By on May 19, 2008

a51.jpg"Nice Audi." Every time I rolled up in the glossy red A5, I heard the same refrain. Young, old, rich, poor– if the onlooker had a tongue, they wagged it at me and my Audi. And there you have it. The people have spoken. I find this curious for two reasons. First, das volk haven't driven it. Second, the A5 is a two-door variant of the new A4. Has anyone other than a nurse or desperate housewife looked at an A4 and exclaimed, "Nice Audi?" Perhaps so, but the ad hoc A5 admiration society still raises an important question: is it a nice Audi?

It sure it is gorgeous. I understand Audi's decision to graft goatees onto the front of their cars– the big mouth bass look differentiates their vehicles from Bimmers– but that doesn't mean I've ever liked it. Until the A5. Fine, the corporate snout looks pretty slick on the A8, too. But the A5's gaping maw is, finally, perfectly balanced with the flanking headlights and air intakes. It's also the coupe's least sexy bit. The tail is double-take eye candy, with muscular haunches that [should] haunt Jag designer's dreams.

a53.jpgWith flowing fender lines, trick surfaces and a masterful roof line, the A5 puts Bavaria's Bangled Bimmers to shame. Our tester's goofy [optional] wheels not-withstanding, design-wise, de'Silva nailed it.

Inside, Audi must have replaced their regular junta of haptic sticklers with out-of-work Citroën engineers. Virtually every control lives somewhere other than where you'd expect. The stereo's volume knob hides to the right of the gear lever (thankfully there's a thumbwheel on the steering wheel). To adjust the fan, you have to push a button to let the HVAC controls know you're interested in changing the fan speed, and then change fan speed. After a week, I still have no idea (let alone a theory) on how to switch air flow between vents. While BMW's iDrive gets more bad press than Kim Kardashian, Audi's MMI (Multi-Media Interface) requires its own adult education class. After an hour of pushing and swearing, I still couldn't reset the average MPG.

a55.jpgAs for comfort, the A5's front seats are perfectly suitable for long journeys or lateral Gs. Unfortunately, 2+2 doesn't equal four; that pretty, sloping roofline is a literal-minded advertisement for Spinal Tap.

The A5's powered by Audi's ubiquitous 265-horse 3.2-liter FSI V6. The "fuel-straight" direct injection technology engenders more torque (243 ft.-lbs. of twist) and a cooler planet. It also requires 12 spark plugs and a gangly maze of wires under the engine's three plastic covers. Audi claims the A5 can hustle itself from standing still to 60 mph in just a tick over 6 seconds. That's fast enough for government work. But unless you stand on the pedal, you'd still be left filling-out forms.

a58.jpgUnder normal acceleration, the A5's six-speed slushbox puts you in fourth gear at 30 mph. Obviously, the early-and-often shifting is an attempt to surmount the four-wheel-drive vehicle's inherent weight penalty (3737 lbs.) to deliver CAFE-pleasing mpg. That it does, but at the cost of driver satisfaction. True, you can select cogs by sliding the gear lever to the right for some up and down action, or whack the paddles behind the wheel. But then why not get a manual A5?

a56.jpgThe word on the street is that Audi's new B8 platform– which positions the engine further away from the front bumper– has eliminated Audi's mainstream vehicles' notorious propensity to handle like a Mercedes with an anvil strapped onto the hood. The word on the street is wrong. Well, half wrong. The A5 Quattro's snout doesn't go truffle hunting at the slightest whiff of a corner. But sling it into a bendy bit and the chassis heads off for a nice long nap. The fact that the cog-swapper constantly guesses wrong– you can have any gear you like as long as it's the next one up– doesn't help you tackle corners, either.

In short, confidence is high. Speeds are slow. Well, unless you're on a long stretch of highway, where miles melt like snowflakes on a hot tongue. Only your whole body is melting because you can't adjust the fan. But then you stop to read the manual get gas, look at the A5 and you find yourself biting the back of your hand because it's such a beautiful machine.

a52.jpgAround town, the Audi A5 feels every inch the $30k entry level luxury car fashion statement. Only it's $50k. Given the sticker shock, the coupe's questionable low speed handling and the transmission's mileage uber alles programming, Ingolstadt should thank its lucky design stars that emotion trumps logic. The world is a better place for having A5s in it, but there are better places for an enthusiast to sit.

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69 Comments on “2008 Audi A5 Review...”


