|Positives: Superb handling and steering, luscious exterior design, comfortable front seats
|Negatives: Cramped back seat, some cheap interior bits.
|Bottom Line: The 2nd-generation A5 is simple spectacular to drive, as well as ogle. The design is evolutionary but noticeable, and the driving manners from this turbo-four coupe is one of the best on the market. Audi pretty much nailed it in terms of overall appeal, and driving enthusiasts will love it. The fact that you can get a manual transmission is a thing of beauty.
|View Our 2018 Audi A5 Overview
The A5 is an absolute delight to drive, and it strikes a great balance between sporty driving and cruising comfort. We were seriously surprised at how good it was just commuting to and from the office.
Ride Quality: Firm but great in terms of shock absorption. The optional sport-tuned suspension doesn't give up too much in terms of comfort.
Acceleration: This is a potent 4-cylinder mill with a great transmission. 0-60 arrives in 5.0 seconds, making it quick. But it's the responsiveness of the throttle and the smooth shifting that come together to make it great.
Braking: The A5 has the strongest brakes in the luxury coupe segment, and the pedal feel is very progressive with no grabbiness, whatsoever.
Steering: Steering is sharp, feedback is good, and turn-in feels immediate. There's also a good amount of effort present.
Handling: Superb. Better than every other sporty coupe in the segment. Body roll is almost imperceptible, and the cornering is remarkable.
Audi has the best infotainment out of the three premium German brands. Though it doesn't look as sexy as BMW, operation is smoother and easier. The in-car tech, especially the Audi virtual cockpit, is excellent.
Infotainment System: The 7-inch screen looks great, and stays clear in sunlight. We like the menus, which are pretty simple and easy to navigate.
Controls: The large MMI controller knob and associated switches are very easy to use while driving, and the silver metallic HVAC switches are also great thanks to their linear setup and easy actuation. The temp control/display knobs are near-perfect. Toggling through the options on the virtual cockpit via the steering wheel controls are similarly crisp.
The new A5's lines are both sexy and masculine at once. The redesign communicates more aggression while still maintaining a fluid look. Every aspect of the car's design is better than its predecessor, which is saying something.
Front: To the bystander, it might not look all that different from the previous-gen car, but Audi made the grille wider and ditched one horizontal bar, streamlined the headlights, tapered the side mirrors, and added a pair of creases to the hood. It looks fantastic.
Rear: The stance looks much wider in the new car thanks to thinner and wider taillights and single exhaust ports at each corner versus a pair on the left side in the old car.
Profile: The A5's best view, and it's even better than before. The character line that runs from tip to toe has slightly more curve over the rear fender, and the car looks a tad thicker, giving it more presence. The look is both elegant and powerful.
Cabin: Though our tester's interior had a lot of grey and black, it's still a great-looking space. The dash is now much more linear in its setup, much like the new Q5, and it looks wider and more sophisticated as a result. Some of the control buttons could use better plastic.
The cabin is great for the two front occupants, and the A5 wouldn't be out of place as a smaller grand touring car thanks to its great cruising ability and seating position.
Front Seats: The wide front seats provde great support and cushioning. Long haul trips will not present a problem. It is, however, lower on legroom than its competitors like the Lexus RC and the BMW 4-Series. I'm 6'1" and had no problem fitting.
Rear Seats: Rear seats are tight for six-footers, but the headroom and legroom sit about midpack in the segment. Not bad at all.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): It's not as hushed as a Lexus RC, but it's very well made and absent of squeaks or rattles.
Visibility: Shy of the thick C-pillar, visibility is pretty good. The front seating position is excellent, and you can point the A5 easily where you want it to go.
Climate: Our HVAC system worked well, as did the heated/cooled seats. Everything fired up quickly and with ample power.
The A5 earns great ratings in crash/safety tests, and the set of standard and optional safety features bolsters its standing.
IIHS Rating: It earned the Tops Safety Pick, scoring "good" in every category except for the "marginal" headlights. Even its accident avoidance tech scored "superior".
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: Our tester came standard with Audi pre sense basic, Audi pre sense city, and a rear camera.
Optional Tech: Our tester had Parking system plus, as well as Audi side assist with pre sense rear, both of which activate systems when an impending impact is sensed, increasing occupant safety.
Sports coupes are never huge in terms of trunk capacity or storage space, but the A5 actually does pretty well in the former aspect. In cabin daily gear access could use some work.
Storage Space: Not much in terms of storage cubbies. Door pockets are decent, as is the center armrest. We just don't get the rectangular pocket in the center console that too shallow and too small to hold today's bigger smartphones.
Cargo Room: The A5 Coupe has 11.6 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, and the split folding rear seat provides even more. It's at the top of its segement in terms of trunk space.
EPA estimates of the A5's fuel economy numbers are pretty much spot on. We were able to come pretty close during our testing, a testament to Audi's power and efficiency. Finally, a turbocharged 2.0-liter we can love for different reasons.
Observed: 25.2 mpg
Distance Driven: 209 miles
Driving Factors: We drove about 80 percent of the time on local roads and the remaining 20 on the freeway with minimal traffic. We also drove in Dynamic mode with the paddle shifters most of the time.
Audi's partnership with Bang & Olufsen is a smart one, as their premium audio systems are some of the best. Our test car's premium system was loud, clear, and had plenty of bass. It's a fantastic system that's well worth the extra $950.