What is it? The Audi A5 is an all-new version of a highly successful coupé.
Key features: Weight saving, sharper shape, more space and tech.
Our View: The second generation of the Audi A5 builds on the success of the first model, evolved in all areas without losing the original appeal.
Type of review: First UK drive
A typically busy year of launches for Audi ends with the first deliveries of the new, second-generation Audi A5 Coupe, and this is an important model for the brand.
It might not be one of the core, larger-volume models, but the A5 is Audi’s contender in a market where desirability is everything. The brand’s Jon Zammett claims that the two-door, booted car is the spiritual successor to the original Audi Quattro of the early 1980s, and that when the first A5 went on sale in 2007 it revolutionised a market that until then had consisted totally of four-door saloons.
Audi A5 Coupe styling
There is no doubt that the A5 has been a major success for Audi, and as a result while the Mk2 version may be completely new from the ground up, it is also an evolution of what has gone before.
So the styling of the new car’s body is fresh, but existing A5 owners will immediately recognise it as a member of the family, with details passed down such as the wave-shaped shoulder line, long bonnet and wheel-on-each-corner proportions.
There are changes of course, most visually in the grille that is noticeably wider, but flatter, while the windscreen pillars have been shifted further back – the car looks the part.
The aerodynamics have been improved. Measures such as relocating the mirrors from the base of the windscreen pillar to the tops of the doors allow Audi to claim the A5’s CD figure of 0.25 as best-in-class. Combined with weight saving of up to 60kg, this is good news in the eco department.
The diet comes courtesy of Audi’s latest multi-material construction techniques, a process we’ve seen on several other models now. The new Audi A5 sits on the latest evolution of the VW Group’s widely employed MLB architecture – it is 47mm longer than its predecessor at 4,673mm, while the width loses 8mm to measure up at 1,846mm. At 1,371mm the height is only a single digit less than its predecessor but still one of the lowest in the segment.
The wheelbase grows too, by 13mm, which frees up some extra interior space, and certainly there is no lack of interior room in either front or back seats. And then there is the boot, 10 litres larger than its predecessor at 465 litres.
Inside the Audi A5 Coupe
Step inside, and first-generation A5 owners will notice big changes, while anyone who drives a 2016 Audi will be in familiar surroundings. In this case evolving from the likes of the Audi A4, the latest cockpit design offers great quality and attention to detail – the ambient lighting, for example can be adjusted by 30 shades.
What one gets in terms of equipment will depend on which of the three trim levels, SE, Sport or S line, is chosen, and how deeply the ever-more widened options list is dipped into. Zammett says that typical A5 customers will have no qualms about spending £4,000 more on the top-spec versions; “it’s not a price-sensitive car, people choose a coupé as a lifestyle choice,” he adds.
It’s pretty likely, therefore, that many will go for the MMI navigation plus upgrade which extends the touchscreen monitor atop the centre console to 8.3 inches and crucially dumps the analogue dash dials for the now well-known Audi digital cockpit.
At launch the A5 customer has a choice of a petrol engine and two diesels – plus a somewhat special petrol unit. All are improved over predecessors, with quite a lot more power and up to 22 per cent better fuel economy.
By far the majority of sales, particularly to fleet buyers, will come from the 2.0-litre TDI diesel of 190hp – in its most economical form, mounted in an Ultra designated car, it returns combined cycle fuel economy of more than 70mpg, and CO2 emissions of just 105g/km.
On the road
The Car Expert drove the Audi A5 Coupe 190 TDI on the launch event and it fulfils the brief in all areas – a wide spread of usable power with plenty of low-down torque, plus refined cruising at motorway speeds.
If one wants more power with similar economy, the six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel of 218hp ticks all the boxes, and it will be available from early 2017 in a significantly more potent 286hp version.
For petrol fans the current engine of choice is a 2.0-litre TFSI of 252hp – or one can go for the Audi S5 performance model, unusually launching at the same time as the first new A5s – it uses a newly developed 3.0-litre version of the six-cylinder TFSI engine, with a mere 354hp on offer, 21 horses more than the previous S5. We’ll be producing a separate test on the S5 soon.
If there has been a regular criticism of Audi cars in the recent past it has been for ride quality. Not so the new Audi A5. Whether in standard front-wheel-drive versions or with the quattro all-wheel-drive that is optional across the range and standard on 3.0-litre diesels, the car rides roads in comfort, smothers poor surfaces and corners with confidence-inducing precision.
Aiding the basics is of course plenty of technology – Audi tells us that some 30 driver assist systems are available for the A5. The Audi Drive Select offers plenty of choice in the car’s setup, the options list includes such notables as adaptive suspension with damper control, and there are a host of new technologies that can for example keep the A5 in its motorway lane, move and stop the car in a traffic queue, even stop the driver exiting the door and being hit by a passing car – certainly perusing the choices available and adding up the costs will be a major part of the A5 buying process…
First deliveries of the coupé are underway as this is published and the car will soon have plenty of siblings for company in showrooms. The Audi A5 range is now a family – the five-door Sportback variant arrives in January, and a cabriolet will not be far behind.
The new Audi A5 Coupe achieves its purpose – it builds on the success of the initial model and keeps Audi firmly in the battle for dominance of a sector where desirability means as much, perhaps more, to the customer as does specification.
Audi A5 Coupe – key specifications
Models Tested: Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI S tronic 190PS
On Sale: December 2016
Range price: £36,480-£41,375. Audi S5: £47,000
Insurance groups: TBA
Engines: Petrol 2.0. Diesel 2.0, 3.0. Audi S5: Petrol 3.0
Power (hp): 252. 190, 218. Audi S5: 354
Torque (Nm): 370. 400, 400. Audi S5: 500.
0-62mph (sec): 5.8. 7.7, 6.2. Audi S5: 4.7.
Top speed (mph): 155. 146*, 155. Audi S5: 155
Fuel economy (combined, mpg): 47.9. 67.3*, 61.4. Audi S5: 38.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 141. 111*, 123. Audi S5: 170.
Key rivals: BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupé
Test Date: November 2016
* = with 18-inch wheels. With 17-inch – 130mph, 70.6mpg, 105g/km