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Audi A5 – Review

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Audi A5 is a zeitgeist car if ever there was one. It’s more expensive than the Audi A4 it’s based on, offers fewer doors and less space, yet still people are clamouring to get into it. You can’t help but feel Audi’s success has taught BMW a trick or two: it’s no coincidence Munich has introduced the 4-Series Coupe, rather than a two-door 3-Series derivative. Oh, and if you do need four doors, Audi has an A5 solution here too: the A5 Sportback.

The A5 got smarter still for 2012 with a discreet but inclusive facelift. The new headlights and bumpers may be hard to spot (despite the distinctive new LED daytime running lights) but it’s far clearer where the benefits are below the surface: the engines are faster, smoother and greener.

DRIVING

The A5 isn’t about sporting motoring or doorhandle thrills. Feedback has never been its strong suit, even if you do choose the Audi Drive Select suspension-tuning pack. This goes from soft to (very) hard but misses out on involving. Don’t worry about the new fuel-saving electric power steering though, for it feels little different. As in, it’s still remote, albeit accurate and quick enough.

The big news is under the bonnet. A new 1.8-litre turbo is the interesting one on the petrol side – it gains 10bhp yet is also significantly more economical. But diesel is where (literally) the power is. The 2.0-litre TDI gets a bit more power but it’s the new 3.0-litre V6 TDI that you really want. Replacing the old 2.7-litre V6 is an engine that is 14 percent more powerful, yet 30 percent more economical. In either of its two power outputs, it is torquey, smooth and creamy.

ON THE INSIDE

Audi had BMW licked with the former A5 interior. This enhanced one widens the gap over the 3-Series with, though it’s barely believable, even higher quality and neater detailing. New steering wheels, trim materials and colours all help lift what was already a class-leading interior. The MMI system has been simplified too. It’s strictly a four-seater though: if usability is all, you need the A5 Sportback. After all, that’s why Audi offers it.

 

Interior Summary

According to auto journalists, the 2016 Audi A5 has a handsome cabin built with first-rate materials. They find the front seats comfortable and comment that the available sport seats offer better side support. Reviewers say the rear seats are cramped, as is the case with most coupes and convertibles. The A5 has a good amount of trunk space for a coupe, and reviewers appreciate that the cabriolet’s folding soft top takes up minimal trunk space.

Bluetooth phone connectivity, HD Radio, satellite radio, a panoramic sunroof and the MMI infotainment system are standard. Optional features include Bluetooth audio streaming, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, a Bang & Olufsen audio system and navigation. Several auto journalists comment that MMI is tricky to learn and operate, though a few note that it is easier to use in models with navigation.

Performance Summary

With its base turbocharged four-cylinder engine, reviewers write that the 2016 A5 has plenty of power but isn’t especially quick. For greater speed, they recommend stepping up to the sport-oriented S5, which has a supercharged V6. A manual transmission is standard and an automatic is available.

Fuel economy, at an EPA-estimated 22/32 mpg city/highway, is excellent for a luxury sports coupe. Test drivers write that the A5 rides comfortably and has adept handling, but lacks the athleticism of some rivals.

 

 

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