Trending December 2023 # Audi Elaine And Aicon Concept Cars: Taking Autonomy To Level 4 And 5 # Suggested January 2024 # Top 21 Popular

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Audi Elaine and Aicon Concept cars: Taking autonomy to Level 4 and 5

Autonomous driving is huge right now, and Audi is accelerating into the age of self-driving vehicles across a wide range of abilities. First off was the recent Audi AI traffic jam pilot techday, where I got to experience Level 3 autonomy in real-world traffic jams and then hop into the driver seat to experience for myself what happens during the crucial 10 second hand-off period as the tech disengages. Now, at this year’s Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) motor show in Frankfurt, Audi is taking the wraps off its new Level 4 and 5 concept cars, Elaine and Aicon respectively, that illustrate its vision of future autonomous mobility.

Though they may have been revealed at the same time, Elaine and Aicon envisage very different timescales for when their technologies might be practical. The Audi Elaine, for instance, is an all-electric “SUV coupe” that the automaker sees as being possible “in a few short years.” It takes autonomous driving to a level above the 2023 Audi A8’s Level 3 automated driving.

Unlike the Audi AI traffic jam pilot that will be offered on that luxury sedan from 2023, Audi intends to – in certain conditions – allow for Elaine to drive itself with or without a driver behind the wheel. Physically based on the Audi e-tron Sportback design study that the automaker unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this year, Elaine adds animated LED lighting on the exterior to communicate its autonomous activities to other road-users. Under the sheet metal, there’s a single electric motor on the front axle and two on the rear, for 320 kilowatts of full quattro all-wheel drive.

By integrating Audio’s new zFAS controller, the basis of the A8’s semi-autonomous system, the Elaine expands AI traffic jam pilot from the 37 mph top limit of the upcoming production car to up to 80.8 mph. That’ll allow for complete self-driving on the highway, including automatic lane-changing. However, where the A8 demands someone be behind the wheel, Audi has been thinking of ways to do away with the driver altogether when Elaine reaches its destination.

Once the concept car is at the “handover zone” of an “Audi AI Zone”, it can drive itself away into a multistory parking garage. Audi sees that as a hub for various services beyond just storing the car: it’ll be able to find its own charger – either 150 kW fast-charging via cable, or using an Audi Wireless Charging pad to top up its 300+ mile range – but also get a car wash or complete other services. When required again, the car automatically drives itself back to pick up its owner, all controlled via an app.

Over time, Audi says, the car will figure out what’s required of it proactively. Dubbed PIA, or Personal Intelligent Assistant, Audi’s artificial intelligence will use data from the car, the driver, traffic jam reports and predictions, and various other online sources. That’ll give it the smarts to set everything from climate control and music, through suggesting places to park and taking over highway driving. A cloud-based driver profile will support being remotely loaded into any Audi vehicle with PIA, so the car will automatically “know” its driver before they’re even behind the wheel.

Down the line, however, Audi has even greater ambitions. The Audi Aicon is the automaker’s vision of a fully-autonomous, Level 5 luxury sedan, a four-door 2+2 focusing on how both exterior and interior designs will evolve when actual driving is less important. The cabin, therefore has no steering wheel or pedals, offering instead a “first-class airline” experience; at almost 18 feet long and almost 7 feet wide, it sacrifices none of the road presence of a traditional luxury car.

That, Audi says, is key to Aicon’s raison d’être. Unlike an anonymous robot taxi, it wears its aspirations on its metaphorical sleeves. Wheel arch flares highlight the quattro all-wheel drive, wrapping around huge 26-inch wheels that are pushed to the corners to maximize interior space. Rather than regular lights, it uses fully-digital matrices of triangular pixel segments front and rear, which can be used to display animations and graphics to communicate the car’s intentions to other road-users. More information can be projected onto the ground around the car.

Climb in through the wide-opening doors which lack a B-pillar, and there are two front seats that can slide and rotate, along with a two-seat bench in the rear. Audi says it was aiming for a lounge chair feeling, making the cabin feel less like that of a car and more akin to a salon. 23.3 cubic feet of trunk space is split between the front and rear of the Aicon.

