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Audi A5 review

Auto Express logo Auto Express 24-01-2017 Auto Express

Our Rating: 
4/5
For: 
Classy cabin, comfortable, great tech
2017
Against: 
Dull, not great to drive, expensive

With the all-new A5, Audi has stuck to what it knows and developed a refined and luxurious coupe, if not one that is overly exciting. That lack of drama is also reflected in its design, which can look a little reserved compared to the svelte, purposeful Mercedes C-Class Coupe.

However, a fabulous cabin crammed with technology, a range of efficient engines and a wealth of standard kit makes the A5 a competent all-round coupe. 

4.3/5

The new Audi A5 isn’t a radical departure from the old model in terms of styling. The sloping roofline gives its some visual impact but the lines and overall shape of the coupe are quite conservative.

The body is a little longer but also narrower than before and the subtly embossed bonnet helps to differentiate it further from its A4 saloon sibling. Optional LED headlights also bring a new lighting signature and have been developed to avoid dazzling other road users when they’re driving towards you.

The A5 may not be the most visually appealing from the outside but the cabin is beautifully executed. The quality of plastics used inside the Audi is impressive and goes some way to justifying its hefty price.

As standard every A5 comes fitted with xenon headlamps, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth connectivity and Audi’s MMI infotainment system. 

The S5 Coupe is marked out by its 23mm reduction in ride height, unique front grille, 19-inch alloy wheels, rear diffuser and dual-exhausts. Other optional equipment available across both models includes a Bang & Olufsen 3S sound system, head-up display, adaptive dampers, wireless phone charging and carbon-effect inlays.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment 

With a lot of A5 Coupes destined to spend a lot of time on the motorway as company cars, features like the £250 Virtual Cockpit come into their own. 

The 12.3-inch widescreen display shows the sat-nav display straight in front of you, making it easier to follow the route guidance, while you can also change the radio station and look at the car’s efficiency data through the different menus.

It’s a hi-tech feature that fits well with the A5’s well-crafted cabin. Build quality is brilliant throughout, with a simple but smart layout to  the centre console adding to the premium feel.

4.1/5

Despite its sporty coupe looks the Audi A5 is very civilized and refined to drive. It’s based on the same chassis as the A4 saloon and comes with a range of different suspension options, which alter the way it drives. 

The 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel will be the big seller and comes paired with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is an option or standard, depending on trim level and this amplifies the A5’s clam and relaxed nature. Changes from the manual gearbox are a little bit notchy. 

Fitted with adaptive dampers (a £600 option), and in Comfort mode, the A5 glides effortlessly over most surfaces. Slightly rutted tarmac does cause it to fidget around, and flicking though the Drive select modes up to the Dynamic setting does make the ride noticeably firmer without really giving you anything back in terms of extra handling precision.

The steering is largely to blame for this as its light and accurate but doesn’t have a lot of feel. A BMW 4 Series is a far more engaging car to drive quickly. Having said that the A5 is no slouch – fitted with the 282bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel and quattro all-wheel drive is has impressive mid-range shove meaning it feels almost as fast as the flagship S5. 

Engines

Two TFSI petrol and three TDI diesel engines are available in the A5 coupe – power ranges from 187bhp to 282bhp. Across the range the new A5 is 17 per cent more powerful than the previous model but also 22 per cent more efficient. 

The range kicks off with the 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel, capable of 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds. Adding quattro all-wheel drive reduces that to 7.2 seconds but fuel economy does suffer.

The other two diesel options are a 215bhp and 282bhp versions of the 3.0-litre V6. The former can cover 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds, while the latter comes with quattro all-wheel drive as standard.

At the top of the range sits the S5 Coupe, powered by a new turbocharged 349bhp 3.0-litre V6, Audi claims it can hit 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. The only other petrol option is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, developing either 187bhp or 248bhp. 