  • avatar
    shaker

    Nice, but I could do without the $8000 worth of electronics in the center console — anybody remember “The Pepsi Syndrome” skit on SNL?

  • avatar
    AKM

    $50k??

    Well, for that price, I’ll be happy to look at my neighbor’s A5 instead.

    Thanks for the review. I saw a few of those, and they’re beautiful machines, but there’s some flame-surfacing creeping into the design, and I don’t like that one bit.

    Oh, and for cars where the gaping maw works, add the A3. They managed to make it look like it doesn’t exist. My wife (who loves A3s) didn’t believe me when I told her it HAD that gigantic grille, until she looked again at one. Talk about prestidigitation…

  • avatar

    The big grille works when it was planned from the start. It doesn’t work when it has been grafted onto a pre-existing car.

    They’ve also figured out that the big grille looks better if the top is wider than the bottom, and if the flanking side vents descend lower than the grille, rather than to the same level.

    Given the two-door config and the lofty pricing, they won’t sell many of these, despite the beautiful exterior.

    Still, if TrueDelta can find a couple dozen owners, we’ll provide an estimate of reliability. Recent A4s have been doing well–but then they’re also still young.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    This gorgeous machine is just too damn expensive, especially when residuals on Audi’s are so terrible these days.

    I was up and ready to trade in my 2007 335i coupe on one of these bad boys, but the horrible gas mileage, coupled with the inferior performance, underwhelming test drive, and dealer reluctance to sell below sticker led to my decision to stick with the Ultimate Highway Machine.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    That shift-windows-door-seat-etc control console is ridiculous. Who decided to put all the mission control buttons down where your coffee goes and french fry grease ends up? I get a headache just looking at it.

  • avatar

    “The world is a better place for having A5s in it, but there are better places for an enthusiast to sit.”

    Great wrap-up and review of the A5. I’m looking forward to the new S5. (heck, I look forward to any Audi that starts with the letter “S”)

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Oil Sludge is the problem.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    As usual, Jonny issues a great review because he isolates the car’s pros and cons in detailed, expressive language.

    Given that A5’s flaws are due to the drivetrain, I wonder why Audi doesn’t drop the 2.0T w/DSG into the A5. Maybe they could get the price down to $35K with that combo.

    Otherwise, the A5 begs comparison to the 335, which is better in just about every way, except looks.

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    SherbornSean:

    “Otherwise, the A5 begs comparison to the 335, which is better in just about every way, except looks.”

    Abso-freaking-lutely.

    The 335i isn’t ugly, but it’s just not as alluring as the A5.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Can’t Mazda bring the new 6 over with all wheel drive, in coupe form with a V6 for around $29k? The A5 price is even more inexcusable considering the wagon version will likely sell for roughly 8k less.

    The car is beautiful though.

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    doesn’t the A5 start at 40k?

    even so, still a ridiculous price…

  • avatar

    Jonny – Great review; Well, unless you’re on a long stretch of highway, where miles melt like snowflakes on a hot tongue. Particularly wonderful line; perhaps you are channeling Tom McCahill?

    The 335/A5 comparo is reasonable and this is, despite the de-bangling of the 335, a more beautiful car.

  • avatar
    mreh

    Would buy this over a 3 series coupe on looks alone…. if it was $30K like it should be

  • avatar
    JJ

    Given that A5’s flaws are due to the drivetrain, I wonder why Audi doesn’t drop the 2.0T w/DSG into the A5. Maybe they could get the price down to $35K with that combo.

    They do…

    In Europe it’s offered with a 1.8 TFSI (170HP). Not yet in combination with the DSG though, but as a manual with wrong wheel drive.

    In Germany the base price of the 1.8T is EUR 32900 (6-sp manual). The base price of the 3.2 quattro is EUR 44600 (6-sp manual) or EUR 46650 with the tiptronic. I could quote the Dutch prices, but they are insane, the German prices give a better idea of what it would be in the US, generally it’s basically the same number only dollars. Cars really are cheap in the US…

    Sigh…

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure they’ll drop the 2.0TDI in there soon to increase the sales volume after they’ve managed to sell some 2.7/3.0TDIs to the early adopters.

    However the wrong wheel drive doesn’t really make a differnce since the AWD will still understeer and makes the whole car way to heavy.

    Unfortunately for the US, for now it is stuck with this least attractive engine/transmission combination and Quattro, and I’m guessing the S5, which is more of the same really, only more expensive.