This isn’t the concept car for the keen driver. Instead of traditional controls there are touch surfaces to handle destination and cabin settings; PIA pulls individual preferences from the occupants’ accounts automatically. Eye-tracking identifies what a passenger wants to adjust, with touch or voice control taking care of the specifics. The lighting is all OLED, and you can even do away with the view from the windows altogether, replacing them with a digital overlay to show movies, work, or social media.

Under the skin, there’ll be an electric motor for each wheel delivering 260 kW of power and over 405 lb-ft. of torque. Audi envisages range of around 500 miles on a charge, thanks to an 800 volt, solid body battery with capacity much in excess of today’s li-ion cells. It’ll charge either through wired or inductive means, including at the same AI Zones that Audi outlined for the Elaine.

Practical? Today, certainly not; there are plenty of obstacles to overcome before something like the Aicon would be anywhere close to achievable. However, as an indication of where Audi sees its car design progressing it’s a good insight into the automaker’s future intentions. It also underscores one important element: self-driving cars may be tightly connected with electrification and shared usage, but Audi still sees individuality as being a huge aspect of the automotive experience.

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Concept: Taking Tvos Even Further With Handoff, Apple News, A Content

tvOS is missing a lot of tent pole features of the Apple ecosystem. It’s an excellent foundation, but it could use a lot of work. It often feels like tvOS gets left behind when Apple is working on its annual platform updates. It’s time for it to get a chance to shine.

The first part of tvOS that you see is the Home Screen. Apple’s kept it fairly simple for a few years now. It has a large header space for dynamic content and a sea of app icons below it. In fact, it’s been that way since 2012 before Apple officially branded Apple TV’s software as “tvOS.”

There are a couple of ways Apple could improve upon the Home Screen on Apple TV. We can look to other popular smart tv platforms and even the modern iOS Home Screen with widgets for some inspiration.

The Home Screen

Apple has teetered between prioritizing the TV app and the Home Screen on Apple TV for a few years now. I think it’s time to combine them into one system. Across the top, you’d get all of your key categories in addition to a few new ones: on the far left, a search button, and on the far right, a settings button.

In the middle of the Home Screen, the dynamic content header would still be present. But Apple could use it to show more types of information, including news. It also should be detached from the app that’s currently selected. Rather, it should show curated updates from the iTunes team. Below your dock of five chosen favorite apps, you’d find all of the great content in the TV app’s watch now tab.

Additional tabs include a dedicated place for all of your games and a new live tab for content that’s streamed live over the web.

The New Library

Services that integrate with the TV app would be allowed to show favorite shows and movies right in the library alongside your purchases. There’d also be a new podcasts category to display episodes of shows you subscribe to.

Apple News

One thing that’s always felt de-emphasized on tvOS is news. Apple News is such a perfect service to bring over to the platform. Videos could be curated by the Apple News team from articles and served up in a neat feed. Those who subscribe to live news services could access ones that choose to integrate with Apple News.

Apple News Audio and Apple News+ exclusive stories could also be included in a tvOS app. It would introduce a whole new avenue for Apple News content.

Introducing Scenes

Apple TV screensavers are a staple of the platform. Everyone loves the beautiful landscapes, cityscapes, and nature videos shot by Apple. A new ‘scenes’ app could let you play these for extended periods of time in your home, in an office, in a lobby, wherever you want to.

You could save your favorites, set timers, and even have the scene show things like a clock. Newer Apple TV models could even show simultaneous streams of different streams on the selection menu.

Secure Authentication

The new iMac shows that Apple can indeed implement wireless Touch ID. While the new Apple TV remote doesn’t have a Touch ID sensor on it, it certainly could in the future. But Apple could introduce more secure authentication right away with special secure connections to your other Apple devices with Touch ID and Face ID.

When you go to sign into an app or make a purchase, your Apple TV should ask your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to do the authentication work. You could scan your face or fingerprint on your other devices to pay for things quickly and securely.


