What is the Audi A5?
Svelte, sleek styling is what separates the Audi A5 line-up from its more practic0al siblings wearing A4 badges.
Rivals include the BMW 4 Series, two-door versions of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus RC. Now into its second generation, the latest A5 had big boots to fill after the success of the original, which debuted alongside the R8 in 2007. It was the more affordable but still-stylish sideshow to Audi’s breakout supercar, offering LED-lit glamour and, in more expensive forms, a tuneful V8 soundtrak. It also boasted something that the R8 didn’t have: four seats and a substantial boot.
- Top speed: 130-155mph
- 0-62mph: 3.9-8.9 seconds
- Fuel economy: 32-68mpg
- Emissions: 109-197g/km of CO2
- Boot space: 380-1,300 litres
Which versions of the Audi A5 are available?
First of the Mk2s to appear in 2016 was the two-door Audi A5 Coupe, followed just a few months later by the more practical – and popular – five-door Audi A5 Sportback. Those looking for open-top motoring only had to wait until spring 2017 when the second-generation Audi A5 Cabriolet appeared.
You can have everything from a tepid four-cylinder front-wheel-drive A5 to a fire-breathing twin-turbo RS 5, and in between, there is a strong range of petrol and diesel models, with the hot V6 turbo S5 bridging the performance gap. As yet, no TFSI e plug-in hybrid or fully electric E-Tron versions have been offered. All A5 variants start in Sport trim, then progress through S Line, Black Edition and Vorsprung specifications, with S5 and RS 5 topping the line-ups.
What are the Audi S5 and Audi RS 5?
You can have your fast A5s in two levels of performance: there’s the S5 with 354hp turbocharged V6 or there’s the RS 5 with 450hp under the bonnet, although that – for now – is only available with the two-door Coupe and five-door Sportback bodystyles.
Setting the RS 5 apart are bulbous wheelarches, a honeycomb grille and big oval exhausts to let everyone know it’s the boss. By comparison, the S5 is the more subtle sleeper model, with silver accenting and quad exhausts quietly hinting at its potential.
Styling and engineering
Being closely related to the A4, the A5 rides on the same modular Volkswagen Group MLB underpinnings. Broad haunches, a long bonnet and a sloping rear end make for something altogether more exotic than the A4 – and some of that model’s smaller diesel engines aren’t included as they would sully the A5’s sportier nature. Instead, larger V6 diesels join rortier petrols in the mid-range. Inside, quality is high and better than most rivals, although the MMI media system has aged compared with the touchscreens newer Audis get. The cabin design remains pleasing, though, and its touchpoints remain satisfying.
Is it good to drive?
While the Quattro all-wheel drive models have superb grip levels and the ride quality is compliant, the A5 falls short of the level of driver involvement offered by the BMW 4 Series. It might look more exotic, but it loses out to the BMW’s more engaging steering and rear-wheel-drive handling bias.
While the A5 is particularly wide of the 4 Series’ mark is with its back-road nature, it wins in terms of all-season pace. A Quattro-equipped A5 will rip through the roughest rainstorm at pace and with ease, while the 4 Series gets a sweat on, providing it’s not xDrive-equipped. Audi Drive Select offers scope for customisation in terms of how the A5 drives, too.
How much does the Audi A5 cost?
In the world of plush four-seat coupes, the A5 is sensibly priced. Alongside the 4 Series, it typically undercuts rivals from Mercedes and Lexus by around £1,000 and £4,000 respectively at the entry level. Engine options are more or less competitive price-wise, but higher trim levels will see costs rocket. Vorsprung: we’re looking at you. Given the A5 is right in the middle of its production cycle, neither introductory nor run-out deals are currently available. Still, a refresh is never far away, so it’s always worth asking. Overall the A5 represents decent value in its segment.
See how drivers of the Audi A5 rate their cars with our comprehensive owners’ reviews.
Audi A5 Model History
First-generation Audi A5 (2007-17)
Although the history of the Audi A5 isn’t extensive, it is a success story.
The first-generation two-door Audi A5 Coupe arrived in 2007, following the R8 and Q7 in Audi’s three-pronged premium attack and reinvention.
It offered something crisper and more exotic-looking than the contemporary BMW 3 Series Coupe, neither was it merely a two-door derivative of the A4. It was the first executive Coupe in Audi’s line-up since the 80-based model coupe went out of production in 1996.
While it didn’t sell in volumes anywhere near what its fleet of SUVs does today, the original A5 did great things for Audi’s image.
Expansion of the range came in 2009, first with the soft-top Audi A5 Cabriolet and later courtesy of the five-door Audi A5 Sportback, complete with an enormous tailgate. Those with long memories will doubtless recall the similarities between it and the Audi 100 Avant of the late-1970s.