And not surprisingly, it’s produced a car that’s very difficult to fault.
Efficiency. It’s a very Germanic trait. And of all the Teutonic automotive brands, Audi epitomises it best. Not only in its compact hatches and business-bound saloons which have to be affordable to run, but also in sportier, more impulse-purchase models. For goodness sake, they’ve even made a diesel version of their R8 supercar. The improved A5 Coupe we’re looking at here won’t raise quite as many eyebrows as that but it still claims to be a shockingly efficient way to have an awful lot of driving enjoyment.
Wherever you look across the range, running costs are substantially reduced, often despite significant hikes in power. So an A5 makes sense. But that’s not usually the over-riding reason for buying a car of this kind. Can it reward as much at the wheel as it does on the balance sheet? This is something that’ll be essential if this car is to continue to be able to face down its arch-rivals.
Audi fans will also point out that this car alone in its class offers the option of quattro four-wheel drive, tempting indeed given our wintry climate. Normally, this system distributes the engine’s power primarily to the rear but if necessary, can redistribute torque towards the front at lightning speed. Opt for the Sport differential that’s optional on top 3. 0-litre models and torque can even be distributed from side to side at the rear, firing you from corner to corner.
Under the bonnet, if you’re an enthusiastic driver, less is probably more. With less weight to carry around, lower-order 2WD petrol and diesel models feel more agile and more responsive than their pokier 3. 0-litre stablemates. In the TFSI petrol line-up, even the entry-level 177PS 1. 8-litre variant manages sixty in 8. 2s on the way to 142mph. Beyond that, there’s the 2. 0-litre TDI diesels which also offer plenty of performance.
If all that’s not enough and you really do want an A5 with a bit more straightline poke, then you’ll be pleased to know that the higher end petrol range is a lot more competitive these days.
The overall aesthetic look and feel of this car is an interesting mixture of straight lines, sweeping curves and convex surfaces gelling into a very good looking shape indeed. It’s one that looks even better in the metal, the wavy beltline that runs from the headlights back to the taillights remaining the car’s most distinctive feature.
It’s a practical shape too, a proper four-seater, with wide doors that make it easy to get in and out of the back. Once installed in the rear, you’ll find more room, though the sloping roofline means that those over six foot will want to bargain for a place upfront.
And behind the wheel? Well, it’s as beautifully finished as ever, tailored like a sleek-fitting suit, everything being clear and elegant. With this model, there are revised steering wheel designs, beefier column stalks, clearer instrumentation displays, neat chrome detailing, updated buttons, smarter upholstery and classy trim inlays. The optional MMI infotainment system is also easier to use, with fewer buttons and more logical menus (you can now even put in a 7-digit postcode into the sat nav). Through it, you can now access a whole raft of online options, everything from Google Earth mapping to in-car internet access.
The Audi A5 may not be the sportiest or the most prestigiously-badged compact executive sports coupe you can buy but the sales figures suggest it’s the one that most customers in this segment would rather have. The proof in the product is that Vorsprung Durch Technic is more than just a marketing slogan, a passion for perfection that means the company’s never-ending quest for better, more efficient products never stops.
And this is certainly one of those. And in every other respect – quality, practicality, value and running costs – this A5 is unequalled in its market. Very smart. Very cool. And very Audi.