TO THE MAKERS of the much-maligned Audi 5000 series cars, who might've considered suicide when recalls weren't enough:

Don't do it.

Earlier this year I drove your automatic 1987 Audi 5000 S wagon. It's a splendid machine. Its braking and handling in some dicey urban traffic helped me avoid a potentially serious accident. Accept my gratitude.

Recently I've had the pleasure of driving your 1987 5000 CS Turbo Quattro, which is the subject of this week's review. 'Tis no flirtation with hyperbole to say it's one of the best sedans on the market.

Perfect? Nahhh. No such thing as a perfect car. And you Audi folks certainly have had your problems, many of them self-made.

You goofed miserably in the sudden acceleration mess -- making the ridiculously stupid error of accusing your buyers, many of whom are monied professionals, of not knowing how to drive.

Sudden acceleration, of course, is a gremlin affecting a wide variety of cars outfitted with automatic transmissions and electronically fuel-injected engines. Without warning, some of those cars surge ahead or shoot backward, frightening the driver and sometimes causing catastrophe.

Some Audi cars do have sudden- acceleration defects. But your bumbling handling of your cases, and the often poor journalism it generated, obscured a larger point: That sudden-acceleration is an industry-wide problem requiring an industry-wide solution. To do less is to endanger more lives, invite more lawsuits, and fatten more lawyers.

But back to your 5000 CS Turbo Quattro sedan. I love this car. Such a smooth, powerful, beautiful thing! I drove it every chance I got, without fear of falling victim to a fatal attraction.

Complaints: Bum power-lock on right rear door. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Nope, no "child-proof" buttons were activated to prevent the rear doorlock from operating. Needs fixin'.

Praise: Luxurious utility. Seats five and carries a good bit of luggage, 16.7 cubic feet. Good safety features: rear, outboard three-point seatbelts; an optional anti-lock brake system, and permanent all-wheel drive to keep moving in the rain and muck.

Interior comfort and beauty are enhanced by supple leather upholstery. But there's also strength 'neath the trimming -- a body of galvanized sheet steel. That's good rust protection, made better by a 27-step anticorrosion and paint job.

Head-turning quotient: Classic, dignified lines.

Note: The 5000 CS Turbo Quattro's body and mechanicals won't change much for 1988. It'll get a new steering wheel and, later, a new name -- the Audi 200.

Ride, acceleration, handling: The car is competitive with or better than anything in its class. Its 1.2-liter, turbocharged, intercooled, fuel-injected, five-cylinder engine pumps out 162 hp at 5,500 rpm using unleaded premium, and 158 hp at 5,500 rpm using unleaded regular. Body rides on a fully independent, four-wheel-suspension, which means it rides well. Transmission is standard five-speed manual.

Sound system: AM/FM stereo radio and cassette, 10 speakers, Rothenberg CR model by Blaupunkt. Verrrry nice.

Mileage: About 21 to the gallon (21.1- gallon tank, estimated 431-mile range on usable volume), combined city-highway, traveling with one to five occupants, with heater operating part-time.

Price: Ahem. $32,625, including $1,075 for optional anti-lock brake system and $335 destination charge. Base price is $31,215. Dealer's invoice price on tested model is $26,448.

Warren Brown covers the auto industry for The Post.