range of drivetrain and option offerings for discerning customers.
How extensive could use of this chassis be? Well, there are two Lamborghini projects that are said to be under consideration that also would use this component set if they see production. First would be a 5-seater Lamborghini SUV, sharing most with the Q5, but fitted with the Gallardoâ€™s V10. Second is a modern-day Lamborghini GT with engine in the front, perhaps with a wagon back and dusted off â€œEspadaâ€ nomenclature.
As the B8 grows nearer to production, it is certain that more and more test mules will begin to appear. As seen in the R8, Audi is not shy about testing their cars in camera-friendly environments such as the Nurburgring and the American Southwest.Â [Fourtitude]