Evo­lu­tion of a species

Slick styling and superb en­gines stand out among the Audi coupe’s vi­tal signs. Iain Curry re­ports

The Advertiser - Motoring - - PRESTIGE -

AUDI buy­ers are typ­i­cally a stylish lot and the A5 Coupe has been their go-to car for good looks over the past decade.

So the Ger­man brand has re­sisted the temp­ta­tion to tinker too much with the styling for the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion A5 and sportier S5 Coupes.

De­sign­ers have “en­hanced all of the A5’s strong points,” says Audi Aus­tralia prod­uct plan­ner Peter Strud­wicke, rather than rev­o­lu­tionise things.

This evo­lu­tion brings a wider and flat­ter front grille, a sub­tle power dome for the bon­net and a sharper crease in the flanks that em­pha­sises the wheel arches and cre­ates a more mus­cu­lar look.

Styling is not the sole draw­card. The four-model range is flush with the lat­est in­fo­tain­ment and safety as­sis­tance fea­tures, as well as im­proved econ­omy and per­for­mance from the new petrol and diesel en­gine line-up.

BMW’s 4 Se­ries and Benz’s C-Class Coupe are the A5’s key Ger­man ri­vals and Audi presents stern op­po­si­tion with its more nu­mer­ous stan­dard in­clu­sions, at­trac­tive cab­ins and can’t-pick-a-bad-one en­gine range.

En­try to the A5 club be­gins at $69,900 for the front-drive 2.0 TFSI. The quat­tro diesel lands at $73,900 and the hot­ter TFSI quat­tro — the ex­pected best­seller — is $81,500. Peak per­former for now (the bal­lis­tic new RS5 ar­rives late this year) is the S5 quat­tro with turbo V6 at $105,800 — the price has come down some $17,000 on the pre­vi­ous model to meet the mar­ket (namely, MercedesAMG’s C43 Coupe).

Prices over­all are more com­pet­i­tive and Audi claims there’s up to $26,000 ad­di­tional value in the new cars.

Stan­dard safety as­sis­tance in­cludes au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing (up to 85km/h), side as­sist, rear cross traf­fic alert, rear cam­era and “exit warn­ing” to stop you open­ing your door on cy­clists.

Audi’s ex­cel­lent “vir­tual cock­pit”, the 12.3-inch screen be­hind the steer­ing wheel, can be con­fig­ured to show high-res nav­i­ga­tion, me­dia and phone menus and even con­ven­tional odome­ter read­ings.

Even at en­try level, there are 18-inch al­loys, LED lights front and rear, in-car Wi-Fi, smart­phone in­ter­face, tri-zone air­con and leather ap­pointed seats.

The new cars are lighter by up to 40kg (60kg on the S5), helped by trim new sus­pen­sion.

There’s slightly more space for the two rear pas­sen­gers — legroom is fine but head­room is still tight — while Audi claims a best-in-seg­ment boot at 465L and more eco­nom­i­cal en­gines than its ri­vals.

ON THE ROAD

Audi has long ruled the pre­mium cabin roost in terms of style, fin­ish and func­tion­al­ity, and the A5’s is a user-friendly beauty. Ac­cess to the in­fo­tain­ment is via a high­res 8.3-inch screen and it’s sim­ple to scroll through menus on a ro­tary dial. Qual­ity touches abound and but­tons re­spond to just a tap of the fin­ger.

Superb torque and econ­omy make the four-cylin­der diesel the pick over the slightly cheaper 140kW petrol.

The al­lure of a high-revving petrol en­gine can’t be for­got­ten, though, and the 185kW 2.0-litre packs true sport­ing in­tent, hit­ting 100km/h in 5.8 sec­onds.

The S5, even at a $24,000 pre­mium, looks bet­ter value than ever, in part thanks to big­ger brakes, more safety gear, Nappa leather and car­bon-fi­bre cabin in­lays.

The pre­vi­ous su­per­charged V6 gives way to a 260kW turbo V6 that clocks 4.7 sec­onds for the 0-100km/h sprint.

Adap­tive sus­pen­sion comes stan­dard across the range, en­abling ad­just­ment for com­fort or sporti­ness, and all ex­am­ples show ex­cel­lent bal­ance and grip. The steer­ing on the A5 and sportier S5 is pre­cise but lacks feel.

VER­DICT

The A5 main­tains its good looks and en­hances value, with more stan­dard in­clu­sions and lower prices. The drive is as­sured and com­posed but not as sporty as a BMW, mainly due to lack of steer­ing feel.

How­ever it re­mains a well­built, beau­ti­fully de­signed and com­pe­tent grand tourer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.