When the words Audi quattro are uttered the first thoughts to hit my mind are the legendary Group B monsters from the 80’s in all their five cylinder turbocharged glory, that unmistakable noise and angular styling flying through rally stages surrounded by impressed onlookers. Audi’s introduction of their AWD quattro system certainly played its role in securing numerous WRC victories but more importantly carving respect for the brand in the minds of motoring enthusiasts the world over. Years later that very same DNA has been honed and refined to take centre stage at the heart of the Audi A5 Coupe along with all the other technological benefits time has afforded.
At a glance the styling conveys exactly what the A5 Coupe is all about, clinical precision and attention to detail. There’s no unnecessarily overdone design features, each element has a purpose and the end result is a car that doesn’t need to shout to be seen and respected. The A5 Coupe looks impressive today and will continue this trend for years to come thanks to the conservative minimalist design language Audi impose on their new models. Lingering eyes will enjoy the high detail headlight and brake light designs as well as the raised bonnet lines hinting at what lies underneath.
It’s on the inside of the A5 Coupe that all the hours spent on attention to detail can be truly appreciated. Cool to the touch metal switches provide a lovely tactile feel when activated, the frameless rear view mirror continues the minimalist design styling found outside and interior lighting elements assist in developing a relaxing space for drivers and passengers alike.
Audi has mastered the art of a functional interior and it really shines through in the A5 Coupe. For the sake of convenience they have even included a robotic arm that graciously places the seatbelt within easier reach when it’s time to buckle up.
And yet, there’s always room for improvement, the glove box could be larger, placing a drink in the front drink holders restricts access to the center console controls and the door handles would make it easier to close the giant doors if they were placed further away from the hinge for more leverage.
Once strapped in and gripping the D shaped sports steering wheel you begin to notice how solid it feels in the hand. Combined with the thick doors and large body the sense of security is unmistakable. The leather seats provide adequate support to handle lateral G’s though additional shoulder support would be beneficial and the plethora of electronic adjustments can cater to the fussiest of drivers in terms of comfort requirements.
Access to the rear two seats is handled by sliding the front seats out of the way electronically, which only activates with the doors open. With moderately sized front occupants, the rear seats can be very usable but once that front seat is pushed back, passenger leg comfort becomes lacking.
Pop open the boot and you’ll be greeted to a cavernous 465L of space that’ll give many a four door sedan a run for its money.
On the road the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in my A5 2.0 TFSI quattro provides instant response throughout the entire rev range giving the illusion that it’s much more powerful than the indicated 185kW of peak power at 6,000rpm. The secret is the wide torque curve which delivers 370Nm from just 1,600rpm and only dropping off after 4,500rpm, by which time you’re accelerating briskly despite the flat engine note at full song.
From a standstill the full effect can be enjoyed using the built in launch control which is simple and quick to initiate. All that’s required is to swap the drive mode to sport, disengage the traction control and engage the brake and accelerator simultaneously. The engine will hold revs at the optimum level and once you release the brake you’re off at full acceleration. 100km/h should come up in 5.8 seconds with good conditions.
The engine is an absolute gem that works well with the quattro system giving an abundance of traction in all but the worst conditions. Equally impressive is the 7-speed S Tronic dual clutch auto, smooth up shifts that come through rapidly when required and controlled via the gear shifter or wheel paddles when needed, both a tactile joy to use.
I’ve come to expect brilliant engines are bundled with less than brilliant fuel economy and it’s here that the A5 rocks the boat. Through a combination of freeway, urban and a lot of spirited driving, the A5 averaged 11.4L/100km from a claimed 6.5L/100km. If you can resist the allure of frequently using all that torque, I couldn’t, your results will certainly improve.
With a kerb weight of 1,645 kg the A5 quattro Coupe tips the scales on the heavy side for a two door coupe which restricts the raw performance capability in a straight line and through the corners. To overcome the upper physical limits Audi has blessed the A5 with a giant slab of grip provided by the 19-inch tyres and while you can push the car it’s best enjoyed at a brisk pace rather than a flat out sprint.
The ride is firm yet not track spec stiff alluding to the role Audi wants the A5 Coupe to play in their line up, more of a reserved grand tourer than a hardcore performance machine, that role belongs firmly in the grasp of the more expensive S5. When pushed hard handling remains neutral but there’s no escaping the weight being thrown about and you can really feel it fighting you as you up the pace.
Through the wheel the steering feels light with not enough feedback for seasoned drivers, the brakes too require more feedback for finesse control at the limits. Back the speeds off and the A5 falls into its comfort zone making short work of bumps from poor roads and delivering a relaxing drive while always having that capacity for a bit of fun should the mood take you.
The tech savvy among you are in for an absolute treat. The A5 can be loaded up with more toys than Santa’s workshop. The latest and greatest tech toy in Audi’s arsenal is without a doubt the virtual cockpit. In place of the traditional gauge cluster lies a dynamic screen that displays speed and rpm gauges digitally which can be shrunk down to give priority to other information. It’s the integration of Google Maps onto the entire display when navigating that highlights just how impressive the system is.
The list of standard equipment is impressive including cruise control, reverse camera, blind spot monitoring, forward collision mitigation at low and high speeds, cooled glovebox, keyless start, DAB+ digital radio with 10 amplified speakers, wireless hotspot, rear cross traffic alert and more. Oddly enough there’s one low tech feature I did find sorely missing, and that would be a rear wiper, an omission that preferenced style over functionality where the rear window shape doesn’t lend itself easily to a wiper. Of particular note is the standard reversing camera providing an extra wide field of view for increased visibility to the sides, a necessity with those wide C pillars hindering view when backing out.
If that’s not enough there’s always the capability to further enhance the A5 with the addition of Audi’s (very expensive) option packages. The car we tested came with the $5,600 Technik package which includes a heads up display, Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system and Audi Matrix LED headlights. It’s the heads up display that sits on the more impressive side technically with speed and navigation instructions displayed over the front of the bonnet floating in mid air, it never loses its appeal. Those who really want to get the most from their audio will thoroughly enjoy the Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system that enhances music through 19 speakers all powered by a sixteen channel amp.
Other packages include the Assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, Audi pre-sense front, collision avoidance assist, high beam assist and turn assist. Adding the Parking assistance package upgrades the reversing camera to a 360-degree unit and also includes parallel and perpendicular parking assistance.
The S line style package as the name states ups the exterior styling of the A5 by changing the bumpers and wheels to more stylish units while adding privacy glass and illuminated S line logos.
Finally there’s the S line sport package that has everything from the S line style package bar the privacy glass and adds aluminium inlays, S line designed steering wheel, perforated black leather gear lever, stainless steel pedals and footrest, black dashboard and headlining, nappa leather upholstery seating, contrasting leather stitching, variable head restraints and Daytona grey pearl paint at the same cost as metallic paint.
Design and Comfort: 9.5/10
Performance and Handling: 8.5/10
Equipment and Features: 8.5/10
If you’ve got the money to burn the A5 can be stacked full of the latest tech while still providing an enjoyable driving experience given the right location. It’s an incredibly stylish and extremely well built machine that serves its purpose as a luxurious cruiser extremely well.
The only real issue with the A5 Quattro Coupe is that for the price after options, you’re within striking distance of an S5. It all comes down to personal preference but I know for sure I’d happily sacrifice all the creature comforts and tech in the world for the machine Audi have imbued with the original Quattro’s DNA and more in a heartbeat.
- Quality is absolute
- Impressive engine
- Tech toys galore
- Dull engine note
- Steering and brakes lack feedback
- Small glovebox
2017 Audi A5 2.0 TFSI Quattro Coupe
|Price (Excl. on-road costs):||From: $81,500
As tested: $90,696
Tested options:Technik Package: $5,600
Metallic Paint: $1,846
19″ Alloy Wheels: $1,750
|Warranty:||3 years/unlimited kilometers
3 Year Roadside Assistance
|Country of Origin:||Germany|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
185kW @ 5,000-6,000rpm, 370Nm @ 1,600-4,500rpm
|Transmission:||7-speed S tronic dual clutch automatic|
|Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):||112.5|
|0-100km/h (s)||5.8 (claimed)|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 6.5 / Tested: 11.4|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||63|
|Body:||2-door coupe, 4 seats|
|Safety:||5-star ANCAP, 8 airbags, reverse camera, forward collision mitigation, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, DSC, TCS, ABS, EBD, EBA|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4673/1846/1371/2764|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,645|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 1,700kg / Unbraked: 750kg|
|Entertainment:||7-inch MMI infotainment system, Bluetooth, USB, DVD player, smartphone interface (Apple Carplay, Android Auto), navigation, 19-speakers|