Audi A5 is a sleek two-door luxury car available as a coupe or convertible.
The styling of the Audi A5 Coupe is at once elegant and striking, clearly built with attention to detail. The cabin is understated and soothing, lavish and luxurious, with a choice of carbon fiber, stainless steel or wood trim.
The A5 Cabriolet gives the driver the option of dropping the top. The Cabriolet’s cloth top is insulated and powers open or closed quickly. The convertible loses some of the clean lines of the coupe, but it’s a great car for top-down motoring.
The A5 uses Audi’s legendary 2.0-liter turbo now making 220 horsepower, and quattro all-wheel drive is standard. It uses an eight-speed automatic transmission, although you can get a six-speed manual in the coupe.
2016 Audi A5 Coupe and Cabriolet come standard with the S line exterior trim. 2016 A5 Premium Plus models are equipped with the excellent Bang & Olufsen sound system. A Red Acoustic convertible top is offered for the 2016 A5 Cabriolet and S5 Cabriolet. Now eight years old, the A5 was introduced as a 2008 model in the fall of 2007 and was refreshed for the 2013 model year.
A5 with eight-speed automatic is EPA-rated at 22/31 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined and Premium gasoline is required; with the six-speed manual, it’s rated 32 mpg Highway.
The A5 offers many safety features including eight airbags and pop-up rollbars in the Cabriolet.
Audi A5 styling is timeless, and it looks like a more expensive car. It isn’t daring, just sculpted with grace, and it definitely has presence.
The A5 Coupe has muscular haunches and classic lines. The Cabriolet looks good too. Too bad the deep, open-jawed grille, tall and oblong, seems too large and abstract, lacking definition that might separate it from a car bra at first glance. But the LED lighting makes it all good at night.
The A5 seats four, not five. Head, leg and shoulder room in the front is good, while the rear is too tight for adults; even with the coupe’s long doors, it’s hard to climb in and out of the rear. The cabin is well laid out and the controls are light. The seats are well padded and well bolstered.
The cabin design is clean and simple, and the materials high grade. The intricate instruments and aluminum trim make it feel high end. The two-tone leather and suede seats on our model used piano-black trim.
Rear visibility is poor a result of the thick C-pillars that look so good on the outside. Storage space is good, with the rear seats folded flat and open to the trunk with a good 16.3 cubic feet of space on its own. Cabriolets cut it to 11.3 cubic feet for the trunk, plus even less rear legroom.
The MMI controller makes it easy to tune things with the joystick. Google Earth and Street View shows some of the best images we’ve seen on a GPS.
The Cabriolet comes with a wind deflector that works well. It stores efficiently in the trunk in a bag or can be left in your garage when not needed.
The A5 will accelerate from zero to 60 in about 6.5 seconds, which might fall short of high performance, but it is peppy and fun, with a crisp throttle response and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces robust torque from 1500 to 4300 rpm, to propel the car from intersections and up hills. It’s as quiet and smooth as the four-cylinder engines from BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac, although it can sound a bit buzzy or gritty at high rpm.
Both the eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission suit the car’s character, as the automatic shifts quick enough to satisfy enthusiasts.
The ride and handling are tuned for comfort in the base model. Available Drive Select enables the driver to adjust settings for throttle, transmission, steering and suspension. We liked the Audi base settings. It’s comfortable on rough roads, and responsive on twisting roads. Even better, there’s a sports suspension option.
Quattro adds to the stability. With quattro, 60 percent of the power is directed to the rear wheels and 40 percent to the front under normal conditions. That 40/60 front/rear is a good balance. In very slippery conditions, the all-wheel drive can lock the center differential for traction.
Steering response is generally good. Active Dynamic Steering uses sensors to read the road and adjust the steering effort and quickness accordingly.
Audi S5 features a direct-injected, supercharged V6 with a two-stage intake manifold. It has large brakes and grippy 19-inch tires. An optional active rear differential overdrives the outside rear tire in corners, forcing the front end to turn in more quickly. It also communicates with the vehicle’s Drive Select system and stability control to help maintain control in emergency maneuvers. The S5 is heavy, however, so it doesn’t handle like a sports car.
Audi A5 is less expensive than comparable models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Still handsome, these cars are becoming dated and new versions are expected to be introduced soon.
Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, editorial director, The Car Connection. Sam Moses contributed to this report.