Audi A5 coupe
Price £29,200 - £44,740
- 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
At a glance
"The Audi A5 is a stylish two-door coupe that trades some practicality for good looks and desirability."
The Audi A5 is a comfortable coupe that competes with cars such as the BMW 4 Series coupe. It is good to look at and makes perfect sense if you want a stylish car, that's properly built and (in the case of the basic diesel version) very cheap to run, although it is not as much fun to drive as the BMW.
Audi offers plenty of engine choices with the A5, though, so if you’re after quick pace the company's big 444bhp V8 petrol engine is the one to go for. Equipped with it, the A5 also gets Audi's Quattro four-wheel drive system, which means the A5 won’t be fazed by slippery road conditions.
The flagship is not cheap to run, however, and Audi offers the A5, with a good range of engines to suit most budgets. That includes three petrol engines – a 1.8-litre (170bhp), 2.0-litre (225bhp), and a 3.0-litre (328bhp), plus four diesel engines. They are split between two 2.0-litre engines with 163 and 177bhp, and two 3.0-litre engines with 204 and 245bhp.
The payoff for the Audi A5's pretty looks are rear seats that are too cramped for adults on a long journey, but should be okay for kids. The interior of the A5 is made from high-quality materials and has fewer buttons than most, giving it a clean uncluttered look. It feels solidly built too; matching up to the reputation Audi has for making some of the best interiors on the market.
Basic trim level is SE, but it still comes with plenty of kit including a powerful stereo, 17-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, and three-zone climate control. The latter allows you specify different temperatures for passengers sitting in the driver and passenger seats, plus the rear of the car.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Running costs are surprisingly low
Picking which engine to go for shouldn’t be difficult, because the range means that there's one to suit every budget. The 2.0-litre TDI Ultra is a new addition though, and is the most frugal of the lot. It should be quick enough for most needs, but still manages to produce just 109g/km of CO2 so road tax is £20 per year, while economy touches 70mpg. The diesels come in various states of tune topping off with the 3.0-litre version, which is very quick but still capable of returning nearly 60mpg in front wheel-drive models.
The basic 1.8-litre petrol can manage 49.6mpg – still good for a petrol – which drops to 42.2mpg if you go for the fastest 2.0-litre model. The V8 RS5 model has lightning pace, but you’ll need very deep pockets to run it.
Interior & comfort
The A5 doesn’t achieve perfect balance between handling and comfort
A quiet interior and suspension that doesn’t create much lean in the corners means the A5 is a comfortable car to travel quickly in – sometimes too comfortable and it is easy to lose track of your speed.
It is something we say about Audis a lot, but if you want a more comfortable ride it is better to spec the car with the SE's suspension, which is a free option on S Line and Sport specification cars. You can also choose adjustable suspension, but it's an expensive option, and we would also advise against big wheels. They look great, but come at the expense of ride comfort.
Slip behind the wheel and getting comfortable should be easy as all models get a wide range of adjustment for the steering wheel and driver's seat. One you’re behind the wheel you also get to enjoy the Audi's beautifully-built dashboard that's both nice to look at and simple to use. The new car also gets a revised infotainment system, which can be combined with luxuries such as a premium Bang & Olufsen stereo.
Practicality & boot space
Boot space is excellent, but the rear seats are cramped
With a pretty sloping roofline, the Audi A5 was never going to have the most spacious back seats and there's also a little less headroom than you would get in a BMW 4 Series. If you’re not too tall, though, you’ll find the seats themselves are very comfortable. There are no such issues in the front seats and it should be easy to get comfortable.
Audi has also kitted the A5 out with a generous number of cubbyholes including storage areas and cupholders between the front seats, a large glovebox, and door bins that brush off the Carbuyer big bottle test with ease.
Big coupes need to have a big boot and the A5 supplies in this regard, with a 455-litre loadbay that can gobble up two sets of golf clubs. It matches the boot of the BMW 4 Series and is slightly bigger than the Mercedes C-Class Coupe's. The seats split 60:40 and when folded down storage space maxes out at 829 litres. Many owners choose to keep the back seats up and use them as an extra storage space.
Reliability & safety
Build quality is excellent and safety should be first rate
You would expect decent reliability from a premium coupe such as the Audi A5, but sadly it doesn’t deliver on this according to our 2014 Driver Power survey. It finished 71st out of 150 cars, but more worryingly scored poorly to come 114th for reliability. Unsurprisingly, given how nicely the Audi is put together, it came 19th for build quality so you shouldn’t have to suffer any squeaks or rattles.
Safety shouldn’t be a worry, even though the A5 has never been crash tested by Euro NCAP. Underneath the stylish looks, it is based on the Audi A4, which scored a maximum five stars for safety when it was evaluated by Euro NCAP. The A5 comes complete with six airbags, a seatbelt reminder buzzer for the front seats, and stability control.
Engines, drive & performance
Engines are smooth and powerful and the A5 is agile and fun
The 2.0-litre diesel Ultra may be our pick when it comes to economy, but it's impressively good when it comes to performance, too. Getting from 0-62mph takes just 8.3 seconds and it won’t run out of puff until 140mph. The 3.0-litre is the fastest diesel and it can dispatch 0-62mph in just 5.8 seconds, before being limited to 155mph. The base-level 1.8-litre petrol can reach 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, but for ultimate performance the V8 RS5 can do the benchmark 0-62mph run in just 4.5 seconds.
The basic diesel is likely to appeal to the most buyers thanks to its excellent fuel economy and respectable performance figures. It can get from 0-62mph in just 8.2 seconds and has a top speed of 143mph. The Ultra model is nearly as quick, around 6mpg more economical, and costs the same as the basic car.
Speeds isn’t a problem for the Audi A5, but it's not as much fun to drive as the BMW 4 Series. Having said that, the A5 is still an extremely competent performer, so much so that we have to ask whether it's worthwhile going for the four-wheel-drive Quattro models.
Price, value for money & options
Used values are excellent and equipment levels are generous
Audis generally hold onto their value better than cars from Mercedes and BMW and the A5's priced competitively to match models from both those manufacturers.
You get a choice of three trim levels with the A5 – SE, S line and the Black Edition. SE models get stop-start technology, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, DAB radio, an MP3-compatible CD player, split-folding rear seats, leather upholstery, three-zone climate control and cruise control. S line models gets a subtle body kit and stiffer suspension (although you can go for the softer setup at no extra cost) and larger wheels. Black Edition models get even larger 19-inch alloy wheels, and black detailing on the outside, and the Bang & Olufsen premium stereo fitted as standard.
What the others say
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.
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.