    Btw, although I think it’s a great looking car, the B-pillar looks strange and heavy. I’ve noticed the same thing with the 3 coupe. Those rims on the pictures look great though. I’ve seen it with other rims as well, but these really make it look good and so does the red color.

    I never liked the new dashboard though, it’s basically the same as in the new A4, but it seems like they downgraded the plastics compared to the previous model and MMI is just iDrive, only launched later.

    Shame it is so flawed. If I had the means and couldn’t help myself from buying one I’d get the 1.8T, because the other ones make no sense, but probably would just go for the ultimate driving machine instead.

    Same conclusion then…

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    We saw one of these, driving back up from Florida over Labor Day weekend. It was debadged, and technically not available yet. We gawked shamelessly… i rooted around for a camera but couldn’t get it in time to snap a picture. I’m pretty sure it was an S5. And gorgeous. *sigh*

  • avatar
    BEAT

    http://www.topgear.com/content/features/stories/2008/05/stories/06/1.html

    If they will make this car and will be available for the consumer.

    I will be proud of Audi!!!

  • avatar
    carguy

    Great work Mr. Lieberman – a very good summary of a beautiful yet somewhat unfocused car. I’m not quite sure what the focus of this product is – its not really a performance product (certainly not enough to compete with the 335 coupe) and the busy tech-heavy internal layout doesn’t seem to be suitable for the market demographic that is looking for a highway GT cruiser. Let’s hope that S5 will add more than just a V8.

  • avatar
    Angus

    $50K is too much for this but the actual base price on an A5 (manual) is only $39K and some change. This includes a high standard feature list with 18″ wheels, leather, power seats, a decent 10 speaker sound system, the “Panoramic” moonroof, a wonderful V6 and exceptional handling. Doing a BMW style base model (no leather, no roof, no power seats, etc) and a 2.0T with front-trac would easily place this car in the low $30’s if not less. I think Audi is looking to keep the image up by not making a “base” model like they’ve done on the A4’s historically.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to spend 20 minutes in one of these and thought it was fantastic. I also got some wheel time in the S5 on the same course and wouldn’t spend the extra $10K when the S-line package is only a $2,900 option and gets you virtually all the S5 has but the V8.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    I think we (the USA) are supposed to get the new A4 with 2.0T and non-quattro. Slush-box at first, but eventually even with a stick. Anyway, If the new A4 shares the A5 looks but with a $30k starting price, I think it will appeal to a large audience. It will also be the only German luxury car powered by gasoline to benchmark better than 30 MPG EPA highway.

    The DSG would be a nice item for those who think they are part of the enthusiast crowd (but aren’t), but the regular slush-box probably works a bit more smoothly and so is better for the other 90% of customers.

    Perhaps Audi should have the Haldex option (low cost, low weight, front-wheel-drive bolt on) for the A4/A5 for those who somehow think they need AWD on a 200 HP car to drive around the sunny streets of silicon valley. That way you could boast AWD without any of the downside.

  • avatar
    andy7777

    Am I the only one who sees a 1970’s GM/Chrysler/Ford “personal luxury coupe” in this thing? The hood/trunk length ratio, the two loooong doors, the fussy styling bits, all of it is kinda, kinda, kinda…. Ricardo Montalban. Not in a garish way, maybe, but still, not really my cuppa tea.

    Which brings to mind the whole Audi question these days. What are they really trying to do? For years Audis didn’t call attention to themselves. That’s a good thing. Not everyone wants to drive the car version of the IT girl. My Audis, from 1984 to 2005, were always understated but well-engineered cars. I have a 2005 S4, the last of the split-grilled B6 chassis cars. It does not have nav, MMI, or a whole lot of frippery. Heavy in the nose, yes, but, with all due respect, its understeer is a bit overstated by reviewers. It doesn’t shout at you, just goes like stink.

    Now the whole Audi line seems to have fussy little trim bits hanging off the ends of the car, and the interior is, as Jonny noticed, getting goofy. I am sure they will sell a fair number of these to recently-divorced up-and-coming-but-not-yet-there law firm partners, but they will be 3 year lease deals, not long-term keepers. Look for these to be $25K in 2011.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    It really is too bad this car is so expensive and lacking in performance. I love the styling. I saw one on the road back when the S5 came out and went straight to an Audi dealer to check it out.

    Audi is marketing this as a cheap 6 series rather than a 3 competitor, which seems like a mistake to me. There was so much promise with the engine pushed back in the chassis and the great looks. Maybe BMW could just hire D’Silva. Sigh.

