All-round wheel deal
Audi distributes torque on the new A5 coupe, JAMES STANFORD
THERE is something not right about a prestige performance coupe being front-wheeldrive. That’s why we weren’t too excited about the Audi A5 3.2 front-drive model equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which was released last year.
Audi has rolled out an A5 using the same engine, but with a regular automatic that sends power to each wheel. It looks just as sexy as the front-drive model, but has a traction advantage.
The A5 is an incredibly important car to Audi. Not in terms of sales, but because of what it symbolises. Audi is doing its best to rival and even outdo BMW, which explains models such as the R8 supercar.
It has matched most of BMW’s cars so far, but hasn’t, in modern times, had a coupe version of its A4 executive sedan that would rival the lovely 3 Series coupe.
Well, here it is. The A5 is built off the same base as the new A4, which means it has a repositioned steering rack to give the car a sportier feel.
It is a sleek two-door model with seats for four people and 455 litres of boot space. Just like the A4, it has a five-link front suspension set-up and a trapezoidal link rear with most components made of forged aluminium.
The A5 has a 3.2-litre direct injection V6 engine with 195kW at 6500 revs and 330Nm at 3000-5000 revs. That allows the A5 to sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.4sec.
The quattro AWD system now feeds 60 per cent of torque to the rear and 40 per cent to the front to give the car more of a rear-drive feel.
This compares with the previous A4 setting that torque split 50/50.
The fuel consumption figure is not too bad, with the traditional automatic using 9.3 litres/100km, slightly up on the CVT model’s 8.7 litres.
The new automatic is a sixspeeder, which can be manually controlled using the gear shifter or by operating pedals behind the steering wheel.
A sportier and more expensive S5 variant is available with a 4.2-litre V8 engine that has 260kW.
Audi also plans to fill out the A5 range with a 3.0-litre turbodiesel version in November and a new entry level 1.8-litre petrol model early next year.
Pricing for the A5 range starts with the front-drive 3.2 CVT model at $91,900 and the new A5 AWD auto is $95,900.
Audi has announced the diesel A5 is likely to cost about $97,000, while the entry level 1.8 is about $70,000.
The V8 S5 comes at a significant premium, costing $131,900 as either an automatic or manual.