Another feature that could integrate with your other Apple devices is handoff. It’s an obvious feature to bring to Apple TV, and it’s frankly bizarre that it hasn’t already been brought to the platform. When watching a show, movie, playing music, or a podcast, the Apple TV could recognize it and offer you a dismissible menu to transfer the progress to your television seamlessly.

It could work the same way it does between Macs and iOS devices or even like it does with proximity sensing with HomePod, where you can pass audio between devices.

More to Love

Home app Home controls are already available on Apple TV through the control center, but it could be super useful to have a dedicated app for those actions.

Breathe app Fitness+ already integrates with Apple Watch to track your status during classes. Apple could introduce a complementary Breathe app on the tv so you can do synced meditations as well.

Night shift Lots of folks watch television late at night; a yellow filter could help reduce eye strain for late-night viewing or long periods of time.

Rebrand mirroring as Sidecar When using AirPlay mirroring with a Mac, Apple could rebrand it as sidecar and improve latency to make it more on par with iPad.

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Basic Concept And Backend Of Aws Elasticsearch

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.


Elasticsearch is a search platform with quick search capabilities. It is a Lucene-based search engine developed in Java but supports clients in various languages ​​such as Python, C#, Ruby, and PHP. It takes unstructured data from multiple sources as input and stores it in a structured format that proves optimal for language searches.

As mentioned above, Elasticsearch focuses on search capabilities and features. It is useful for searching multiple data types. It has a distributed architecture that enables near-real-time search and analysis of large volumes of data.

The ability to scale from one machine to hundreds of machines sets it apart from many other tools. A fully featured search cluster is easy to run, although it requires a high degree of expertise. In addition to search-oriented uses, Elasticsearch is also useful for storing data that requires grouping by multiple dimensions. It is used for metrics logs, traces, and many other time series data are some examples of its analytical use.

AWS Elasticsearch

Amazon Elasticsearch Service or AWS Elastic search is now called Amazon OpenSearch Service. Amazon OpenSearch supports both OpenSearch and Legacy Elasticsearch OSS. When creating clusters, users have the option to choose a search engine. There is broad compatibility between OpenSearch and Elasticsearch OSS version 7.10, which is also the final version of this open-source software. OpenSearch is an open-source search engine that offers analytics tool features for real-time log analysis and application monitoring.

The Basic Concepts Behind Elasticsearch

It is essential to understand some key concepts. Below is a glossary of several Elasticsearch components that will be necessary to understand.

Documents: Before we understand “documents,” let’s look at the most commonly used term called, JSON. It is also a global format for Internet data exchange. To understand this, we can compare documents to rows in a relational database representing the entity we are looking for.

However, here documents are not limited to plain texts but include structured data encoded in JSON. Each document has a unique ID and data type. These details are important for determining the data type of the document.

2. Indexes: Multiple documents with similar properties form an index. Interestingly, it’s also the top-level entity against which to run a query in Elasticsearch. The documents in the register are logically related. An index is represented by a name that identifies it during indexing and other operations.

3. Inverted Index: The search mechanism on which the engines work. Mapped data is stored here (content to place in the document). Take note here that these strings are not stored directly but split the document down to the level of a specific search item.

The process continues further and maps each of these search items to the documents in which they occur. This enables fast full-text searches even for large volumes of data.

AWS Elasticsearch – Backend Concepts

Several Elasticsearch components are hidden or can be labeled as backend components.

They are listed below:

Cluster: A cluster refers to a group of multiple nodes that are connected. Here, Elasticsearch distributes tasks and crawls and indexes all nodes in the cluster.

Node: A node is one server in a cluster. It is the node where the data is stored, and the cluster indexing and retrieval process takes place. There are many ways to configure nodes for Elasticsearch.

Master node: This type of node is called the control room for the Elasticsearch cluster because it controls all operations, such as creating or removing an index or adding or removing nodes.

Data node: This node stores and performs data-related operations like data aggregation.

Client node: This node sends requests to the appropriate nodes. Let’s take an example; it sends cluster requests to the master node and any data requests to the nodes.

