One of the oldest Audis still shows impressive form
SOME of us when we think of Audi see in our mind’s eye not a Volkswagen-derived SUV or hatchback but something more like that shown here.
That the A5 coupe is, next the outgoing TT, the oldest car with four rings on the nose says much for the verities of a classical coupe. We’ve seen four prime ministers since the A5 lobbed in 2007, but the Walter da Silvadesigned two-door endures.
Though ergonomically challenging even by coupe standards (writer Michael Stahl called it “not a 2+2, but a two plus luggage”) the exterior lines are everything, and to these eyes they are all right. With a replacement more than 12 months off (a new A4 sedan will proceed it), the A5 has been tarted up with a limited edition S line Competition pack.
Deeply superficial additions to the usual production car include 20-inch wheels, ducktail spoiler and a yet more pleasant than usual interior trim. Of greater substance are the standard fixtures including xenon lights, navigation plus with 20GB hard drive and voice control, rear camera and parking sensors. But no USB port? That shows its age.
Incrementally dearer than the standard issue A5 2.0 TFSI quattro (Audi’s nomenclature remains as clumsy as its cars are visually striking), the pricing is fairly delusional. This A5 is barely less expensive than BMW’s near new 428i and substantially dearer than the brand new M235i — with its turbo straight six, the best BMW of the decade to date.
Audi would cavil that the latter is a smaller car and therefore hardly comparable but would be wrong. The difference is to be found in its character. Though more agile than the bigger engined but blunter A5s, the 2.0 TFSI is still more a grand tourer, a weight watcher’s muscle car, than an outright sports car.
Part of that is default. Steering that lacks both weight and feel is Audi’s speciality, yet the 2.0-litre turbo four present here is lighter in the nose than the supercharged petrol or turbo diesel V6s that power more expensive A5s. Even on 20s the ride is markedly better than the first run A5s we tried with their unerring ability to scrape chins on every driveway and speed bump.
The 0-100kmh sprint time of 6.4 seconds impresses no one 6-speed man, 7-speed dual-clutch auto; AWD
6.6L-6.7L/100km but the unflustered manner in which the A5 achieves it does.
Even in the manual version that no one will want, as opposed to the S-tronic twinclutch auto, power down is never a problem, all-paw traction ensuring linear movement off the mark that few equally powerful rear-drive cars can manage without flaring traction control warning lights.