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Doug's S5 b8 sportback n00b thread

2118 Views 12 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  dougajmcdonald
I thought I'd start a thread documenting my S5 journey.

I'm a total mechanical n00b, no car maintenance experience and over time wanting to learn a bit whilst making a few minor changes to my 3 month old S5 B8 Sportback.

The backstory
I've wanted an Audi S4 for as long as I can remember. My first car was a D reg Audi 80 which I got from my mum as my first car. Over the years I've had a couple of Leon Cupra's the old 180 bhp versions (both written off, neither my fault - rear ended and one crashed into when I was parked at work). My latest car was a SAAB 93 (vauxhall version :() which I'd had for near on 7 years, and despite being cheap to maintain, I hated it and fell out of love with cars and driving.
My wife's passat recently passed away and the SAAB was looking long in the tooth and we decided to get rid of them both and get a "sensible family car". The S4, perhaps estate was well on the radar.
I'm...the wrong side of 35 now and with the whole, electric movement seeming like the future option, this purchase seemed like the last chance to run something on fossil fuels and get something at least mildly sporty before my tupee is flapping in the wind out of the back of a soft top 911.

The purchase
After spending a while looking at S4s and the odd S5 coupe, I'd fallen a bit for the S5 looks. Within my budget < £15k and in my area (SW UK) there didn't seem to be much of a difference in price in the S4 or S5. Despite trying to convince the wife a coupe could work with a 2yr old, I came to the conclusion it wouldn't, and going down to one car, and it needing to be a daily driver.
I viewed a couple of Jag XF-S's but they were all in crappy condition.
We didn't need anything brand new, but wanted something more modern than the 54 plates we'd both been driving, we needed something which was vaguely practical, but also (for me) and S series, and purely by luck, in my area a beautiful S5 Sportback went on sale the day after a borrowed some money for the purchase.
A couple of viewings and a deposit later and I'm the proud owner of a 2011 b8 S5 Sportback in sprint blue, which given the choice would have been my preference!
The 3.0 Sportback combo is such a brilliant combo of practical with a bit of "poke" I'm really enjoying the car and being able to take the family out comfortably as well.

Initial pics

Some from first day home and some from our first trip out

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Next up

What I wished I known before buying!

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What I wished I'd known before buying
Being out of the car buying game for a while (and possibly never really having the power of choice in the past) I naively assumed that an S5 is an S5. I didn't check any of the options on the car before buying. I did the normal visual, mileage, service history checks etc But the advert was brand new and hadn't detailed anything specific about optional extras and I didn't know what to ask or check for....

As soon as started doing some research I panicked! Did I have the sports diff? what gearbox was is? did I have the AMI? etc Fortunately I was very lucky and after detailed checks I was able to confirm most of the features I wanted.

What I learned about optional extras
There's a few ways to check optional features, the sticker which comes with the car (often in the service book or on the spare wheel) and using the VIN number.

Using the sticker
This worried me, lots of the things I thought I had weren't listed, and really unimportant specific things were listed. I've since learned that the sticker does not list everything the sticker for me listed 30 or so option codes, but there is meant to be some super sticker which lists hundreds, I was not able to find this info anywhere. Also, that some items if they are part of the package won't be listed explicitly, but it means particular things.
Specific points for my car:

Things which weren't listed but are on the car
  • Rear sports differential - Confirmed by looking under the car and taking photos & getting verified by another forum member (topic of upcoming post)
  • S-tronic gearbox - The sticker lists Tiptronic and nothing else. Confirmed through a LOAD of research, establishing that with the 7 speed auto DSG box with flappy paddles that it's not the multitronic.

Using the VIN
If you can get the VIN from a viewing or the garage, you can download the myAudi app and lookup your car specs. I did this after a first, and before a second viewing which gave me some piece of mind. This listed for me aspects such as the sports diff, multimedia high package, the colour, wheel size, storage package and type initial Audi support period etc. The info was so specific to my car and what I was seeing I generally trusted this information and it felt more official coming from Audi direct.