Shards: As mentioned earlier, the index is further divided into several parts called “Shards.” Each shard is an independent index, fully functional, and can be hosted on any given node in the cluster. The documents in the index are distributed into different chunks. These chunks are sent to different nodes, creating redundancy that is very useful in protecting against hardware failure and data loss. It also increases query capacity.

Replicas: Replicas are copies of the primary data fragment. Each document in the index is part of one primary fragment. As explained above, replicas create copies of data to avoid a hardware failure situation. It also increases responsiveness to requests.


Let’s understand the main capabilities of Elasticsearch:

Search Engine: Elasticsearch’s unique selling point is that it allows easy full-text searching. This feature was missing from traditional SQL database management systems because they lacked full-text search engine capabilities for voluminous data.

Analytics Engine: Elasticsearch also attributes a lot of popularity to its analytics usage. Popularly used for log analysis and numerical partitioning data such as performance matrices. It also allows data aggregation (Elasticsearch aggregation queries), which enhances data visualization.

Scalable architectural design: Thanks to its distributed architecture, Elasticsearch has a built-in capacity to scale to multiple servers. It also can store data in petabytes. This is often seen that distributed systems are complex, but not here in Elasticsearch. The ability to scale is much easier than most other systems. Elasticsearch also automatically replicates data in node failure situations, helping to prevent data loss.

The right investment choice: The Elasticsearch mechanism is easy to understand, especially when small data sets. It has a common API that integrates well with other tools like Logstash for sending data to Elasticsearch or Kibana for data visualization. A shorter learning curve and these capabilities make it easy to get started with Elasticsearch, increasing productivity.

Working of AWS Elasticsearch

The primary purpose of Elasticsearch is to receive and manage semi-structured data. This is an inverted index managed by Apache’s API that serves as the primary data structure used by Elasticsearch.

You must be wondering what an “inverted index is.” Read on to get the answers!

The mapping of each unique token to a given list of documents containing that word is an inverted index. This process makes identifying documents using a given keyword a quick process. There are several partitions called “Shards” in which index information is stored. Elasticsearch cannot only dynamically distribute and allocate shards to nodes in a cluster but also replicate them. This provides flexibility to the data distribution process.

Distributing copies of primary shards to different cluster nodes provides a redundancy feature. These primary fragments are used during index operations, while both types of fragments are used when running search queries. Query execution performance is improved with multiple nodes and replicas.

Use Cases

There are some basic use cases for Elasticsearch:

Search Applications: This is especially important for websites that depend on a search platform to access, retrieve and report data.

Website Search: Elasticsearch is very important in providing accurate and fast search queries for websites that store huge amounts of data. It has now established a stronghold in web search.

Enterprise Search: Elasticsearch also enables enterprise-wide search, such as document search, e-commerce product search, etc. It has also become the most trusted search solution for many websites.

Log Analytics: As mentioned earlier, Elasticsearch is a common tool for analyzing log data in near real-time. Not only that, its scalable capabilities and essential operational insight make it a popular choice.

Security Analysis: Security analysis is another important domain in which Elasticsearch plays a very important role. It analyzes access logs and similar logs related to security systems using the ELK stack, which shows a complete analysis.

Business Analytics: Many built-in features in the ELK stack also make it a popular business analytics tool. However, gaining in-depth know-how about implementing these tools may take longer.


Here are some of the benefits listed:

High-Performance standards: Elasticsearch can simultaneously process huge volumes of data, providing fast search query results.

Application Development: It supports multiple programming languages ​​such as Java, Python, PHP, etc., making it a popular choice for developers for application development.

Fast operation speed: Elasticsearch operations such as read and write are as fast as the blink of an eye, enabling it to be used for near-real-time use cases such as application monitoring.

Fast time to value: Elasticsearch provides simple REST-based APIs and uses schema-free JSON documents. This makes it easy to use to quickly build applications for many use cases.

Additional tools: Kibana is a visualization and reporting tool integrated with Elasticsearch. Elasticsearch also provides integration with Beats and Logstash, which allows loading transformations of source data into clusters. There are plenty of plugins available that can enhance the functionality of apps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is Elasticsearch in AWS?

