2009 Audi S5: Electronic Parking Brake is great, most of the time...
September 04, 2009
I love electronic parking brakes (E-PKB) such as the one on our LT 2009 Audi S5.
E-PKB is on all Audis except the A3, TT, and R8.
Although they are more expensive, they're are also easy to use and they don't stretch out a cable like on mechanical PKBs.
The most important benefit is interior packaging. You can see in the photo how small the switch is and that there is plenty of room for 2 big cupholders and a handy slot for your phone or spare magazine.
And you don't have to package or deal with a silly foot parking brake.
However, there is a problem with our S5's E-PKB in its execution.
Here's the thing: in order to release the E-PKB, your must first depress the brake pedal. No problem, right? It's better from a safety standpoint.
But if you're robbing a bank or something or just want to make a quick getaway, sometimes you would rather just balance the clutch and throttle as you simultaneously drop the mechanical handbrake. I do this a lot and when I tried this on our S5 I got the above display.
Now what if you're on a hill? I verified with the Audi guy that our S5 does not have a hill-holder brake. If you want to use the E-PKB to hold the hill, you may be out of luck as you have to press the brake pedal first. Or you could balance the car with the brake, clutch, and throttle and risk frying the clutch.
I haven't tried this on any steep hills yet, so I don't know if you can quickly stab the brake on a hill start as you release the E-PKB. And BTW, our S5 has accel pedal override of the E-PKB, but there is quite a bit of resistance before it releases.
Dear Audi: add a hill-holder to your vehicles equipped with electronic parking brake and we're good.
Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 8300 miles