Audi A5 coupe - Engines, drive & performance
Calm and composed, but the new Audi A5 doesn’t sparkle
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 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 fitted.
Oddly, though, things are rather different for the range-topping S5. Like the next most powerful diesel version, it comes with Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system. We actually found that, with its adaptive dampers set to Comfort mode, the S5 has a more comfortable ride than the cheaper models. The S suspension is stiffer and 23mm lower, but the high-quality damping does a terrific job of reducing the harshness of imperfections in the road surface.
Yet a remarkable transformation occurs when you switch the adaptive dampers into dynamic mode: suddenly, the S5 is able to dart through corners in a way you wouldn’t have imagined possible after experiencing such a smooth ride. Although the steering doesn’t exactly feel alive in your hands, the quattro system offers loads of traction and it’s easy to use all that power safely and effectively.
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 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 187bhp diesel with standard four-wheel-drive cuts that time to 7.4 seconds. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel is now reserved for the S5 models, meaning this 2.0-litre unit is the only diesel option for the A5 coupe and cabriolet, which is reviewed separately.
Petrol buyers now have the choice of one turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, making 187bhp and doing 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. This is probably best-suited to lower-mileage drivers, as you’ll struggle to top 40mpg, but it is over £3,000 cheaper than the diesel engine with the same power output.
It 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.