Audi A5 coupe
Price: £28,845 - £44,470
- Stylish looks
- Great engine range
- Top class built quality
- BMW 4 Series is more fun to drive
- Very little space in the rear
- Higher spec models are expensive
"The Audi A5 is a stylish two-door coupe that trades practicality for performance and desirability."
The Audi A5 Coupe is a stylish and desirable premium coupe. It's based on the Audi A4 saloon, but the A5 is sportier. It sits lower to the ground and it's wider, too, giving it a more aggressive look. It's a rival to the BMW 4 Series (which is a coupe version of the 3 Series) and the Mercedes C-Class Coupe. As with any Audi, build quality is superb, the interior is stylish, luxurious and packed with technology, and the engines are all smooth, powerful and efficient. Star of the range is a 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine, which will take the A5 from 0-60mph in under six seconds while still returning almost 50mpg. The A5 is also available as the more practical four-door A5 Sportback and as a convertible. There are also sportier S5 and RS5 versions available.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Running costs are surprisingly low for a car that looks so sporty
There are two petrol engines and two diesel engines with a variety of power outputs in the A5 range. All the diesel variants are incredibly efficient. The entry-level 175bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine has the best economy figures - it will do 61.4mpg and emit just 120g/km CO2. It's pretty punchy and will suit most people just fine, but if your budget allows we’d recommend the 243bhp 3.0-litre TDI diesel. It is blissfully fast but will also return almost 50mpg – not bad for a car capable of dispatching most sports cars in a straight-line.
The petrol engines aren’t quite as efficient but are still relatively economical. The 1.8-litre TFSI is the entry-level petrol engine and will return 49.6mpg and emit 134g/km CO2. If you go for a quattro four-wheel drive system for better performance, the economy figures will suffer. The same goes if you choose one of Audi's very slick automatic gearboxes over the manual gearbox.
Interior & comfort
The A5 doesn’t achieve perfect balance between handling and comfort
A car's comfort depends to quite a large degree on the suspension set-up. A softer set-up makes for a smooth ride, because the car can soak up any bumps in the road but it has a negative impact on the car's handling. Firm set-ups offer great handling but poor comfort. Some sporty cars manage to strike a perfect balance – suspension firm enough to get them round a corner in good order but just soft enough to make them comfortable – but sadly the A5 is not one of those. The suspension is a little too firm, making for an uncomfortable ride. It has large alloy wheels, too, which compounds the problem, because larger alloys mean less rubber on the tyre and therefore less cushioning. You can spec your car with optional adjustable dampers, which helps to improve comfort, but even then it's not as good as we’d like. S Line models get an even firmer suspension set-up and bigger alloys, so go for an SE spec car if comfort is important to you. Whichever version of the A5 you go for, you can rest assured you’ll get a top-class interior with impeccable build quality.
Practicality & boot space
Boot space is excellent but the rear seats are cramped
The A5 is a two-door coupe, so you wouldn’t expect it to have a spacious rear. If you can squeeze into one of the sculpted back seats you’ll find that they are very comfortable and that the amount of legroom on offer is pretty similar to what you get in the back of a BMW 4 Series. Headroom is not as good, though, because the Audi A5's stylish and sporty-looking swooping roofline take a big chunk of space out of it. So the rear seats are really for children or extra luggage only – although those who like the A5's sleek looks but need more space should take a look at the A5 Sportback. The A5 Coupe's boot is a decent 455 litres – same as the 4 Series and five litres bigger than the Mercedes C-Class Coupe. Split-fold rear seats come as standard, and if you fold them down the luggage capacity expands to 829 litres.
Reliability & safety
Build quality is excellent, reliability appears to be flawless and safety should be first rate
The Audi A5 hasn’t been put through the Euro NCAP crash tests, but the A4 on which it is based received the maximum five stars. The A5 should be just as good and it has a range of airbags plus electronic stability control. Build quality feels superb, and all the engines and components have been tried and tested in other models in the Audi range. The A5 also hasn’t been subject to a single recall since it was launched. And Audi Performed well in the most recent Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, coming 10th out of 32 in the manufacturer rankings. That was good enough to beat BMW but it was still some way behind Lexus, Jaguar and Mercedes.
Engines, drive & performance
Engines are smooth and powerful and the A5 is agile and fun
There's a choice of five engines in the A5. A 168bhp 1.8-litre TFSI petrol, a 223bhp 2.0-litre TFSI petrol, a 175bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel, a 202bhp 3.0-litre TDI diesel and a 243bhp 3.0-litre TDI diesel. All of the engines are very good and offer plenty of power. Both the manual gearbox and the S tronic automatic gearbox are good. And the car handles well, with responsive steering and plenty of grip. You can pick quattro all-wheel drive on higher spec models for even better performance and handling – and for the added peace of mind that the car will cope with even the roughest of weather. Top-of-the-range S5 and RS5 models are lightning fast. The only issue with the A5 is that it's a rival for the BMW 4 Series, which is more fun to drive.
Price, value for money & options
Used values are excellent and equipment levels are generous
The A5 has two very close rivals in the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C Class Coupe, and Audi has priced it be competitive with these cars. One big advantage the Audi has is residual values – Audis typically hold on to their values better than the cars of almost any other brand. Equipment levels are generous, too. There are three spec levels: SE, S line and Black Edition. Even entry level SE models get an extensive equipment list that includes stop-start technology, 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth, digital radio, MP3-compatible CD player, split-folding rear seats, leather upholstery, three-zone climate control and cruise control. But watch out for optional extras, which are very pricey. The car comes with a three year/60,000 mile warranty, and a fixed price servicing package is available, too – although it's not as cheap as the one on offer from BMW.
What the others say
Coupes don't come much classier than the Audi A5. It's more a grand tourer than an out-and-out sports car, but none the worse for that.
It's a good all-round package that comes close to matching the BMW 3-Series Coupé with a fine range of engines, a high quality interior and an enjoyable driving experience. It may not be a radical departure for Audi in terms of styling, but it looks purposeful nonetheless.
Where Audi really needed to improve its game was in the driver involvement department. With the A5, it has just done that. The coupe features a wide track, its steering has been engineered from scratch, the quattro 4WD is biased towards the rear and the front axle has been moved forward 120mm to counteract understeer. All this work has had the desired effect.
The Audi A5 is a great car. Slightly divisive looks, but a great drive and superb engines make for a fantastic cruiser. Almost too quiet for some.
Last updated: 10 Feb 2014