Suggestion No. 3 – 2014 Audi A5 Premium
Audi and its traction-maxim are practically synonymous. The German brand’s all-wheel-drive technology is one of the most advanced systems on the market today; it’s the result of more than three decades of development and expertise.
The four-ring model we’re recommending for Chris is the brand’s sleek and beautiful A5. Even after years on the market this car is still gorgeous, with almost feminine curves to its body and an upscale overall appearance.
In Premium guise, the most affordable trim, it just complies with this week’s budget by squeaking in at $39,895, including $895 in delivery fees. For that outlay you get a genuinely first-class interior that shames the other two cars in this comparison, plus quattro all-wheel drive and a lot more.
Inside the driver and passenger are treated to three-zone climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, leather seating surfaces and aluminum trimmings all around. Outside the car rolls 18-inch wheels and you have TWO different designs to choose from at no extra charge; heated windshield-washer nozzles are also free.
Like the Accord you get three color options. Audi lets you choose between black, white and red for no extra charge. If you want something else plan on shelling out an additional $500.
Regrettably a navigation system is not offered – or even available – in the A5 Premium; you have to step up to a higher trim level to get it (it’s an extra $3,050 in the Premium Plus model). Audi, like other German automakers, loves nickel and diming customers; in the A5 even heated seats cost extra. Fortunately we’re pretty sure Chris can just spend a little spare change on a suction mount and use his iPhone for directions.
As for whirly bits, the A5 is powered by a smooth running 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. With direct fuel injection and turbocharging it delivers an unimpressive sounding 220 hp along with a more robust 258 lb-ft of torque. Fortunately performance really doesn’t suffer even with the relatively low horsepower rating. Paired with an easy-shifting six-speed manual transmission the zero to 60 dash takes a claimed 6.3 seconds; an eight-gear autobox is also offered.
The A5 has a serious power paucity vis-a-vis the other two cars in this feature, but the tradeoff may just make that acceptable. It’s expected to return 22 mpg in city driving and up to 32 on the highway. Its combined EPA score is a pretty impressive 26 mpg, numbers that blow the Honda and Ford away.
So, aside from front-, rear- and all-wheel drive we also highlighted one car that’s affordable, another that’s fast and a third that’s luxurious. At the end of the day each one has its own strengths, weaknesses and unique appeal. The Audi A5 is certainly slower than the Mustang and probably Accord as well, but it’s a lot more fuel efficient than either. With options like these it looks like Chris has a tough decision to make.
If you need a little assistance shopping for your next vehicle feel free to do the same. Send a short message to ask@AutoGuide.com. Let us know the basics of what you’re looking for. How many seats do you need? What size of vehicle do you want? How much are you willing to spend? With some of those fundamentals out of the way we’ll get busy to come up with two or three must-see vehicles that you’ll have to put on your test-drive list.