THE R8 supercar shows most prominently that Audi is serious about getting sporty. But it is another V8-powered Audi that reveals the German brand has bold plans to improve the sportiness of several models across the range. It’s called the S5 and it sits on a new platform that forms the base of the all-new A4 sedan due in mid-2008. Audi has moved the steering column forward for the new platform, which should drastically cut the dreaded ‘rack rattle’ that has plagued most Audis. The S5 is the hot version of the A5 coupe and both models take the game up to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLK coupes. The A5 range currently kicks off at $91,900 for the 3.2 FSI, but will drop to around $70,000 when a 1.8T arrives this May. Sitting well above the A cars is the S5, with a starting price of $131,900. It runs a 4.2-litre V8 that pumps out 260kW and 440Nm and is driven to all four wheels. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

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