The Audi A5 is a sporty two-door coupe that rivals the likes of the Mercedes C-Class coupe and BMW 4-Series. Its appeal lies in styling: it's a sleek, handsome car that has changed little visually since it went on sale seven years ago, proving Audi got it right first time. That's a long lifespan for a car, though – the A5 coupe is likely to be replaced by an updated model in 2016, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning to buy one.
Unlike many other Audis, the A5 coupe suffers from poorer-than-average residuals and the forthcoming replacement is likely to take an even bigger bite out of resale values. However, that also means the likelihood of securing a discount on the existing model is much higher.
Apart from its good looks, the current A5 coupe has a lot of standard equipment and it's comfortable if you go for the softer of the two suspension setups. The engines are potent yet also very economical; the most efficient of the lot being the 2.0-litre TDI Ultra diesel. It returns 67.3mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2 for £20-a-year road tax, but is also good for 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds.
At the other end of the spectrum is the flagship S5. It has a 328bhp 3.0-litre TFSI petrol engine plus Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system and will sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. Given that performance, the S5's economy isn’t bad, as it's capable of 35.8mpg, although you’re unlikely to get anywhere near that if you make the most of the power. The Audi RS5 is an even more powerful and faster version, which we’ve reviewed separately.
The Audi quattro four-wheel-drive system is also available on models lower down the range, so you can enjoy the benefits of extra grip and safer handling in poor weather if you’re willing to pay a bit extra over the standard front-wheel-drive models.
Front-wheel drive also sets the A5 coupe apart from its chief rivals: the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class coupe are both rear-wheel drive, which arguably makes them better driver's cars but also more unpredictable in slippery conditions. The A5 also has a choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or one of two automatics: S tronic and Multitronic. The latter two are a little more expensive, but they’re also more desirable.
The three main trim levels are SE, S Line and Black Edition Plus. None is badly kitted out, as even the SE comes with the likes of heated leather seats, a 10-speaker stereo with DAB digital radio and alloy wheels. Our choice is the mid-range S line model, which adds a little more equipment along with extra exterior styling flourishes – giving it even sharper looks than the standard model for only a little more cash.
The A5 suffers from the usual coupe foibles of a snug cabin and cramped rear seats. The ride can also be quite hard due to the firmer suspension of S line models, but it's possible to specify the softer set-up of the entry-level SE model if you’d prefer greater comfort. Space aside, the interior is extremely well built and the A5's cabin is a classy place to sit.
The standard A5 coupe didn’t appear in our 2015 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey but the five-door Audi A5 Sportback, which is essentially the same car but with four doors, put in a good performance. The coupe does well on the safety front, too, as equipment includes six airbags, electronic stability control and front and rear parking sensors.