It does appear possible that the VIN lookup is not 100% accurate either. For me in the Optional extras > Safety and technology section it lists:
  • Audi quattro sports differential
  • Damper control
  • Dynamic steering
  • Audi drive select
  • Read side airbags

The one quirk here is that I don't have the Audi drive select (ADS) buttons, or the option in my Multimedia Interface (MMI) so I presume this was never fitted. The two previous checks (buttons and MMI option) seem the only real was to check. This also ties up with an error code I see when scanning the car with Carly - P0C87 Charisma switch module I think the error code relates to ADS, perhaps it's been setup to have the ADS installed and it was never done?

In summary...
I should have done more research, worked out the features which were deal breakers or those I could have negotiated on price over. I should have seen and driven more S5s before going with the first one I saw in the flesh.
The flip side is that the car from all the obvious checks, condition in & out, age, mileage, service history etc all came back great. It's the exact colour and spec and variant I wanted. Sportback availability is low, especially those which haven't been used as family cars it was 20 miles away avoiding long journeys, within budget from a reputable garage which I can go back to with any major issues.
In retrospect I should have been more diligent, but even if I had I don't think it would have stopped me buying the car.

Next up
Day one experience...
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ADS can be retrofitted in ECU configuration but needs the "charisma" switch to work properly. However the real advantage of ADS is to control sports diff, dampers and dynamic steering which the car probably does not have unless they were also retrofitted since if any were factory fitted then the switch would have been too.

Since you admit to have not done the research you wish you had, I'll assume that you are unaware of some of the less attractive features of the S4/S5 B8 platform.
1) 0B5 s-tronic (DCT) gearbox: Audi introduced this in 2009ish. The first version had problems so there was a new one sometime in 2011ish. This was better but Audi revised it again in 2013ish which is the one fitted to S4/S5s until B9 ended its use. Problems are not inevitable but it appears that they are more likely in cars that are not properly serviced. Audi recommend a gearbox service every 38K. The reality is that this may be too long an interval. I recommend you check the service records for that car and unless you see clear evidence that the gearbox has been properly service according to that interval and the mileage done then you should have it done urgently. The minimum is a change of ATF and filter. Better will be a sump service. Better still will be also the gear oil.
2) The engine has a cam chain tensioner issue that sometimes starts causing rattle at cold start-up at higher mileages. I can't tell you more about the symptoms or consequences because I have not had this issue, but other folks on this forum might be able to.
3) A rarer but potentially more catastrophic failure is the crank pulley. The polymer holding the two parts together can fail. Whilst not driving the supercharger just causes limp, the separation of the pulley parts is likely to cause collateral damage to at least one or both belts and maybe the radiator at worst. Dealing with this issue is still relatively new to the S4/S5 family - those of us outside the US who have a stage 2 tune have had that pulley replaced so don't face the risk. But the risk is real enough to have the pulley inspected and possibly replaced as preventative measure.
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Thanks for the info Dippy.

The ADS thing is really weird, I'm not sure what's gone on there, I clearly don't have it, but 99% sure I do have the sports diff from a visual inspection. I posted a thread over here about it: Is this the sports diff? This is what the myAudi app shows for my VIN
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I was aware of the need to keep up with the gearbox service, this has been recorded once in the service manual at approx 38k and not since. The car has done 85k so this is top of my list on the maintenance side.

I have heard of (no pun intended) the chain tensioner issue and this does worry me! I don't seem to be having any of the reported symptoms of this so hoping it's not an issue.
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Day one experience
Got off to a slightly negative start, the garage said they'd fill up the tank, but I noticed within a minute they hadn't. I had the wife and daughter following in the old car so pulled over to say I was going to get some fuel...and curbed both passenger side wheels :cry::confused::cry:
Lesson learned, there is no tyre barrier on the 20" wheels.

Got a quote from a local alloy shop for £60 per wheel for a full refurb which seemed reasonable, but now feeling like I should probably get all 4 done to avoid them looking weird. They wanted to car for 2 days and had no courtesy car so deferring for now.

Ordered a Carly adapter to help me spot basic issues and will scan when I get a chance.

