Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mini Road Trip

Last week I drove over the mountains and down into the desert for an over-nighter to watch the meteor showers.  The sky where I live, by the oceanfront, is usually overcast at night, so if you want to have clear skies for viewing the Geminid meteor showers, you want to head to the desert.

Well, it was a good excuse to take my new car on a fun road trip.  Although it was less than 90 minutes, each way, it has some fun long stretches of relatively open country roads, as well as plenty of curves, and up and down grades of serious proportions.

It was a great drive.  Epic.

The essence of driving, for me, is the same as the essence of flying.  It's all about the ability to instantaneously create, and modulate, full body G-forces, while moving at high speed, and while simultaneously solving a real-time 3-D navigation puzzle under constantly changing conditions.

The best part is the G-forces.  The all-over body feeling of heaviness, the pressure of being thrown back into your seat, to one side or the other.  This, and the constant steering, flexes the arms and shoulders, and that just plain feels good.

Audi notes:  I want more horsepower (of course).  Best: the grip of all four wheels being powered, and working together.  The software that applies the power is very strong.  "Dynamic Mode" is the best for these roads.  And it's more fun too.  18mpg.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


It's kinda dark down by my feet, so I think I need some shiny pedals.  Check out this source for custom made sport pedals: http://www.ultimatepedals.com/

Friday, December 17, 2010

PURE excellence!

It was a real pleasure to work with PURE Motor Sport in San Diego to get the new grille installed.  For several reasons:

1.  the price was good, not just for the grille, but install as well.
2.  the grille arrived much faster than anticipated.
3.  the install was quick and easy.
4.  follow up work on a loose wire was done fast, and no charge.

What impressed me most of all was the install.  I was quoted 85 bucks for the job, but when Michael (the owner) started in on the work, I noticed that there is a wide bright aluminum bar directly behind the grille which would be visible and distracting from the overall finished look.  I asked if he could spray paint some black on it, and maybe also on the aluminum radiator.  He looked around and found some paint, masked off the entire area, and lay on several coats to do the job right.

When it came time to pay the bill, all he wanted was the original 85 bucks, and never mentioned a word about the extra labor and paint.  Now that's a classy move!

Thanks, Michael, I'll be back for more work...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Grille Decision

Today I ordered the replacement grille, from PURE Motor Sport in San Diego. And while I was there I splurged on a set of shiny "sport pedals". The grille has to be shipped in from Europe, and it just might make it here in time to brighten up my Christmas driving.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


This is about the best sound I've heard for the S5.  Check out the video and see/hear if you agree:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Audi Quattro Will Be Produced!

Spotted recently on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, it was confirmed that the car will go into production.  See the story here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First service list

Just a reminder list for when I take it in for the first service:

1.  Transmission - in "Auto" mode, first shift from standstill seems slow
2.  Driver's side door doesn't close easily
3.  Windshield washer - over-sprays the hood
4.  Wind noise (?) by left window

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Audi Improvement Program

0.  Replace grille with RS5 version.
1. iPhone mount/charging station, so iPhone will display the photo of the person who is calling.
    Referral by Miramar Audi salesrep Kevin Kao:

La Jolla Audio does high-end custom audio work for many differnt prestige brands and we've recommended them to many customers for some special auto electonic needs.

2. reprogram (remap) the computer for better performance
3. exhaust system for better sound and performance
4. pin striping
5. webcam(s)
6. hi-def backup camera, put on switch (not just backing up)
7. upgraded brakes: Brembo with drilled rotors
8. De-badge
9. add wheel spacers (20mm rear, 5mm front)

I like my Audi because...

1. The name "Audi" is not to be found anywhere on the car. It's not that I don't like the name Audi, it's that I don't like a lot of exterior badging, and I like that Audi obviously doesn't need to tell the world that it's an Audi. If you don't know, then you probably won't be getting one.
2. It's black. I never had an all-black car.
3. All wheel drive feels great on the turns.
4. Seats are the best of any car I've owned.
5. Steering wheel is the best of any car I've owned.
7. The backup camera is ingenious.
8. Trunk space is enormous, with fold down rear seats. I could sleep in it!
9. The engine looks like an engine!
10. "Dynamic" setting for steering, transmission, suspension.
11. Paddle shifters.

