Audi A5 coupe
“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.
As with most coupes, the A5 isn't really designed with a carload of people in mind – the two rear seats are best suited to young children or as an extension to the relatively generous boot. If you need more space, the five-door A5 Sportback is a better bet.
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. 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 the one 2.0-litre petrol engine with 187bhp, badged 40 TFSI, while diesel buyers are served by a same-sized engine with either 161 or 187bhp, badged 35 TDI and 40 TDI respectively.
There are two sporty petrol models at the top of the range – the S5 with a 342bhp, 3.0-litre V6 mild-hybrid diesel engine and the blisteringly fast RS5, which has a 2.9-litre V6 engine and no less than 444bhp. For most drivers, though, the powerful 2.0-litre engines 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. 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 a 40 TFSI S line starting from over £40.000. The A5 may not be the most exciting coupe in the world, but it’s one of the easiest to live with.