  • avatar
    law stud

    Well if the Dollar wasn’t worth so little compared to the Euro and Pound then this might have been a 30k in another time.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    The other way to look at the A5/S5 is as a BMW 6-series competitor with a 35% discount.

    No matter how you look at it, though, there’s little question that the A5/S5’s styling is stunning. It gets more positive attention and comments than anything anywhere near its price range. To some, that’s worth a lot.

    One more comment: Price out a 335xi and S5 with comparable features, and you’ll see that there’s not much $$$ difference at all.

  • avatar
    william442

    My 2003 A4 did everything I asked of it for the four years I had it. It was far more reliable than my BMWs,and much easier to live with than the C43.(16 sparkplugs)

  • avatar

    True, you can select cogs by sliding the gear lever to the right for some up and down action, or whack the paddles behind the wheel. But then why not get a manual A5?

    Why not get the manual? Because I live in a big city and a manual in traffic sucks, THAT is why to not get the manual.

    So many, many car reviews strike this same note – and I wonder if the writers believe we all live on Angeles Crest Highway, in rural Spain or in the land of perpetual Sunday mornings. That might be where they test the cars. That might be where the cars are the most fun, but for a real world driver an automatic makes all kinds of sense.

    Manuals are great for some, and I definitely want to read reviews critiquing on how well a given slush-box/DSG/floppy paddles actually work. Car reviewers shouldn’t ponder why auto-boxes exist, lest they come across like Marie Antoinette wondering about bread and cake replacement strategies amongst the poor.

  • avatar
    JJ

    One more comment: Price out a 335xi and S5 with comparable features, and you’ll see that there’s not much $$$ difference at all.

    There shouldn’t be either, because the 335i beats the S5 in every way except looks…

    The S5 is a bad choice for many reasons already mentioned. On top of that, it uses ye olde V8 from the old S4. So not that nice RS4 engine, but the old one. It has similar or worse real world performance compared to the 335i and much worse fuel economy. Audi have acknowledged their mistake and the new S4 will have a biturbo V6.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if that ended up in the S5 at some point…

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    The 335xi is UGLY, or if not ugly, certainly doesn’t look its price. If I’d spent $50K on a car, I’d expect it to look like $50K, not a $20K Hyundai.

    Naturally, this comes down to a personal preference thing.

    I love turbos, and own a turbo car, but there’s a lot to be said for the right-now response of a V-8 as well. Oh, and don’t get me started on the Bimmer’s interior, which has been (rightly) criticized for being down-market, even in the entry-level models. You rarely hear anything but praise for Audi interiors, despite Mr. Lieberman’s disaffection with MMI.

  • avatar
    geggamoya

    I drove a new A6 for a few days, and found the MMI really easy to use after five minutes of fiddling around with it. The only annoyance was a badly molded part, the volume knob had a sharp edge. quite annoying really.

    Just our of curiosity, why would i want to switch airflow between vents? I just want the AC to keep a constant temperature in the car and not notice it doing so.

    The 2.0TDI with a CVT was not exactly a rocket either, but people really did seem to have good look at it. Maybe because it looks pretty good in white. Actually i’ve noticed a pretty big increase in white cars lately.

    The A5 looks nicer than the A6 though, apart from the horrible LEDs. On the other hand a friend of mine absolutely loves the LEDs..

  • avatar
    TwentyValveB5

    Overall a solid review, but I have to ask Jonny a question: did you try the transmission in ‘S’ mode?
    With my experience in a B7 A4 2.0t quattro, I’ve also had a number of complaints about the tiptronic transmission. The ‘D’ mode is absolutely frustrating and upshifts far too early, and coupled with the inability to get into — and stay in — the right gear while cornering, it’s pretty useless for spirited driving.

    That being said, with the transmission in ‘S’ mode, the car takes on an entirely new feeling. Upshifts happen later, downshifts happen earlier, and it always feels like the car’s in the correct gear for peak torque exiting a corner. The trade-off is poorer fuel economy, but the reward for the enthusiast driver is more than enough compensation in this driver’s opinion.

    For those wondering about a different AWD system or DSG trans, Audi (and VW) have historically stuck to the Torsen differential when using longitudinal engine configurations like in the A5, while the Haldex system has been more traditionally mated to transverse motors (TT, A3, R32, etc.) There is also no current DSG offering for longitudinal motors, but there’s supposed to be an S-Tronic offering for the B8 A4, so we’ll see how this plays out.

  • avatar

    It sure is gorgeous. But that’s where the good stuff ends.

    With front wheel drive and dodgy handling, it’s basically a fancy looking Accord coupe that costs $20K more. It’s not a performance vehicle of any kind. The AWD version is more money, more weight, more complexity, and more problems. No thanks.

    When I first saw the photos, I wanted one. But I’ll be keeping my 2005 330ci coupe for now, thanks.

  • avatar
    TwentyValveB5

    To Jason:
    While I agree that a true enthusiast would stay away from FWD — although Audi’s FWD seems to be a bit better than most) — I don’t want other readers to get the wrong impression about the AWD system based on your “more complexity, and more problems” comment. The Torsen-based quattro system is as bulletproof as they come. Audi certainly has historically had its reliability shortcomings, but its quattro AWD system has never been one of them. Sure, there’s added weight, but the added grip makes up for it. It sounds like you should get behind the wheel of one and throw it around before you jump to erroneous conclusions.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    “With front wheel drive and dodgy handling”….

    Note to anyone who’s not paying attention (Jason among them):

    The US A5/S5 is quattro AWD-only!! There’s no FWD version to purchase here.

    There’s also this to consider:

    http://www.audiusa.com/audi/us/en2/new_cars/Audi_A5/Reviews.html

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    No offense to those who don’t like manuals, but I wonder what it is about driving they do like if they don’t like a manual that works well and is fun to drive.

    I drive 2002 A4 manual, half the time is hideous Boston roads and even worse, Boston drivers around me in heavy traffic.

    Its more fun than driving automatic.

    (the area seems to be littered with smashed down fence poles, mail boxes, and street signs, and even stone walls and brick knee walls, that don’t get repaired but that is a story for a different string)

    Its only no fun for me to drive manual when the car is not set up right, like my old 1.8t jetta. That thing lurched and leaned real bad, got rid of it after one year.

    Automatic is for when you don’t like to drive and/or are stuck doing it, or wish to be able to do non-driving things while driving, or all above.

    I await 2009 A4 and Mazda3.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    That huge gaping maw still looks garish.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    The HVAC controls bear an eerie resemblance to the ones in the 3-series.

    I’m curious as to why Audi chose to position this car against the 6-series, as opposed to the 3-series.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Yep, those certainly are goofy looking wheels! The rest of it looks good. Sounds like it’s a little too “electronic” for my tastes, but that’s okay because I can’t afford it anyway!

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    As long as there is 335i coupe on sale Audi has no chance competing with the A5/S5 in the enthusiast market. By the way the myth about Audi’s unbeatable interior quality is getting old. Compared to the A5 335 coupe has softer and more leather-like upper dash panel, way more softer lower dash panels, stitched leather door panels and passanger door handle (A5 with leather int vs 335i with leather int), inside surface of the door pockets is bolstered with a soft quality material (Audi has hard plastic), BMW-s M-Steering wheel has unbeatable bulky look and feel etc.

    A5 is beautiful, but unbangeled 335i coupe is a very nice looking desing also. BMW is sleek, Audi’s C-pillar makes it look fat at some angles. That’s why A5 needs at least 19-20 inch rims to look sexy (19’s on the pictures), to do the same 335 coupe only needs 18 inch wheels.

    Funny thing is that German car magazines have always bashed Lexus about having touch screen and lot of buttons around it and always praised one button control i-drive and the like. Now Audi MMI’s user friendliness has evolved to a stage that it has a sea of small buttons around the MMI main switch, which original idea was to get rid of all those buttons from the center console.

    Let’s not forget this legendary clip:
    Fifth Gear – Audi S5 vs BMW 335i
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHj0zbhjLZI
    This video says it all –
    Triumph of handling over power

    To be honest, this applies to all models when directly comparing BMW and Audi.

  • avatar
    hal

    I agree manual isn’t always best but I don’t see an issue with manuals in cities unless you have back problems or something.
    I saw an A5 in traffic a few weeks ago, I thought it had huge road presence, I wouldn’t have placed it in the same class as a 3er, seemed like a much larger car.
    I’ll look forward to getting one in 2012 for my 40th or should I get the 335? hmm… maybe I’ll need a automatic by then.

  • avatar
    barberoux

    I think people buy cars with automatics so they can complain about them. If you are driving a manual you are to blame for being in the wrong gear or missing a shift but with an automatic the driver is blameless, and control less. Americans have given up on driving a car and they rather be passengers, and complain.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    it is strikingly beautiful, i followed a red one like the one pictured and admired its fine fine tail for a while… id love one, perhaps a stripper used in a few years.