A high number of Audi A5 Coupes will be bought as company cars, especially the 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel model. Audi claims that model can return up to 68.9mpg and emits 107g/km of CO2. That’s better than an equivalent BMW 4 Series 420d, while the Mercedes C-Class Coupe returns an identical figure.

Those figures mean a higher-rate earner running one as a company car will pay over £3,300 in tax annually. On test we couldn’t quite match Audi’s lofty fuel economy claims, returning only 40.9mpg – that means you’ll be paying an average of £1,425 per year on fuel. 

The most expensive model to run in the range is the S5. Audi claims its 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine will return up to 38.7mpg, but a BMW 440i will return slightly more on the combined cycle at 41.5mpg. 

If the ongoing VW diesel emissions scandal has encouraged you to think that your next car should be a petrol model, the more sensible 248bhp 2.0-litre turbo returns 47.9mpg and emits 136g/km of CO2. However, the higher levels of fuel consumption do mean it will be more costly to run as a company car than the 2.0-litre diesel. 

Insurance groups

The Audi A5 starts at group 26 for the entry-level 2.0 TDI Ultra in SE trim, while an equivalent S line model sits in group 29. The range rises to group 40 for the 248bhp 2.0 TFSI S line quattro S Tronic, while the 349bhp S5 sits in group 42.

By comparison, the BMW 4 Series ranges from group 24 for the 418d SE to group 42 for the 435d xDrive Luxury and M Sport.

4.2/5
3.8/5

One of the biggest sacrifices you have to make when opting for a coupe over a saloon is a lack of practicality. Having only two-doors can make access to the rear slightly awkward for taller adults and rather than three rear seats, you’ll only find two.

Once back there you will notice that there is more head and legroom than you’d initially think. Another plus is that the boot is only 15 litres down on the A4 saloon at 465 litres. That’s also 65 litres more than you get in a Mercedes C-Class Coupe

Size

Against the tape measure the A5 comes in at 4,673mm long, 1,846 wide and 1,371mm tall. That makes it longer than a BMW 4 Series but a little shorter than the Mercedes C-Class Coupe.

It’s not as tall as either of its closest rivals but it is the widest, which means more shoulder room for rear passengers. 

Legroom 

A wheelbase of 2,764mm should mean there isn’t as much space inside as in the BMW or Mercedes, as both of those models have a longer wheelbase. However, because the rooflne on the Audi isn’t as steeply raked as those of its rivals, there is more headroom. Legroom is very similar on all models, however.

Boot space 

The new A5 has 10 litres of extra boot space over the model it replaces, though, at 465 litres that’s still 10 litres less than the A4 Saloon on which its based. Happily, the boot is still larger than the 440-litre luggage area in the BMW and 400 litres in the Mercedes. The A5 also comes with a 40:20:40 split rear bench. 

3.9/5

Audi might have a good reputation globally but Auto Express readers voted the German brand in 21st place (out of 32) in the 2016 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. Worryingly, that’s eight places lower than it finished in 2015. 

Biggest gripes with buyers centered around reliability where it finished 23rd. However, build quality was rated very highly in sixth position.

There should be little to worry about in terms of safety, too. Euro NCAP scored both the A4 saloon and A5 coupe five stars out of five in its crash tests. It awarded the A5 89 per cent for adult occupant protection too.

Standard safety kit across the A5 range includes autonomous braking, stability control, a host of airbags and ISOFIX child-seat mounts. You can add Audi’s Driving Assistance pack for £1,250, which includes blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.

Warranty

Like every Audi, the A5 comes with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty. That’s pretty much industry standard but Mercedes and BMW both offer an unlimited mileage three-year warranty.

Servicing 

Your car should be serviced every year but the cost is reflected by the size of the engine. If you have a model that is powered by either a 2.0-litre petrol or diesel an interim service will cost you £164, while a major service is £319. For models that have an engine larger than 2.0 litres, Audi will charge £199 and £399 for the services respectively. 

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI - front cornering © Auto Express Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI - front cornering

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