Next up
Issues in the first month....
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Here's a picture of a new sports diff
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From a 2010 brochure:

2H1 Audi drive select (must be combined with dynamic steering and/or damper control and/or quattro® Sports differential)

GH2 Audi quattro Sports differential (must be combined with Audi drive select, only on 3.0 TDI, 3.2 FSI quattro® and
3.0 TFSI quattro® engines)
Interesting. Mines a 2011 so would potentially predate this info though?
Doug sounds good mate keep it looks super too well done!!
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First month issues

Having received my Carly device I scanned the car and it turned up a few issues.
Second month issues

After a few weeks, when I was a few miles from home the car fired up the EPC light and felt horrendously lumpy, a scan showed a misfire on cylinder 4. I suspected a coilpack but with it being a few days before Christmas I wasn't able to easily get it into the garage. Had a guy look at remotely and we swapped coil pack 4 with 5 but still the issue from cylinder 4.
I finally got the local independent Audi/VW garage to take it in and they solved the issue by replacing the spark plugs.
Cost me the fat side of £200 but glad it's back and working.

It was during this event that I noticed how stressful it is to have only one car in the family vs two! having to reconfigure your life due to not having a car is a PITA!

The accident...
Despite curbing the wheels on day, I'd not actually added to the issues until this point! I reversed into a concrete post in a multistory car park with ridiculously tight spaces.
I was focussing on not dinging the Porsche in the space to the right of me, and there appeared to be plenty of room behind me....I was looking at the car behind me, not the concrete post which stuck out 3 foot beyond the car....

I hoped this could be solved with a quick repair guy (suck the dent out kind of thing) but after a couple of quotes it seemed I've cracked the bumper and both places said I'd need it off and resprayed. It's a massive pain because the issue isn't even very noticeable (it's worse in person) but decided to schedule it in to have it sorted in due course. I've opted to have the bumper resprayed too as the stone chipping behind the wheels is pretty bad, so two birds one stone.

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Next up
The first mods...
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Interesting. Mines a 2011 so would potentially predate this info though?
Edited #7
@Dippy Thanks for the update. As I say, I'm really confused as to the final setup on the car. Like the brochure suggests, the ADS and sports diff "should" have come together and it appears from the VIN details that it should have perhaps had the ADS. You can see from my Sports diff post that it does have it fitted, which is even more bemusing. The service history, ownership and car itself so no signs of modding either.
The fact that there is a charisma module code error (and some of the codes on the car had clearly been there for ages), suggests maybe it should have been fitted, but I really can't figure it out.

The first mods

I really don't want to do a lot to the car overall, but I was tempted to make a couple of minor changes. I've opted to replace the number plates, add plate holders and replace the grille. A lot of the aftermarket RS style/honeycombe grilles I found seemed to either remove the Audi badge, number plate holder or both.

I managed to find an OEM RS5 2011 grille on ebay and bought new plates (nothing fancy, just newer) and Audi sport number plate holders.

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Above A before and after on the rear plate & holder. Interestingly the original plate was aluminium and I've replaced it with pure plastic. The colour on the new one it way more orangey. Maybe the original faded or this is just a different base colour. I do prefer the symmetry without the GB/left section though.

Below Before and after with the front grille, plate and plate holder.

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Fun facts
You might not have noticed it, but in the before photo, the passenger side parking sensor has a cable tie round it. I didn't even notice this until I did my first wash :S It turns out the previous owner had dinged it, and during grille replacement, the fitter video called me, showing a crack in the previous grille and respray marks. Bit of a shame in terms of how well kept the car is, but glad to get the old one off and really happy with the replacement. I'm glad I went with the chrome not pure black approach and surprised how well it suits overall.

I've not yet replace the S5 badge because the OEM badge doesn't fit the honeycomb grille. I managed to get the previous RS5 badge off when the grille was off the car but I wasn't able to get the S5 badge off with the grille on. I've now got it off and currently modding the existing RS5 backing plate to get it back on, but with the clips for the honeycombe shape.
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