The two-door variant of Ingolstadt’s brilliant A4 saloon is here with slightly sharper lines, more tech and a refined cabin. wheels’ Sony Thomas promptly takes it for a spin
Lighter, faster, sharper… Audi’s A5 is one of the best in its category. But looks-wise, it’s another story.
In most walks of life, less is always less and more is always more. It’s mostly the case in the automobile world as well. However, when it comes to the number of doors in a car, strangely, less is always more. A two-door variant of a four-door car is invariably considered more stylish and attractive. And, above all, it projects the impression of a sportier drive, which is mostly the case as well.
This is why, despite many compromises that have to be made in the case of a coupé compared to its four-door sibling, almost every mainstream automaker from BMW and Mercedes to Lexus and Infiniti makes a two-door variant for their popular saloons. Our test car this week is one such, and it starts off with a distinct advantage. The Audi A5 couldn’t have asked for a better template than the current generation A4. Lighter, faster, sharper to drive and boasting one of the best four-cylinder engines in its class, the new A4 outclassed the Jaguar XE, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Cadillac ATS in a group test we did nearly a year ago.
Our tester doesn’t come with the same 252bhp, 370Nm turbo four-pot. Instead the 40 TFSI model gets the less powerful version of the 2.0-litre block, which, mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic, churns out 190bhp and 320Nm of torque. Although relatively lower on output figures, the base engine’s real-world performance is impressive enough, with surprisingly remarkable amounts of twist at your disposal from lower down the rev band. In fact, the base A5’s outstanding performance will be more than sufficient for the majority of buyers in this segment, and only those who are particular about owning rangetopping models or those who can’t do without all-paw grip need to look at the A5 45 TFSI or V6-powered S5.
There are four drive modes, Eco, Normal, Dynamic and Individual. I recommend leaving it in Dynamic as it keeps the suspension firm enough and the steering sharp enough without compromising on ride quality or refinement. And it’s handy that once Dynamic is chosen, it doesn’t default back to Normal as it does in many cars. Select it before you drive out of the showroom and forget it. Steering is crisp in its response with satisfactory
levels of feedback, but isn’t quite as precise as the one in the BMW 4 Series or even Audi’s TT coupé. But overall, the A5 offers plenty of fun behind its wheel, and offers enough grip to handle the limits of its power output.
Getting into a comfortable position behind the wheel is also easy with myriad seat and steering wheel adjustment options and a perfectly contoured seat that can be further fine-tuned for additional lumbar support. The cabin design and layout are elegant and simple, as in every other model from Ingolstadt. Materials used and build quality are top-notch and it’s a much better space to be in than the cabins of comparable Mercedes or BMW models. Audi’s MMI infotainment system is anchored by a 7.0in interface placed on the centre of the dashboard and controlled via a rotary dial on the centre console.
A digital Virtual Cockpit with a 12.3in screen behind the steering wheel replaces the conventional instrument cluster. It also comes with a raft of tech features as standard including parking aid with rear-view camera, front-, side- and curtain airbags, three-zone air conditioning, tyre pressure monitoring and stopstart system. Our test car comes equipped with optional extras such as the virtual cockpit, three-spoke flat-bottom leather steering wheel and MMI navigation with touch function.
The only aspect where the new A5 is a bit underwhelming is its looks. Despite the revised grille, optional LED headlights, a crisper shoulder line and the S Line exterior package, the A5 isn’t as striking in its appearance as its rivals. This could work well for someone who wants a sporty premium coupé but likes to shun flamboyance. If you fall into that category, the new A5 warrants serious consideration with prices starting at a reasonable Dh187,600.
Lighter, faster, SHARPER to drive and boasting one of the best fourcylinder engines in its class, the new A4 OUTCLASSED the Jaguar XE, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Cadillac ATS in our group test
While the LED lights and new grille add character to the front, its rivals have the advantage in the looks department