A. Elasticsearch in AWS is a fully managed service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that allows users to deploy and run Elasticsearch clusters in the cloud. Elasticsearch is an open-source search and analytics engine built on top of Apache Lucene, designed for storing, searching, and analyzing large volumes of data in near real-time. AWS Elasticsearch service simplifies the deployment, scaling, and management of Elasticsearch clusters, eliminating the need for manual setup and configuration. It offers features such as automated backups, high availability, security controls, and integration with other AWS services, making it a convenient choice for implementing search and analytics solutions in the cloud.

Q2. What are types in Elasticsearch?

A. In Elasticsearch, types refer to logical categories or labels that are assigned to documents within an index. However, starting from Elasticsearch version 7.0, the concept of types has been deprecated, and a single index can only have one type called “_doc”. Prior to version 7.0, multiple types could exist within an index, allowing for further categorization and organization of documents.


Elasticsearch also attributes a lot of popularity to its analytics usage. Popularly used for log analysis and numerical partitioning data such as performance matrices. It also allows data aggregation (Elasticsearch aggregation queries), which enhances data visualization. Scalable architectural design: Elasticsearch has a built-in capacity to scale to multiple servers thanks to its distributed architecture. It also can store data in petabytes. This is often seen that distributed systems are complex, but not here in Elasticsearch.

Elasticsearch focuses on search capabilities and features. It is useful for searching multiple data types. It has a distributed architecture that enables near-real-time search and analysis of large volumes of data.

Decisions are made automatically, ensuring a smooth management API. The ability to scale is much easier than most other systems. Elasticsearch also automatically replicates data in node failure situations, helping to prevent data loss.

Amazon Elasticsearch Service or AWS Elastic search is now called Amazon OpenSearch Service. Amazon OpenSearch supports both OpenSearch and Legacy Elasticsearch OSS. OpenSearch is an open-source search engine that offers analytics tool features for real-time log analysis and application monitoring.

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Bringing Staking And Nfts To A New Level With Ethlas

Ethlas is a free-to-play GameFi Metaverse that was awarded “Best NFT/GameFi project” by Polygon Foundation in December 2023. Players log in with MetaMask, play different genres of games, and earn Gems when they rank on the leaderboard! Their investors are high-profile executives from Coinbase, CoinMarketCap, Global Blockchain Innovative Capital, Venturra Capital, Grab, and many more. They are positioned to be the aggregator of all Web 3.0 play-to-earn games for consumers & game studios, with plans for their XGEM token sale (on-going), NFT sale, governance token sale, and land sale in the next few months. 

Ethlas just concluded the pre-sale of XGEMs, their in-game currency, which was 100% sold out in a few hours. If you’ve missed that, there is still a chance to participate: 

From 29 Dec 2023, 22:00H (UTC +8): Stake your QuickSwap LP tokens on Ethlas to earn up to 702% APY. 

Not only are they rewarding early supporters up to 702% APY, but their innovative staking mechanism also seeks to revolutionize the way we see staking and NFTs in the future. 

The innovation behind staking on Ethlas 

The most interesting feature of the staking event is their innovative staking token — SGEMs (Staked GEMs). Each SGEM is actually configured as an ERC 721 token that has the features of both a staking contract on the backend, but also an NFT on the front. In fact, it’s 3 things in 1!

(Ethlas Staked GEMs combines 3 different attributes) 

When you stake with Ethlas, you receive a unique SGEM ERC 721 token: 

It’s like a

Treasury Bond

– Since holding SGEMs gives you an APY, it is effectively dropping you daily coupons of gems. 

It’s like a

TSLA stock

– Since all interests are dropped as XGEMs, you get upside exposure of a newly minted token backed by a growing Ethlas ecosystem.

It’s like a

Crypto Punk

– SGEMs will be minted as an exclusive Ethlas NFT with varying rarity tiers, so each SGEM becomes an NFT collectible that could appreciate in value with time. 

