It's hard to remember now, but 20 years ago, Audi was on the ropes...its relatively unsexy image (think German Volvo) bludgeoned by the ham-handed crew at CBS' 60 Minutes, which breathlessly informed the world of a problem called "unintended acceleration"...where no matter how hard the hapless driver stood on the brakes, the car went roaring off...usually through the back wall of the garage.
Rational, sane and thorough investigation (not performed by 60 Minutes) revealed that the drivers were in fact standing on the accelerator.
The truth, of course, didn't make for a good screaming weeklong set of promos and a 17-minute lead story by Mike Wallace, so a proper retraction never happened...and Audi's reputation and desirability were severely and undeservedly hurt.
Well, the past decade has been decidedly sunnier for Audi (solid A4s and A6s, cute TTs, Benz S-Class-challenging A8s), but the good stuff just keeps getting better. Case in point, the new A5 and S5. They're coupes built on the A4 platform, but they're better than that simple description suggests. Sweet engines, precise handling, the finest interiors in all of autodom now are met with sleek and sensuous bodywork and an attitude that makes you want these cars.
I've driven 100 to 125 cars a year for 11 years now. I rarely look back over my shoulder after parking one (except maybe to remind myself what it is I've just parked), but two cars this year have had me doing that every single time. The Audi A5/S5 is one. The other? I'll tell you when I blog about it in the coming weeks.