| Azlan Othman in San Francisco |
REPRESENTING the Borneo Bulletin recently, I got in gear for an Audi cars’ driving adventure in the city of San Francisco.
I took an S5 Cabriolet and an RS3 for a spin on an exciting sightseeing driving tour around the renown Bay Area (essentially the area encompassing the city of San Francisco and surrounding counties).
San Francisco County is a diverse, dynamic and beautiful region with lively cities, celebrated wine country and outstanding natural wonders.
Breathtakingly quick, these cars have looks, handling and performance, and I had a chance to slide behind the wheel and enjoy a taste of driving perfection.
In addition, I experienced unprecedented braking, handling and acceleration, and explored coastal parklands as well as Napa (California’s world famous Napa Valley Wine Country) before stopping at an outstanding restaurant in Sausalito.
Sausalito is a city in Marin County at the northern part of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge (across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco city). It’s known for its Richardson Bay houseboat enclaves. We also headed to the coast.
Convertibles offer some of the most fun you can have in a sports car.
And as for the car from Ingolstadt, the Audi S5 Cabriolet – with its 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 and 354 horsepower mated with eight-speed automatic – produces lively turbocharged performance.
Skilfully sculpted bonnet and sumptuous red leather upholstery, excellent build quality, effortless acceleration and trustworthy handling can be added to the list of plus points.
Paired with a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic box, it can perform the sprint from 0-62 mph in over five seconds.
In terms of handling, it’s a secure and confident performer that goes about its cornering in a tidy and trustworthy manner.
Audi’s rather splendid Virtual Cockpit system makes the driver feel central to everything, letting you use the satnav (satellite navigation), audio and other functions on a 12.3-inch display.
The rev counter and speedo-meter are visible through the top gap in the sports steering wheel.
Great comfort for front seat occupants comes courtesy of the leather seats, fitted as standard.
With the canvas roof in place, you’re well insulated from the elements, with road and wind noises.
This means it’s also a good cruiser at higher speeds.
When you do feel the outdoors urge, the one-touch open button allows the S5 Cabriolet to transform itself in around 15 seconds to taste open air driving experience.
In this four-passenger S5 soft-top, the multi-layer “acoustic” fabric soft top can be lowered in 15 seconds and closed in 18.
Another car that I test drove, the RS3 is powered by Audi’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine with sport exhaust that delivers 400 horsepower with a tremendous sound.
The standard adaptive suspension balances a firm, responsive ride without being punishing when commuting.
Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) and Virtual Cockpit tech present a flexible and capable combined infotainment interface.
It offers all the awesome tech that we’ve come to love from Audi.
In the RS3, you’ll find the familiar touch-sensitive, knob-based physical controller on the centre console, controlling a seven-inch central screen.
The RS3 also features specific performance screens that are only available on RS models including a lap timer, g-force meter, horsepower and torque readouts and more.
RS3 seven-speed dual-clutch ‘S-tronic’ automatic changes gears quicker and is good for a 0-60 mile-per-hour sprint in just 3.9 seconds and sounds amazing doing so.
Audi RS3 thrilled us at mountain roads while remaining surprisingly comfortable when commuting whilst at the same time delivers power and tackles corners.
This San Francisco car driving experience sends me home with memories to last a lifetime and the Bay Area test drive offers a lot of things to do for a first time visitor from Southeast Asia like me.