But wait, here’s the kicker! Upon vesting, you can choose to claim your original LP token and all GEM rewards attached. However, should you decide to claim, the NFT will be destroyed and you will lose all value attached to the artwork. Alternatively, you can hold the NFT like a piece of Crypto Punk art, or sell it on OpenSea, together with the staking contract. 

This brings staking and NFTs to a whole new level as SGEMs are charged with yield-bearing properties and cements a high floor price while trading on OpenSea. Read our pro guide on XGEM sale and staking here. 

XGEM Public Sale & Staking Event

(Stake QuickSwap LP tokens on Ethlas to earn up to 702% APY) 

The XGEM pre-sale started on 26 December, 22:00H (UTC +8), and has been 100% sold out. Here’s how to still get involved: 

From 28 December 22:00H onwards: 

Swap MATIC for XGEMs on QuickSwap. 

From 29 December 22:00H onwards: 

Stake your QuickSwap LP token on Ethlas for 3 different periods (6/13/26 weeks) to earn as much as 702% APY. The longer you stake, the higher the APY! 4. Each stake has a minimum of US $100 and a maximum of $5000 worth of LP tokens. You would in turn receive an SGEM NFT, across 5 rarity tiers: common, rare, mythical, legendary, and celestial. 

Additionally, the first 50 wallets who stake more than $2000 USD worth of LP tokens will be airdropped a free Komo egg. First come first serve! 

About Ethlas 

Ethlas is a Free-To-Play (F2P), Play-To-Earn (P2E) metaverse built on the Polygon chain where players engage with a suite of leaderboard-based games to farm GEMs – the main currency of Ethlas. Its mission is to bridge the next billion users to crypto through casual games and enable equal opportunities and access to crypto finance for all users. 

The founding team has years of experience across Google, Xbox, Airbnb, Grab, Facebook while its non-exhaustive list of backers includes senior executives from CoinMarketCap, Coinbase, Grab, Global Blockchain Innovative Capital, and many more!

Find out more about Ethlas: 

Cars And Harleys Set To Suffer In Trump Steel Tariff War

Cars and Harleys set to suffer in Trump steel tariff war

Harley-Davidson finds itself the unexpected whipping boy for sudden tensions between Europe and the Trump administration, though the US auto industry as a whole faces challenges if steel and aluminum tariffs are enacted. President Trump surprised many this week – including, reportedly, the rest of the government – when he announced sizable tariffs on metal imports into the US. Equally unsurprising, the European Union has pushed back hard against the possibility, with some tax threats of its own.

Trump’s proposed tariffs, announced on Thursday, would see 25-percent atop steel imports into the US, and 10-percent on aluminum. According to the president, the new duties will come into operation next week. “Trade wars are good,” Trump tweeted, having argued that US interests were not being best served by cheaper imports of metals.

In response, the European Union has threatened tariffs of its own, and accused the US of faking its “national security” justification for the surcharges. “The US Secretary of Defense has stated publicly that US military requirements represent no more than 3% of US production and that the Department of Defense is able to acquire the steel and aluminum it needs for US national defense requirements,” it pointed out.

“We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect US domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification,” Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission said in a statement. “Protectionism cannot be the answer to our common problem in the steel sector. Instead of providing a solution, this move can only aggravate matters.”

As a result, Juncker warned, the Commission intends to apply its own “countermeasures” that will hit back at the US. Although the details of that retort have not officially been made public, sources in the EU claim that plans have been made to apply 25-percent tariffs on $3.5bn of goods. One third would be steel, one third industrial goods, and the final third agricultural, Reuters reports.

That’s where an iconic American motorcycle company comes in. “We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levis,” Juncker said during a German television appearance. “We would like a reasonable relationship to the United States,” he continued, “but we cannot simply put our head in the sand.”

It’s unclear whether the EC president was being serious in his list. However, it’s potentially another blow to Harley-Davidson, which has seen sales droop in recent quarters; analysts have blamed Millennials, among other reasons, for a fade in demand. They’re not, though, the only auto industry player with reason to fear the new tariffs.

