First Drive: 2010 MTM Audi S5 Cabriolet

#Audi, #S5

The S5's driveline, including the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system, remain untouched. MTM instead institutes a series of mild chassis tweaks. New coil springs lower the ride height by an inch, while the front brakes are replaced with 15-inch rotors. Our test car had four-piston calipers, but MTM has since adopted a new package that fits massive eight-piston calipers up front.

Cosmetically, MTM's S5 is fairly restrained. Apart from bold side stripes, a lowered ride height, and new exhaust tips, the only visual departure from the stock S5 Cabriolet are the 20-inch, nine-spoke forged aluminum wheels, which are wrapped in 265/30/20 Michelin Pilot Sport 2 rubber.

A Seamless Transition
The modifications are mild, perhaps, but it still takes both skill and finesse to implement them in a seamless fashion. MTM's execution is flawless; everything looks, feels, and functions as if it were engineered by Audi itself. Cars equipped with Audi's Drive Select controller, for instance, still retain their variable settings; MTM's 430 horsepower is only fully unleashed once the driver selects the sport setting.

Although it's a big jump from 333 to 430 horsepower, the tuned S5 doesn't feel as if there's 100 extra horsepower packed into the engine compartment. High-end power is improved, and the revised exhaust emits an impressive bark, but the car doesn't feel remarkably quicker right off the line. We'd love to see MTM work some magic on the dual clutch gearbox; tuning its initial launch response may improve upon our seat-of-the-pants sensation.

Mixing lowered springs, low-profile tires, and Michigan's notoriously bad roadways often yields a harsh ride and uncomfortable passengers, but we were pleasantly surprised by the S5's behavior over broken tarmac. Ride quality was firm yet compliant, but we did notice some additional cowl flex, which incites some additional rattles and squeaks within the cabin when the top is raised.

I can think of a LOT of other two door convertible vehicles I would rather own for a price tag of $95K. All of them capable of matching or besting the performance of this modified Audi.I think you guys nailed it right on the head. I too think that with 4WD and 430HP, launch control should give you Panameraesque performance off the line. I think it was a missed opportunity and would have cost a lot less to implement for the payback in potential performance.

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