Audi A5 Coupe (2011 - ) review
Read the Audi A5 coupe (2009 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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It seems a strange thing to say about a modern German coupe, but the rear haunches of the
Audi A5 look like they were inspired by an American muscle car. Its coke-bottle side profile oozes power and speed. As one of the pioneers of the ultra-bright LED daytime-running lights, you’re sure to see the A5 coming a long way off. But once it arrives, its appearance doesn’t shout, but impresses with its clean, timeless lines. Updated in 2011, the A5 now has an even tidier headlight design, with more seamless LED integration. Body panels have been subtly changed too, both to bring the A5 up-to-date and allow it to cut through the air more efficiently.
Beautifully trimmed materials line the seats and the rest of the cabin. You sit low down between the centre console and thick front doors, but the driving position is ruined in manual models by pedals that are heavily offset. All major controls are close to hand, and the clear white and red dials are easy to read. Our test car was fitted with Audi’s MMI user interface, which is controlled from the centre console. It’s easy to use and we particularly liked the intuitive selection of letters and numbers using a rotary dial. Changes made in 2011 enhanced the cabin further, adding new steering wheels, column stalks and updated centre console switches. The number of MMI interface buttons has been halved to make it even more user friendly and its 3D graphics have been improved. New options for fans of the latest tech include Google Earth sat-nav maps and the possibility to have a Wi-Fi hot spot in the car.
Although it’s possible for four to travel in the A5, tight rear legroom and a low roofline restrict comfort for taller back seat passengers. More impressive is the boot, with 455 litres of luggage space in standard guise and 829 litres with the rear seats folded. The BMW 4 Series Coupe has a maximum of 445 litres. The Audi A5 is a long car with limited rear visibility, so rear parking sensors are a useful option box to tick. Thick, gently sloping windscreen pillars create blind spots too, requiring extra caution at junctions and roundabouts.
Ride and handling
The Audi A5 is not as sporting to drive as its looks suggest. It’s front-wheel drive or optional Quattro set-up both serve safe and efficient handling, but it doesn’t feel as agile as some of its prestige coupe rivals. The ride can be rather unsettled at times, too. Audi drive select is available, which allows the driver to choose between ‘Comfort’, ‘Auto’, ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Efficiency’ car setups. In models fitted with adaptive dampers this softens and hardens the ride, sharpening and relaxing the car’s responses. It also makes the throttle more sensitive and adds weight to the steering in ‘Dynamic’ mode. In any mode, though, the steering has a vague, lifeless feel.
Six engines are available, starting with the entry-level petrol, a 168bhp 1.8-litre TFSI, followed by a 208bhp, 2.0-litre TFSI and a 3.0-litre TFSI with 268bhp. Performance S5 and RS5 models are also available. Diesel versions include the 168bhp 2.0-litre which is extremely popular in the UK – and a 3.0-litre V6 TDI with either 201 or 242bhp.
The 2.0-litre TDI is a punchy engine, but it’s incredibly efficient. Its combined fuel consumption figure of 60.1mpg feels too good to be true in a car which looks this good and goes this well. Emissions of 122g/km means it qualifies for low Benefit in Kind tax (BIK) and cheap road tax for a sports coupe. Perhaps even more impressively, the 201bhp 3.0-litre TDI emits 129g/km of CO2. The 2.0-litre TFSI petrol model emits 140g/km and averages 47.1mpg with front-wheel drive, but the quattro four-wheel drive is more costly with emissions of 159g/km of CO2 and average fuel economy of 40.4mpg.
Audi has built up an impressive reputation for the quality of its fit and finish, and the A5 feels like it’d survive a bomb blast. The engines and many of the parts incorporated in the A5 are tried and tested across an extensive Audi model line-up, and although horror stories are rare, the brand could be doing better in the Warranty Direct manufacturer rankings.
Sit in the Audi A5 and you feel safe thanks to its meaty build quality and tough looks. This feeling is backed up with six airbags, ABS and stability control as standard. The A5 hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP yet, but Audi’s latest products regularly achieve the top five-star score.
The A5 features 17-inch alloys, CD player, Aux-in socket, climate control, trip computer, electric windows, electric parking brake, chrome interior trim, auto-opening boot and electric, heated door mirrors. SE trim adds a speaker upgrade, Bluetooth, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, rear parking sensors, colour trip computer, three-zone climate control and leather upholstery. S Line trim adds 18-inch alloys, LED and Xenon lights, black headlining, matt-brushed aluminium trim, leather gear knob and S Line branded seats, wheel and sill plates. A Black Edition features 19-inch titanium design wheels, Bang & Olufsen stereo, piano black interior trim, flat-bottomed steering wheel, black exterior trim and privacy glass. The A5 is well-equipped, comparing favourably with rivals, but options see the price increase considerably.
The Audi A5 is great to look at and doesn’t make you choose between economy and performance. It’s not the sharpest or most comfortable car of its type to drive, but it certainly delivers on prestige and quality.