Many consider the Audi A5 to be an attractive car, so a drastic facelift for 2013 wasn’t necessary. Still, sprucing up a car’s styling hardly ever hurts. The headlights and grill are revamped while crease lines on the hood and sides are now sharper. Expanded front air ducts give the car a wider look while LEDs in the headlights complete the refresh.
|1. The 2.0 TFSI engine makes 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and can hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.
2. Fuel economy is 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
3. Starting at $37,850 the Prestige Package tops out at $48,500.
4. An A5 Cabriolet is also offered from $43,350.
In true Audi form, there’s nothing over-the-top here. Volkswagen saves that for Lamborghini (parent company to both). Instead, tasteful touches fill the four-ring brand’s playbook, and nothing’s changed in that regard.
CONSERVATIVE YET MODERN INTERIOR
That consistency continues with the cabin’s quality, which is a very good thing.
Leather covers the 8-way power seats and is standard equipment. The front buckets will keep you in place without being intrusive on longer drives — something brand stoics have come to expect.
Soft touch materials grace the dash, door armrests and sills, as well as the center console. Audi also expanded interior appointment options this year. Interior trim choices include wood grains, piano black surfaces and a handsome woven aluminum finish.
The S5 includes a moon roof to lend the cockpit a larger, more airy feel. Unfortunately, that airy feeling is cut short because you can’t actually open it. Instead, it’s limited to tilting up for a touch of fresh air. Odd at a minimum, it might be downright misleading.
Of course, all that space and luxury falls to pieces for rear seat passengers. Space back there is simply too sparse to accommodate adults in comfort. That’s the classic coupe quandary and something that hardly merits complaint.
The rear seats fold down, however, to enlarge the already-acceptable 12.2 cubic foot trunk, so that two passengers will have plenty of room for a long touring trip. And cabin storage is also ample with a locking glove box and console, and generous door storage.
Audi adds its MMI Navigation plus system this year along with a seven-inch touch screen on the center stack. That includes a voice control system, SD card slots and DVD playback.
Owners also benefit this year from the brand’s Audi Connect online service, which adds Google Local Search and Google Earth maps. The car can even serve as a wi-fi hotspot for up to eight devices. Plus, you also get streaming Bluetooth audio.
2.0 TFSI: DOES IT HUFF AND PUFF, OR IS IT ENOUGH?
Power comes from a direct injection, 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder unit. It makes 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque from 1500 rpm. While that isn’t bad, it’s down quite a bit compared to the turbo 4-cyliner in the BMW 328i – which will be offered soon in the new 4 Series Coupe. That said, Audi shouldn’t have any trouble tweaking this engine for more power… we just wish they already had.
With a 0-60 sprint in just over six seconds, the A5 isn’t a slouch, but it’s no starting athlete either. Long uphill drives are a big weak spot for a car that weighs roughly 3,700 lbs.
But with an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway from an all-wheel drive vehicle, it’s tough to complain too much. Some of the credit here goes to the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission that handles shifting – not to be confused with the dual-clutch S tronic seven-speed unit in the S5. You miss out on paddle shifters here, but the shift lever allows the driver to push through all eight gears quickly. It’s a pleasure to play with on twisting roads.
While the A5 features a five-link front suspension and a sophisticated array of upper and lower suspension points and trailing links, and has independent rear suspension with anti-roll bar, keep in mind that it wasn’t designed to be a sports car. It is, rather, a sporting luxury GT coupe, with ride and handling designed for comfortable cruising.
Highway miles glide by with a supple and quiet ride. That being said, you still get athletic, crisp response from spirited driving. There is more body lean than is optimal, but the car always feels in control, and the all–wheel-drive system does a great job of inspiring driver confidence in its road holding abilities. The electromechanical power steering feels light, precise and communicative.
WHAT IT COSTS, WHAT YOU GET
The A5 is available in three trims. The Premium trim level offers a very well equipped car and begins at $37,850. The Premium Plus adds such features as LED taillights, Xenon headlights, heated seats, Bluetooth phone, and iPod interface, and bumps the price up to $42,600 with the Tiptronic.
Finally, the Prestige package adds Adaptive Headlights, Audi Advanced Keyless entry and start, the MMI Navigation Plus, blind spot outside mirrors and a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and starts at $48,500. And many of Audi’s optional features are available as separate options.
Even in base trim, the A5 is an entertaining, sporty luxury coupe. The car’s virtues are enhanced greatly as you climb through the packages, and if you can afford to, you should.
Perhaps relying too much on its good looks, the A5’s 2.0T engine seems out of place in this package.Still, performance, handling and executive amenities are combined to create a comfortable, elegant driving machine.