I wish my Audi had:

1. Another hundred horsepower. So I guess I'll add a chip, and exhausts.
2. Better interior controls. Layout and function could be improved.
3. Keyless entry and start. That option available, but not on this car. :(
4. Grille without a license plate holder built in. Germans use them. I don't. So I guess I'm going to replace the grille with one made for the RS5, still not available in the US.
5. Rear side windows pop out. Totally unimportant, but still...
6. Front opening moon roof. That would be big.
7. Paddle shifters that are stationary and not move with the steering wheel, so I can shift while cornering.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Window Tinting

I asked the dealer service manager for a recommendation for getting it done. I didn't want to take a chance on some random search results. I was told to call Don Durant at 619-804-0238, who has been tinting windows for 16 years. He comes to where the car is, saving time and hassle.

The car looks so much better with the windows tinted.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Video of Audi S5 road test

First, a look at the exterior design.
Audi wanted beautiful lines, so they hired an Italian designer:

Next, a look at the interior:

And now, performance:

Grille Improvement


Improved Version

The upgraded Audi S5 is the Audi RS5, which is not yet available in the USA, but it has a grille much like the one shown as "Improved Version". A much cleaner design, in my opinion. Available from Europrice.com at *only* 1085.81 which seems kinda pricey for a whole lot of empty space! But it looks soooo good...

Another option, below, is the flashier matte aluminum finish:

Friday, November 5, 2010

First Wash

I was in a rush to get it clean.
I should have known better,
but I took it to Rancho Car Wash, Del Mar, CA.


Arrived 1:22 PM
Drive Away 2:00 PM

Water streaks along the sides when I get home.
I don't want to have to detail the car after a wash.

So I called Bobby Kik at Kik Mobile Detailing and set up a schedule for wash and detail, etc.
He will come to the car and I can save about an hour of my time.

Life is too short to mill about at a car wash.
Just Say No To Random Events!

Fitted Luggage

The car has a serious trunk, far superior to many previous cars. To make the huge space more manageable Amazon.com just delivered soft-sided duffel bags in black cotton. Very inexpensive. These bags will completely disappear in the back, keeping a very organized look to the space. The cotton fabric will keep the bags from sliding around. I'll add some contrasting bungee cords for extra security.

Rear View

The "101" in the license plate refers to California Highway 101, one of the world's finest roads for people who love to drive.

Photo by Grant Freeman at Electronic Printing Solutions.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Audi S5 Specs

