Next techno ticks
Next month, new Audi A5 and S5 four-door “coupes” arrive seven years after the original. As with most new Audis, the exterior styling changes are subtle but the company says the cabin is noticeably roomier, with more front shoulder room and rear knee room. The other big difference is the availability of Audi’s virtual cockpit, a highresolution digital screen that replaces the old-fashioned speedo and tacho dials and displays the satnav map directly in front of the driver. The A5 and the sportier S5 also pick up Audi’s new “traffic jam assistant”, which can accelerate and brake — and steer if the road markings are clear enough — at up to 65km/h. Pricing should remain static but the value equation will be stronger. Expect the A5’s engines to mirror the A4, with the base front-drive model powered by a 2.0-litre petrol, while more expensive models will be available with a diesel and a more powerful petrol engine, each all-wheel drive. The S5 should be a hoot, with a turbo V6 putting out roughly 260kW.
Our most popular SUV gets a midlife makeover that includes new technology and a new look. Prices are expected to rise slightly on the cheaper models to compensate for more standard equipment. A new model, the Touring, will slot in between the Maxx Sport and GT, which are $7000 apart at the moment. Tech advances will include cruise control that can brake to a standstill and accelerate off the mark, highbeam headlights that dim to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic and satnav that recognises traffic signs. The maker has also responded to criticism of the last model; there will be aircon vents for the second row, electric tailgate on more expensive models and reduced noise and vibration in the cabin.
After launching a city runabout and hatchback, Chinese brand MG ventures into SUVs late this month. The GS is roughly the size of a Mazda CX-5 and the base front-drive model will be powered by a 1.5-litre turbo matched to a seven-speed dualclutch auto. It starts at $25,990 RRP but don’t be surprised if that becomes the drive-away price. The GS has six airbags and stability control but gets a four-star crash rating, an improvement on other Chinese models but still shy of what is expected these days. There’s a generous six-year warranty with six years of roadside assistance. So far buyers haven’t exactly flocked to the brand — the MG6 sold just 90 in February, its first month on sale, while the MG3 lured only 12.