Audi A5 Coupe review
“The Audi A5 Coupe is sleek, stylish and luxurious but its driving dynamics are likely to leave the enthusiast a little cold”
- Impressively refined
- Sumptuous interior
- Classy design
- Pricey to buy
- Not much fun to drive
- Harsh ride on big wheels
Despite its sleek, broad-shouldered looks, the Audi A5 Coupe actually shares its underpinnings with the A4 saloon and A4 Avant estate. It expresses its German manufacturer's sharp, clean-lined family identity and has a sportier air than the Mercedes C-Class Coupe, without being as visually aggressive as the BMW 4 Series. Where the A5 really excels is as a fast, luxurious and stylish motorway cruiser, where its smooth engines really come into their own.
Key to the A5's appeal is its beautifully built, cleanly styled dashboard and interior. While not as flamboyant as that of the Mercedes C-Class Coupe, the A5's has a restrained elegance that hasn't dated at all since it was introduced. The materials used are all first-rate, too, and wouldn't disgrace a car at the very top end of the market. It's also comfortable, although those in the front have a much better deal than rear-seat occupants.
Access to the rear seats is undeniably tight, and few adults will thank you for a long ride in the back. Getting small children in and out won’t be easy, either, but then the A5 and its rivals are often bought by people who’ve had a string of practical cars and want something more sporty. If you want to avoid the formal look of a saloon but need genuine space for five, you might want to look at the Audi A5 Sportback. There's no shortage of standard equipment on any version, though, and a sizeable boot makes the A5 Coupe an indulgent car for two people to take on a long weekend.
The A5 Coupe shares its range of petrol and diesel engines with the A4 but Audi has recently shrunk the number of choices. There’s now just one turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine available in 148bhp, 201bhp and 261bhp outputs, badged as 35 TFSI, 40 TFSI and 45 TFSI respectively. Diesel buyers are served by turbocharged 2.0-litre engines with a choice of the 161bhp 35 TDI or the more powerful 201bhp 40 TDI model.
The sporty S5 model was discontinued midway through 2023, leaving the more hardcore RS5 with its 2.9-litre V6 engine and 444bhp at the top of the range. For most drivers, however, the powerful 2.0-litre petrol engines in the A5 range will be more than fast enough.
It's not speed where the A5 falls a little short. Some driving enthusiasts will be disappointed when they peel off the motorway and onto a windier road, because the Audi can't quite provide the driving involvement many crave. The steering is precise and there’s no shortage of grip, but the steering is numb and the chassis feels set up for predictability and stability rather than fun. While this is good news for comfortable cruising, it makes it less rewarding on a challenging road than the BMW 4 Series coupe or the four-door Alfa Romeo Giulia. And, unless you choose the smallest 18-inch wheels, the Audi can’t match the ride quality of the Mercedes C-Class Coupe when cruising either.
Not everybody will mind these shortfalls, though, and A5 still offers much to recommend itself. It’s a terrifically well built car and shares a five-star Euro NCAP rating as well as much of its structure with the A4, so it should be very safe. It also has a lot of standard crash-avoidance equipment, including autonomous emergency braking.
And then there’s the financial side of things. The Audi name has long been associated with excellent resale values, so you’re unlikely to receive a nasty shock when it’s time to trade in. There's no arguing, however, that the A5 is expensive to buy, with even the cheapest version now starting from almost £40,000. The A5 may not be the most exciting coupe in the world, but it’s one of the easiest to live with.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Audi knows its customers want more from the A5 than simply good looks and a fashionable image. Fleet buyers account for an increasingly important share of the executive coupe market, where running costs are all-important. Fortunately, the A5 can be chosen with a remarkably economical diesel engine.
The 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel model returns 53.3 to 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 125-139g/km for a middling Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band. Opting for the more powerful 40 TDI engine automatically brings quattro four-wheel-drive, and that sees fuel economy drop to 51.4mpg, with CO2 emissions shooting up to 143-148g/km depending on the trim level chosen. Because Audi’s engines aren’t compliant with the latest RDE2 emissions, it sits in the highest BiK band, so this model won't be popular with company-car drivers.
With no hybrid or plug-in hybrid versions available, the Audi A5 may hold limited appeal for cost-conscious business users. It doesn’t just rival the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class coupe these days, either; the Polestar 2 and BMW i4 are stylish electric alternatives.
For lower-mileage drivers a choice of three petrol engines is available. The 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI feature front-wheel drive and a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox, with both engines capable of producing up to 45.6mpg. CO2 emissions are also similar for both engines, ranging from 141g/km to 156g/km.