2011 Audi S5 4.2 Coupe Performance & Efficiency Standard Features
Engine: 4.2L V 8 double overhead cam with VVT ( 11.4 :1 compression ratio ; four valves per cylinder)
Fuel: premium unleaded ( 91 octane)
Fuel consumption: city= 16 (mpg); highway= 24 (mpg); combined= 19 (mpg); range: 316 miles
Gasoline direct injection fuel system
16.6 gallon fuel tank
Power: 354 HP ( 264 kW) @ 7,000 rpm; 325 ft lb of torque ( 441 Nm) @ 3,500 rpm
2011 Audi S5 4.2 Coupe Handling, Ride & Braking Standard Features
Brake assist system
Four disc brakes including four ventilated discs
Electronic brake distribution
Electronic traction control via ABS & engine management
Center limited slip differential
Spacesaver steel rim spare wheel
Stability control
Multi-link front and rear suspension independent with stabilizer bar and coil springs
2011 Audi S5 4.2 Coupe Exterior & Aerodynamics Standard Features
Painted front and rear bumpers
Day time running lights
Driver power heated alloy door mirrors indicator lights, passenger power heated alloy door mirrors with automatic indicator lights
External dimensions: overall length (inches): 182.1, overall width (inches): 73.0, overall height (inches): 54.0, wheelbase (inches): 108.3, front track (inches): 62.5, rear track (inches): 62.1 and curb to curb turning circle (feet): 37.4
Electric foldable mirrors
Front fog lights
Headlight cleaners
Projector beam lens Xenon bulb headlights
Luxury trim leather on gearknob, alloy on doors and alloy on dashboard
Black paint
Fixed rear window with defogger
Trunk/hatch spoiler
Glass remote front sunroof
Weights: curb weight (lbs) 3,935
Windshield wipers with automatic intermittent wipe and rain sensor
2011 Audi S5 4.2 Coupe Interior Standard Features
12v power outlet: front and rear
Air conditioning with fully automated climate control 2 and auto
Diversity antenna
Interior monitoring anti-lift anti-theft protection
Front and rear ashtray
Manufacturer's own RDS audio system with satellite and CD player CD player reads MP3 and digital media card
Cargo capacity: all seats in place (cu ft): 12.0
Front seats cigar lighter
Coming home device
Computer with average speed, average fuel consumption, instantaneous fuel consumption and range for remaining fuel
Floor and overhead console
Delayed/fade courtesy lights
Cruise control
Front seats and rear seats cup holders
External temperature
Floor mats
Driver front airbag with multi-stage deployment, passenger front airbag with occupant sensors, occupant switch off and multi-stage deployment
Sports heated electrically adjustable driver and passenger seat with height adjustment, lumbar adjustment, thigh support, six adjustments and tilt adjustment electric, electric, electric and manual
Height adjustable 3-point reel front seat belts on driver seat and passenger seat with pre-tensioners
Front seat center armrest
Garage door opener
Two head restraints on front seats, two height adjustable head restraints on rear seats
Headlight control with dusk sensor
Heated washer
Internal dimensions: front headroom (inches): 39.1, rear headroom (inches): 36.0, front shoulder room (inches): 54.3, rear shoulder room (inches): 52.8 and interior volume (cu ft): 84.0
Low tire pressure indicator
Remote power locks includes trunk/hatch, includes power windows and speed sensing
Vehicle speed proportional power steering
Front power windows with two one-touch
Front and rear reading lights
3-point reel rear seat belts on driver side and passenger side
Rear seat center armrest with trunk access
Two symmetrical bench/sports front facing rear seats with zero adjustments
Rear view mirror
Steering wheel mounted remote audio controls
Remote control remote trunk/hatch release
Front and rear side curtain airbag
Leather seat upholstery with additional leather
Seating: four seats
Service interval indicator
Front side airbag
Ten speaker(s) manufacturer's own
Leather covered steering wheel with tilt adjustment and telescopic adjustment
Illuminated driver and passenger vanity mirror
Ventilation system with micro filter and active carbon filter
Voice activating system includes phone

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/cars/2011/audi/s5/42_coupe/2911/specifications/index.html#ixzz14eqNwH6F

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Saturday morning, October 30. They say the best time to buy a new car is at the end of the month, when the dealer has the last few chances to sell a car and make a commission. The rent is due, they need the sale. So they should be more willing to let it go for a better price.

Well, that's the theory.

But this is the first S5 coupe they have had in over a month, and the next one will take another month from now. That means they can get a better price. And to make matters worse for me, the car just arrived at the dealership yesterday, and they have a list of people who want to see it.

I was at a distinct disadvantage.

My victory is that I got a reasonable discount considering the circumstances, but the Good News is that I drove the car home the first day it was available to view because I was the first person to show up and offer to buy it. The other guys who missed out were probably put off by all the rain that passed through the area this morning. I stayed in touch with the dealer sales rep and arrived just after the rain stopped. You snooze, you lose, guys.

Selling dealer: Miramar Audi, Miramar Rd., San Diego
The salesman on the deal was Kevin Kao. A good man.

Friday, October 29, 2010


The Audi salesman called, the S5 has been delivered. It's late in the day, it still needs to be prepped and cleaned. We plan for me to see it tomorrow.

I had been waiting several weeks for this car to arrive. The next one they get will be another month away.

This one is Black Phantom Pearl. The next one is Brilliant black.
I don't want to wait for the Brilliant, so I'm hoping the Phantom Pearl is okay.
Actually, I'm hoping that nobody else shows up tonight and buys the car.
The sales rep suggested weeks ago that I just buy the car sight unseen so that I can be sure to get it, but I resisted while I looked at a few other options. I was only interested in a coupe, no convertibles, and definitely not a 4-door sedan.

My requirements were for a driver's road machine, for daily use, something that was definitely sporty, good power, paddle shift, fun to drive and all while being upscale and yet toned down. Nothing flashy, but yet very substantial. Something that would be presentable enough for a meeting a Venture Capitalist, and yet not compete with his Bentley Continental GTC Speed. I think the Audi S5 hit the target.

Here are the cars on my short list.

The Audi S5. A good friend owns one. He bought it for European delivery, at the factory in Germany. Then he drove it all over Europe, and even down into Morocco. Then he had it shipped home to San Diego. He loves it. I have liked the car a lot, but never drove it. When he heard I was serious about buying a new car, he let me drive it for a bit, and I just loved the road feel with the all-wheel drive. It reminded me a lot of my old Mitsubishi 3000 GT VR4 twin turbo. Both have a great feeling through the turns and at the light. The steering wheel on the Audi is better than anything I have experienced. And the seats are just right. We stopped over to his local Audi dealer but they didn't have one on the lot, and didn't really know when they would get one, maybe a couple more months! So he introduced me to another dealer, closer to me, and while they didn't have one on the lot, they could tell me about two they had on order that should be available within a month. While I waited, I looked at some other cars I had in mind...

The Jaguar XK-R 175. There was a really stunning example just in at Hoehn in Carlsbad. They only come in black, with cranberry stitching on the black leather interior. I really like the suede headliner. They wouldn't let anyone test drive the car, but they did have another one that I could test drive, a red one. It was really a hot ride with 500+ horses! On the downside, it was the only Jag dealer in town, and they were brand new, operating out of temporary buildings while the showroom was being built. The Jaguar manufacturer had recently been bought by Tata, in India, the builder of sub 3,000 dollar cars for the massive Indian market. It seemed like a disconnect to me, and I wondered how the two different market philosophies could co-exist without the Jag service suffering. Lots of unknowns. I really liked the car, but at 105,000 bucks, it seemed a tad over-priced. I have owned 3 different Jags over the years, so the XKR didn't get my juices going that much. I needed something different.

The Aston-Martin DB9. A good friend owns one of these. I love the car unreservedly. And it's a V-12. He let me drive it for a week to see if I liked it, and if I wanted it, he would make me a good deal on it. He has owned it for 5 years and it has only 13,000 miles on it. And it's flawless. Unfortunately, it is also out of warranty, and the nearest dealer is 75 miles away in Newport Beach. The front end is very low, so it smacks on speed bumps in residential areas. An absolutely great car, but just not for daily driving around town. I hated to give it back.

The Cadillac CTS-V. Good friend Dave Newhardt, who gets to drive every new car in his profession as an automobile photographer, told me that if he won the lottery this is the car he would buy. I took a look at them, and just didn't like the lines of it. I hear that it is an outrageously powerful car, but it's just not me.

The Mustang. I'm a Ford guy. My father was a Ford dealer in Philly. I grew up with Fords. I've had at least 3 different Mustangs over the years, the first one in 1964, the first year they were built. I like the cars a lot. But I was looking for something I hadn't owned before.

So many neat cars, and I have only one parking spot! I guess I should get a bigger home, so I can have room for more cars. Well, I have been there, done that, and it has a tendency to get out of hand, so I need to choose well and stick with it for a while.