Describing “serious concerns” with Trump’s tariffs, The Association of Global Automakers warned that both jobs and vehicle prices would be at stake. “More expensive steel and aluminum will not simply raise the price of cars and trucks,” the group, which represents the US operations of international vehicle manufacturers, pointed out. “It will increase the price of any and all goods that use steel and aluminum – Air Force planes, Navy ships, and Army vehicles – meaning that the Pentagon’s budget will buy fewer of them.”

Toyota specifically has called out the tariffs as having ominous implications for how much cars cost in dealerships. The automaker says that it expects the new import duties to substantially increase its costs, which would then be passed on to buyers in the form of higher sticker prices. Dealers, too, are echoing these fears.

“Auto sales have flattened in recent months, and manufacturers are not prepared to absorb a sharp increase in the cost to build cars and trucks in America,” Cody Lusk, president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, said in a statement. “The burden of these tariffs, as always, will be passed on to the American consumer.”

2023 Audi S5 Coupe And S4 Sedan First Drive: Seriously Smooth

2023 Audi S5 Coupe and S4 Sedan First Drive: Seriously Smooth

By now, Audi knows the formula for making attainable performance cars like the 2023 S5 Coupe and 2023 S4 Sedan. Take the A-series vehicles on which they’re based, glam up the exterior and interior, drop in a more powerful engine, and you end up with a rewarding driver’s car that doesn’t break the bank. In the process, you find yourself in the midst of a growing segment of enthusiasts’ wheels.

Just as Audi has its S line division, Mercedes has its Mercedes-AMG and BMW has its M Sport teams. All offer a taste of their most extreme road-legal sports models, but with fewer compromises in a vehicle that has to be usable everyday (and even with the family along for the ride). For the 2023 S4, pricing kicks off at $50,900; in the case of the S5 Coupe, it’s $54,600.

There are plenty of visual clues that you’re driving an S4 or S5 Coupe, rather than their A4 and A5 cousins. LED lights front and rear, special S model quad tailpipes, and new fascia and rear diffuser designs all help differentiate from the regular cars. On top of that, Audi throws lashings of its “All-Optic” trim, an aluminum-effect finish for the grille, mirrors, and bumpers. The result is still fairly restrained – especially in comparison to the especially aggressive front of the Mercedes-AMG C43 – but handsome nonetheless, and Audi’s designs have a tendency to age particularly gracefully.

Under the different body styles lurks the same core engine. It’s a 3.0-liter V6 TFSI, with a new twin-scroll turbocharger mounted inside the V, as opposed to the twin-turbochargers which flanked older versions of the engine. Thanks to that, the use of aluminum for the crankcase and pistons, and various other tweaks, Audi’s engineers have trimmed 31 pounds from the powertrain.

It’s good for 354 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque, comfortably up from the old S4 and S5. The new turbocharger system means torque arrives much faster than in the old S4 and S5, too, with almost 200 Nm (around 147 lb-ft.) more off the line.There’s also a new 8-speed tiptronic transmission, similar to the gearbox you’ll find in the RS 7, though – likely to the dismay of some purists – no manual option.

According to Audi’s Anthony Garbis, program manager for the A4, A5, Q5, and R8, there just is the demand for them. “Worldwide, people who are buying performance cars are buying automatic,” he points out, “because they’re faster.” On paper, the S4 and S5 Coupe will do 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, Audi says, and on to a limited top speed of 155 mph.

As you’d expect, quattro all-wheel drive is standard, with a 40:60 front to rear bias. Tick the box for the S sport package, and you get sport adaptive damping suspension and a second-generation sport rear-differential. That, Audi says, is quicker to shift power between the rear wheels depending on which has the most grip.

Speaking of grip, Audi is also pitching the 2023 S4 and S5 Coupe as the best at braking in their class. That comes courtesy of 6-piston front calipers as standard, clamping down on 13.8-inch discs. If you coughed up the $2,500 for the S sport package, the brake calipers get a red finish.

On the road, and in Comfort mode – selectable with Audi’s drive mode buttons, along with Eco, Dynamic, and the driver-customizable Individual settings – you could almost mistake either car for their regular siblings. Still, there are plenty of differences in the cabin to make things clear. Alcantara door panels and a flat-bottom sport steering wheel with shift paddles are standard, as are carbon inlays on the dashboard. S line sport seats with 12-way power adjustment and massage are also standard, both easy on the eye with their diamond quilted leather, and pleasingly supportive in the corners.

They’re heated, too, though not ventilated. If you want cooling you’ll need the Warm Weather package, an $800 option that changes the leather too, but also switches the interior to the regular sport seats. A heated steering wheel is $200.

The option I suspect most will check is the $2,600 Navigation package. That upgrades the driver instrumentation to Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit, with a new S model display that puts engine speed front and center. There’s also an 8.3-inch center display and a touchpad integrated into the MMI control wheel, for sketching out letters and numbers to enter addresses. You should probably also consider the $950 Bang & Olufsen audio system on the S5 Coupe – it’s standard on the S4 – which sounds great.

Audi introduces a little more engine noise into the cabin with a fancy resonating system, but I’d not argue with even greater growl from the powertrain overall. Switch into Dynamic mode, and the soundtrack is still a little muted, only really rousing itself when you’re above 3,500 rpm. Turbo lag, as Audi promised with its shortened compressor runs, was minimal; the 3.0 TFSI won’t quite convince you it’s naturally-aspirated, but neither will it – or the transmission – leave you twiddling your thumbs while you wait for the power to arrive.

Steering is precise and, combined with the quattro AWD, there’s never a sense of uncertainty as to where you’re pointing either car. Dynamic steering is a $1,150 option, adjusting the steering ratio according to speed, driving style, and other factors. In the latter portion of our drive, an unexpected dust storm in the mountains around Palm Springs sent showers of debris into the road, but the S5 proved capably nimble at dodging chunks of rock while still clinging to the asphalt.

The brakes in both S4 and S5 Coupe are certainly strong. There’s a fraction of squish at the very top of the pedal travel, but that uncertainty swiftly gives way to seatbelt-testing levels of stopping power. It can take a few miles before you’re quite used to the way Audi’s 6-piston setup kicks in, but once you’ve dialed in your foot it leaves you with no shortage of confidence. Push foolishly hard in corners and you can provoke understeer, but it’s easy to modulate with the crisp steering and tenacious AWD.

Of the two cars, the 2023 S5 Coupe arguably has more of a sense of occasion. The body-style doesn’t hurt there, but it’s about more than just losing the rear doors. The S5’s bulging hood – Audi calls it a “power dome” – is a persistent visual reminder that you’re driving something special. Inside, the fairly high rear roofline means space in the back seats is decent; it also gives the cabin an airiness that those who find many two-doors claustrophobic will appreciate.

Audi’s pitch with the S4 and S5 Coupe is that core S line buyers are pointedly loyal, to the point that they won’t even consider the C43 and BMW 340i alternatives out there. Those who are more open-minded will probably find the C43 sedan and coupe a little more raucous, compared to the Audi’s crisp, teutonic efficiency in how they put power down and pivot through the corners. The 340i sedan is the only one to offer a manual gearbox, and a darn good one it is too. That alone might be sufficient to send you to your nearest BMW dealer.

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Still, I can easily see why Audi fans would appreciate the 2023 S4 and S5 Coupe. They’re fast and easy to drive; practical enough to be your everyday car, but with enough special sauce to set them apart in the parking lot. Neither BMW or Mercedes quite delivers the combination of active safety and driver assistance aids that Audi does, either. True, the upcoming RS 5 will overshadow the performance of each with its 450 HP V6, but it’ll also demand seriously deep pockets and may well sacrifice a little comfort in the process.

The 2023 S5 and S5 Coupe request no such compromises. Indeed, you could say they offer the best of both worlds, performance and practicality. It’s proven to be a winning formula elsewhere in Audi’s line-up, and nothing about these new cars suggest that streak is likely to change.

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