The 45 TFSI comes with quattro four-wheel drive, with the trade off for increased grip coming in the form of reduced fuel economy of around 35mpg. This also affects the car’s emissions figure, which ranges from 180-185g/km.
The 342bhp S5 model was discontinued in 2023, but managed an impressive balance between high performance and an official 40.9mpg fuel economy figure and CO2 emissions of 184g/km.
After the first year's CO2-based road tax (generally included in the on-the-road price), all Audi A5 Coupes cost the standard rate a year to tax. Unless you buy a base-spec car with the standard solid paint colours, the cost will rise to over £40,000, and then you’re liable for an additional surcharge in years two to six, bringing the annual bill to nearly £500 during that period.
In terms of residual values, Audis tend to stand up well on the used market. Therefore, we don’t expect the A5 – which sells in smaller numbers than the A4 – to depreciate all that much and residual values should remain pretty strong.
As with all Audis, the A5 comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty. While this isn’t bad, it’s a little way behind its rivals (although exactly the same as Lexus offers). Both Mercedes and BMW also offer three-year warranties as standard, but they don’t have mileage limits – a boon considering these cars’ likely high mileages.
Engines, drive & performance
Every model of Audi A5 Coupe has more than enough power for most drivers and steering accurate enough to let you confidently place the car in corners. Disappointingly, though, it just doesn’t deliver much in the way of excitement.
As we found with its A4 saloon sibling, the steering, though accurate, is numb and uncommunicative. There’s plenty of grip and composure, especially from cars with Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive, but the handling balance plays it safe, with little adjustability to entertain the keen driver.
A BMW 4 Series offers a far more rewarding drive, while the Mercedes C-Class Coupe is more cosseting without sacrificing much cornering ability. Furthermore, the A5 Coupe does have a slightly harsh ride quality. It deals reasonably well with slightly uneven tarmac, but larger lumps, bumps and potholes deliver a whopping great thwack into the cabin, especially with larger wheels and sports suspension fitted.
Strangely, we found the ride comfort of the sportier now-discontinued S5 to be better than the standard A5 models thanks to better quality adaptive dampers which did a good job of ironing out imperfections in the road when in comfort mode, and yet still offered great agility when put into Dynamic mode.
It has to be said, though, that enthusiastic drivers may still appreciate the extra feel and excitement offered by the rear-wheel-drive chassis of the BMW 4 Series.
Audi A5 Coupe diesel engines
The 161bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is the most efficient in the A5 range, but it's still capable of 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds. Going for the 201bhp diesel with standard four-wheel-drive cuts that time to 6.9 seconds. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel was discontinued along with the S5 model, meaning this 2.0-litre unit is the only diesel option for the A5 Coupe and A5 Cabriolet, which is reviewed separately.
Petrol buyers now have the choice of one turbocharged 2.0-litre engine in three power outputs. The base 35 TFSI model produces 148bhp and sends power to the front wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox, managing 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds. The 40 TFSI uses the same front-wheel drive layout but gets 201bhp. It takes only 7.1 seconds to get from 0-62mph.
This engine feels quick enough, especially above 2,500rpm, but the seven-speed automatic gearbox prefers a leisurely driving style, particularly if you ask for rapid downshifts using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
At the top of the range the 45 TFSI combines quattro four-wheel drive and an increased power figure of 261bhp. It’s the quickest petrol A5 in the range by some margin, managing 0-62mph in only 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
Interior & comfort
The Audi A5’s interior is a classic example of just how much care and attention the German carmaker puts into how the inside of its cars look, feel and operate. The whole interior is well appointed, with swathes of leather and tactile aluminium accents that help it to feel inviting and modern. The only noise that makes its way into the interior is the sound made by the tyres on the road surface; wind and engine noise aren’t noticeable.
Audi A5 Coupe dashboard
A5 drivers are treated to a dashboard that’s beautiful to look at, intuitively designed and made of very high-quality materials. While it broadly shares its design with that of the A4, it feels just as at home in a coupe as a saloon. Star of the show is Audi’s advanced Virtual Cockpit, which takes the place of a traditional instrument display. You can set it to show exactly the driving information you want, which can include a large colour navigation view.
As always, the Audi MMI infotainment is clear and offers myriad functions but an update that removed the control wheel from the centre console feels like a backwards step. The 10.1-inch display is now touchscreen or voice controlled only, which isn't always as quick or easy once you're driving.
