Audi A5: Introduction
Sometimes in life, much like in most Maybelline Cosmetics commercials, you have to take a stand and say you are doing something simply “because you’re worth it.” Now, this can reasonably apply to any life decision but here it applies to the purchase of a luxury sport coupe. Sure, they may have back seats in the technical sense but they are designed for a driver, passenger and all of the Saks Fifth Avenue bags that fit in the trunk.
This is the car you buy for yourself once the kids are gone and fully off the family payroll. Or perhaps you chose not to have children and are rewarding yourself early for that financial decision. Hey, kids are expensive and the Audi A5 2.0T isn’t cheap ($46,245 as tested with destination). But less lavishly equipped A5 models start $37.790 but that’s before you hit Audi’s deliciously tempting options list.
With all of the high utility minivans, SUVs, crossovers and family sedans on the market today, it may seem like sheer narcissistic opulence to spend so much money on a two-door luxury vehicle, but really, those cars do nothing but make you look like a dork... or worse still, invisible. With the Audi A5 2.0T quattro we can guarantee that people will be checking you out. In the immortal words of Justin Timberlake it just might be able to help you get your “Sexy Back.”
Audi A5: Exterior
In its most stripped down shape sans the subtle body spoilers found on our test unit, the Audi A5 2.0T sports coupe can off visually as a bit simple in regards to its exterior lines and to some might even look positively shapeless next to the ever flirtatious two-seat Audi TT. But just like any high end retail department store salesperson will tell you, the key to looking your best comes down to wearing the right colors and accessories. Not many people or cars are just born “pretty” but we can say unequivocally that our “baby seal” white Audi A5 was very striking, indeed.
It’s not until moments like this that you also realize the Audi TT and Angelina Jolie are two of the most divinely inspired works of art that can also oddly enough be called “frigid enough to freeze the nipples off of an iceberg.” Apparently the iceberg that sank the R.M.S. Titanic shared this ability but no one would or could confirm or deny this, not even James Cameron who directed the movie “Titanic” and is also the self-proclaimed “King of the World.” You’d think he’d know the answer to such things if that statement were true.
In this same vein, the looks of the Audi A5 may be less bold than some other similar vehicles but they are much warmer to the eye and the coupe gives off a sporty yet endearingly friendly appearance. If you want cold visuals go down and visit a BMW dealer and ask for a 3-Series. The A5 may not look as menacing but its style is one that cannot be denied. Also as is the case with many Audi vehicles, you will learn that you actually look prettier to others when you are driving it. It’s a scientific fact.
Audi A5: Interior
It’s the usual Audi story on the inside of the A5 meaning the highest quality materials and exemplary build quality. The dashboard is identical to the one found in the A4 and Q5 which does diminish its “specialness” somewhat but the design is unfailingly ergonomic and it feels built to withstand the Mayan apocalypse come 2012. Or your messy friends who insist on putting their feet on the dash during road trips even though that would probably kill them in an accident where the airbag deployed. We don’t care how much yoga you do, it would at least hurt.
Our A5 came lavishly equipped with Audi’s excellent in-dash navigation system, burl walnut wood inlays, xenon headlamps, 18-inch 10 spoke alloy wheels, Bluetooth, USB/iPod integration, heated front seats, 3-zone climate control, auto headlamps and windshield wipers as well as the most awe inspiring audio system we have yet tested designed by Bang & Olufsen. Seriously, you haven’t heard the soundtrack to “Dreamgirls” until you’ve heard it on this audio system.
The front seats of the A5 offer up plenty of room and support on long drives but the back seat is, to be quite honest, about as useful as a Kardashian without a reality TV show. The rear perch is split by a plastic center console with tiny cupholders which apparently made it very comfortable to lie down back there for our staff canine auto tester even with a blanket covering it. In fact, she refused to get into the Audi at all after one ride. So if you are thinking the A5 would work as a dog car, think again.
Otherwise, however, the Audi A5 quattro has an interior whose quality, design and overall feel belie its hefty price tag. You will never feel short changed during your commute to work in this vehicle. Not only is it refined, quiet and cosseting but it offers a level of subdued elegance and style unmatched in its class.
Audi A5: Driving Impressions and Safety
Although the Audi A5 hasn’t been tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS for crash test safety, given this automaker’s record in this department we can’t imagine that it would perform poorly. Also, do you really want to dent your new Audi? That sounds like our worst nightmare realized but perhaps that’s just us.
As far as luxury sport coupes go, there are faster options out there like the BMW 335i or Infiniti G37 but neither or those will return EPA estimates of 21 city/29 highway. In our less than frugal hands the Audi returned an impressive 24.8 miles per gallon over the course of a one week period. Do remember, however, that all A5 models run on premium unleaded gasoline but do come with a nicely sized 16.9 gallon fuel tank.
But make no mistake, the A5’s 2.0 liter 211 horsepower/258 horsepower turbocharged and direct injected 4-cylinder is no sluggard. Passing power is always ample on the freeway and 0-60 comes up in just 6.6 seconds. Top speed for the Audi A5 2.0T quattro is electronically limited to 130 miles per hour which should be fast enough for most commuters... on the German Autobahn.
This class leading engine pumps power to all four wheels with imperceptible turbo lag and does so with an engine note that is both sporting and refined. Thanks to the inclusion of Audi’s iconic quattro all-wheel drive system this luxury sport coupe would make an excellent vehicle for taking weekend ski trips with that special someone. Or it might just be perfect for being able to safely back out of your occasionally icy driveway 365 days out of the year. Try that in a BMW or Infiniti.
Audi’s 2.0 liter motor has long been the luxury gold standard by balancing frugality with power and proved premium badged automobiles don’t need 6-cylinder engines to compete. Most drivers won’t notice any difference in power or refinement other than the fact that the A5’s engine is a lot smoother than an Infiniti G37’s.
Although the Audi A5 2.0T quattro is available with a slick six-speed manual option, our tester came with the all-new for this model year 8-speed automatic. While we usually prefer our sport coupes with self-shifters the new 8-speed unit is so accomplished at keeping the engine in the power zone that it might just tempt the most ardent lover of clutch pedals. The automatic in the A5, as is true in all Audi products, works seamlessly and is the picture of refinement.
The Audi A5 might not handle and steer with the laser sharp precision of some luxury rivals but it counters that with an unparalleled feeling of stability and security at speed. Seriously, the faster you go in the A5 the more hunkered down and precise that the whole driving experience becomes. This may mean that the A5 will encourage you to drive too fast but we doubt that this explanation will help you get out of any speeding tickets.
Audi A5: Final Thoughts
For all intents and purposes, the Audi A5 2.0T quattro is not the most practical or sensible new car purchase. But whoever said that your choice in new car needed to be based on those two soul smothering concepts? Leave practical and sensible to the PTA Soccer Moms and your Audi A5 2.0T quattro will afford you the gift of an enriching and fun driving experience. It will also look good while it’s giving you that precious gift that all driving enthusiasts treasure.
So while the back seats of the A5 are nice to have just in case, don’t plan on using them very often as neither humans nor canines are very happy back there. Just think of them as perches for your shopping or the area where you hang your dry cleaning and your expectation levels should be about right. At the very least, take heart knowing that the A5 offers a large trunk much like the A4 so in that sense it is more utilitarian than, say, the TT.
The Audi A5 2.0T quattro, however, is mainly a testament to the joy of driving and the quickly vanishing ability to express oneself through your automobile. The A5 is just as much a style statement as a statement that you have arrived. But most importantly it says that you are having one hell of a good time.
Audi provided the vehicle for this review
Photos by James Hamel