"The A5 looks great, and is good to drive too. All versions are quiet and comfortable – flagship versions are immensely desirable, and are quick and luxurious."
The Audi A5 Coupe is essentially a re-bodied A4 saloon. Put the two side-by-side and it's obvious which is the sportier car – the A5 is lower, wider and more aggressive, with a sleek coupe shape and planted stance. In addition to the Coupe there is also a more practical four-door Sportback and desirable four-seat Convertible. All three were subject to a mild facelift in 2011, taking inspiration from the stylish Audi A6 with its new headlights and revised front grille. It packs all the quality you’d expect from an Audi, with a range of fast but frugal petrol and diesel engines. The highlight of the range is the powerful 3.0 TDI quattro which manages 0-60mph in only 5.8 seconds yet will do almost 50mpg. All cars come with alloy wheels, but S line and Black Edition cars add bigger rims and subtle styling tweaks that make the A5 look like a true sports car. Beware though, the firm suspension on flagship cars can severely compromise ride quality.
The A5 a good car to drive but feels more like a relaxed cruiser than an out-and-out sports car. It is far more suited to long motorway miles than tight and twisty country roads, and can’t challenge the class-leading BMW 3 Series for driver enjoyment. That said, there's an impressive range of petrol and diesel engines, with the latter offering incredible economy and plenty of power. Entry-level cars come with front-wheel drive, while higher spec models get the option of quattro all-wheel drive, giving the A5 superior all-weather ability and making it feel extremely sure-footed in the wet. The steering and gearshift lack feel, but the driving position is good and it's easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. Range-topping S5 and RS5 models possess impressive amounts of power and deliver incredible straight-line speed with a exciting exhaust note to match.
As with a number of modern-day Audi models, the A5's uncomfortable ride is its major downfall. The firm suspension and larger wheels on Sport and S line models means the sleek coupe crashes over bumps and potholes, making it quite intolerable around town and on poor surfaces. It can be remedied with the optional adjustable dampers, but even then the A5 never seems to get the balance between ride comfort and handling poise quite right. SE-spec cars on standard suspension fare better, and if you value substance more than style it might be worth opting for one of these instead. However, all cars are extremely well built and feel solid inside and out. The logical dashboard is easy to use, but the rear seats are best reserved for small children.
Audi has earned itself a reputation for excellent build quality in recent years, and deservedly so. The interior feels solidly built and the diesel engines can rack up huge mileage without fault. Owners seem satisfied, too, with a strong showing in the Auto Express Driver Power survey and no recalls since launch. Although Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the Audi A5, the A4 on which it is based received a full five stars, so there's no reason to believe the Coupe would be any different. There is plenty of standard safety kit including several airbags and a plethora of electronic aids.
Considering its sweeping roofline and sleek shape, the A5 Coupe's 455-litre boot is actually quite a generous size. It is bigger than both the Mercedes C-Class Coupe and BMW 3 Series, and the rear seats can be folded to accommodate larger items. However, space behind the driver is limited, and the back seats should be reserved for small children on all but the shortest of journeys. If you like the style offered by the A5 Coupe but require a bit more space and practicality, the Audi A5 Sportback – with an extra pair of doors and vastly improved rear seat space – could be the car for you.
Value for money
The A5 is a premium car that commands premium prices. But a great range of frugal engines and strong used values make the A5 Coupe a sound place to spend your money. Attractive lease deals make it a great option for company car drivers looking to stray away from the norm, too. Equipment levels are good, with all cars getting alloy wheels, a 10 speaker stereo and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as leather, aluminium trim and three-zone climate control as standard. Upgrade to an S line or Black Edition car and you can enjoy a sportier appearance, xenon headlights and chrome trim.
All the engines – aside from those in the high-powered S5 and RS5 – are surprisingly efficient. There is a pair of punchy diesels, a 2.0-litre and a 3.0-litre – each with two power outputs. The higher powered 2.0-litre gets 175bhp and can do 61.4mpg. However, if the budget allows, we suggest stretching to the mega 3.0 TDI, which packs enough punch to dispatch most sports cars yet will still do 50mpg. Opt for the reassuring quattro four-wheel drive and economy will suffer, but it does offer supreme all-weather ability, with impressive levels of grip. Fixed price servicing and an impressive after-sales package, make the Audi A5 an attractive private or company car purchase.