The touchscreen perches on the dash like it does in the Audi Q5 SUV. A slight complaint is that it looks like an aftermarket accessory; the screens in the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class look far better integrated.
All A5s get LED headlights and daytime running lights, the latest smartphone connectivity, sat nav and DAB radio. All the media and infotainment functions are controlled by a 10.1-inch colour screen on the dashboard, while you also get the crisp 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit, keyless start, auto lights and wipers and multi-zone climate control. The S line trim adds sports front seats and a noticeable exterior makeover (including bigger wheels and lower suspension), along with Matrix LED headlights, privacy glass and a different steering wheel.
Black Edition models look even meaner, with even larger alloys, the black styling pack and darkened lights. Range-topping Vorsprung trim brings adaptive suspension, a panoramic sunroof, heated front and rear seats, parking assistance, extra driver assistance features and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The options list features all the usual alloy wheel and upholstery choices, plus some of the kit from higher-spec models. You can choose a Comfort and Sound Pack, which includes a 360-degree camera, a hands-free tailgate, the upgraded stereo and extra ambient lighting.
Practicality & boot space
Understandably, the A5 Coupe does make some practicality sacrifices in the name of a rakish, sporty appearance – very few two-door cars are as easy to live with as saloon or five-door hatchback models. However, if you accept that the rear seats are best reserved for occasional use, you’ll find the A5 very easy to live with day-to-day, with a decent sized boot adding to its broad appeal as a luxurious car for weekend trips away.
Interior space & storage
While few owners will have any trouble accessing the front of the A5, getting into the back seats can be a bit of a struggle due to that swoopy roof and two-door layout. But once in, you’ll find enough room for a couple of average-sized adults, although anyone over about six feet tall may well find their head brushing the roof sometimes. It’ll prove quite cramped on long journeys.
Audi A5 drivers with young children may be better off with the five-door Sportback model, as the two-door coupe body style makes it difficult to get them in and out. There are two ISOFIX child seat-mounting points, though, if you must have the A5 Coupe over the Sportback or Audi A4.
The A5’s boot is a bit smaller than the A4 saloon but the 450 litres on offer is by no means stingy compared to the A5’s swoopy rivals. It’s about the same size as the BMW 4 Series Coupe and at least 70 litres more than the Mercedes C-Class Coupe offers. It’s also nigh-on 90 litres more than you’ll find in the Lexus RC Coupe. The A5’s rear seats individually fold if you need to accommodate longer items.
Being based on the A4, the A5 is a decent tow-car. The 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI petrols can tow a braked trailer weighing 1,500kg up a 12% incline, and the 45 TFSI manages 1,700kg. That’s matched by the entry-level diesel; the 40 TDI can tow 100kg more.
Reliability & safety
Audi’s 30th-place overall finish out of 32 manufacturers in our 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey is concerning. Its placing means it’s now behind all of its main rival brands and only ahead of budget makers MG and Fiat in terms of owner satisfaction, so Audi has lots of work if it’s to move up the rankings in the coming years.
Audi A5 Coupe reliability
Although the A5 was a completely new car, many of the mechanical parts – such as the engines and quattro four-wheel-drive system – have been around for a while and so are well proven. However, we’ve heard of some issues with the Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, which fit into the ‘annoying’ rather than ‘catastrophic’ category.
The A5 appeared in our 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, coming in 70th place of the 75 cars ranked. That’s far from great, with the A5 falling behind in terms of a lack of driving pleasure, with owners criticising the steering and handling, the infotainment system, and the exterior styling. 23% of owners reported an issue with their Audi in the first year of ownership, and while this isn’t as bad as rival Mercedes (28%) or even parent company Volkswagen (26%), it’s far from impressive.
We’ve no concerns about the Audi A5 in terms of safety. It’s just about mechanically and structurally identical to the A4, to the extent that Euro NCAP has scored both models together. That means the A5 gets the full five stars, including an 89% adult occupant protection rating.
There’s plenty of standard safety kit, alongside all the mandatory equipment such as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, a host of airbags, tyre-pressure sensors and ISOFIX child-seat mounts. There’s also Audi’s pre-sense city system, which can stop the car automatically at low speeds to either stop or reduce the impact of a collision.
Which Is Best?
- Name40 TFSI Sport 2dr S Tronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- Name35 TDI Sport 2dr S Tronic [Comfort+Sound]
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- NameS5 TDI 341 Quattro 2dr Tiptronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto