Coupe Capers - A Week With Audi's New A5
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
It is hard to believe that the original Audi A5 was launched nearly a decade ago. Over 330,000 models have been sold over its lifespan, with buyers no doubt being drawn to the elegant, flowing lines, premium interior and wide choice of engine/transmission variants.
Wishing to build on the model's success, Audi has chosen to adopt a sensible evolutionary approach to the all-new model, launched to an expectant audience last November.
Design boss Frank Lamberty says the philosophy behind the design was to:
"Make it better. Sharpen it, make it more sporty and more elegant."
You might be forgiven for failing to notice the exterior changes to the new A5. A new grille and lights adorn the front, whilst in profile the flatter roof and more bulging wheel arches are there to see. LED tail lights complete the look.
The interior has seen bigger changes with the highest quality materials the order of the day. It's Audi's forte and as many drivers spend increasingly long hours behind the wheel, is there a finer place to be?
There's more space too thanks to the longer wheelbase courtesy of Audi's MLB platform. Front seat occupants have space to spread out and the rear compartment is surprisingly roomy too. Getting there requires some Houdini-like contortions however.
The boot will hold a generous 465 litres and the back seats fold away for longer loads.
The new A5 has been on a diet and weighs a not inconsiderable 60kg less than its predecessor. Generous use of aluminium has been much responsible.
Audi offer a familiar range of petrol and diesel engines in the A5, my test car for the week sporting the 190PS four cylinder diesel engine. Expected to be the most popular engine in the A5, it should be plenty quick enough for most buyers (0-62mph in 7.7 seconds).
Despite lacking a little smoothness compared to the more powerful V6 diesels on offer, there is little else to fault. Furthermore the headline economy figure of 65.7mpg for the combined cycle should be adequate compensation.
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You can specify quattro all-wheel drive, though economy will inevitably suffer.
Helping to make the most of the power is the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Seamless changes are the order of the day, with a 'Sport' setting helping to unleash more power. The self-shifting gearbox suits the A5 perfectly, the six-speed manual being a little notchy in action.
I had high hopes that the A5 would offer a cosseting ride, but sadly I ended my week somewhat disappointed. Being a sporting S line variant and fitted with upgraded 19-inch alloy wheels clearly didn't help matters. I set the adjustable dampers to comfort mode, but was still far too aware of the lumps and bumps of Yorkshire's less than smooth asphalt. Dynamic mode made the ride firmer without improving handling precision.
Light steering makes the A5 a relaxing car to pilot, but is somewhat devoid of feel. The coupe can be hustled along a favourite B-road, but it never engages the driver in the way a similar BMW might. I suspect the flagship S5 might redress the balance.
Equipment levels on all A5 models are impressively high so expect to find three-zone climate control, xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights, cruise control and Audi's intuitive MMI infotainment system.
A mere £250 adds Audi's innovative Virtual Cockpit, allowing the satellite navigation to be displayed in the instrument binnacle in front of the driver if required. It is quite brilliant and is a box that must be ticked.
The Scuba Blue metallic paint of the test car suits the svelte coupe rather well (add £645).
There is plenty of scope to delve further into the options list, but I personally would find no need so to do.
My advice to would-be A5 buyers would be to choose wisely. Eschew the wide wheels and S line sportiness and pursue a comfort orientated route.
You will then be able to enjoy that luxurious interior to the full, safe in the knowledge that you have bought one of the most stylish coupes on the market today.
Audi A5 2.0 TDI S line S tronic
Price £37,445 (£43,125 as tested)
Key options: Assistance pack (£1,400), 19" alloys (£900)
190PS four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine
7-speed dual clutch transmission
0-62mph in 7.7 seconds
Top speed 146mph
Combined economy 65.7mpg
Emissions 113g/km CO2
Tax Band C
Coupe Capers - A Week With Audi's New A5, 24th February 2017, 9:53 AM