    I am pleased that sleek sexy cars are making a comeback.

  • avatar

    shame it drives so poorly – the car is just gorgeous.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Why do folks complain about dual mode automatic transmissions that default to a fuel saving (low stress) shift program when in pure auto mode??????

    Ummmm, that is WHY there is a manumatic sport mode were YOU determine when the car changes gears!

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “shame it drives so poorly …”

    Hardly. Besides the automatic transmission, the car is a gem. Those who care about when their car shifts will buy the 6-speed, or the luscious 4.2 S5.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    “I saw an A5 in traffic a few weeks ago, I thought it had huge road presence, I wouldn’t have placed it in the same class as a 3er, seemed like a much larger car.”

    Exactly.

    Because of its beauty, presence and especially its proportions, most would probably guess this car to be in the same class with the BMW 6, the Jag XK, and even the Lexus SC (though I hate the styling of the Lexus).

    A 3er is a 3er, and everyone knows where it fits in the automotive continuum.

    Audi’s genius is in positioning the A5/S5 exactly where they are – they look much more expensive than they actually are.

  • avatar

    While this IS a beautiful car, it remains based on plebian FWD mechanicals, whether Audi adds AWD or not. $50k? No amount of gorgeous will overcome the fact that it ain’t a 335 coupe, which is not a bad looking car in its own right.

    VW/Audi’s got the same problem as Honda/Acura; if you want to be in the same game with MB and BMW, a FWD platform is an enormous disadvantage, unless your driving is largely in inclement weather. In Finland, for example, this could be a huge hit.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    OK, granted the A5 will not win any races against a 335i but so freakin what? This thing a one beautiful automobile! I see a navy blue one with brown leather everyday and I must admit it has far more road presence than a 3 series coupe.
    Some of you guys sound like a bunch of pimply faced high-school boys here going on and on about how a 335i will whip the pants off of the A5 and once again I have to say so freakin what!

    What the A5 will be to its owners is a beautiful, entertaining car, that is will also turn out to be one fine foul-weather commuter. The interior is also full of nice gagets to play with. This car is just the cup of tea that many, many ADULT men(and women) are looking for.

    Just like many of you guys love to fall all over yourselfs making claims that you would prefer the less powerful 328i to a G35, I am sure that many folks will not think twice about choosing the far more beautiful A5 over a 3 series.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    ZCD2.7T: 3-series coupe is as far from the ordinary sedan as A5 is from A4. You have to be a complete automotive ignorant if you misplace the A5 as a 6-series competitor. Same person will misplace the 3-series coupe exactly the same way.

    “Audi’s genius is in positioning the A5/S5 exactly where they are – they look much more expensive than they actually are.”

    In the case of A5 the car actually IS as expensive as it looks :)

    whatdoiknow1: If design is the only thing that matters then we would all drive new Mazda 6’s. At this price level and in this luxury sports-coupe segment there are numerous details that make the class leading car, design is one of them, but not the only thing. Handling, roadfeel, balance of the chassis, steering feedback, acceleration, engine and gearbox matching characteristics, engine’s powerband, sound of the engine, brake feel and performance, feel of the seats and steering wheel, interior design and quality – those all are very important details, and I personally think the 335i coupe is hands down better in all of them compared to the S5, not to mention the 3.2 A5. Considering all this the price of the A5/S5 is unbelievably high.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    Beautiful lines….
    Ill handling…
    Expensive…

    Sounds like my ex-wife.

  • avatar

    Did anyone else think that the gas pedal is exceptionally skinny, while the brake pedal takes over the whole floor?

  • avatar
    Neverfollow

    I’m not sure I agree with this review. First of all, the climate controls are not located within the MMI system. They are just below the CD changer in the center of the dash. The fan speed is adjusted by touching the fan button first and then turning the knob to adjust the fan speed. The avg mpg is zero’d out by holding down the reset button located on the underside of the wiper control as it is on every Audi made in the past 10 years. All of the controls for this car now match every Audi made that uses MMI such as 2009 A4, A6, Q7 and A8(in reverse). The performance with a 6 speed manual is 0-60 in 5.8secs, hardly a slouch by any means. Gas mileage is on the sticker is 27hwy but turns about 33 at a steady 70mph with air on. These are not bad results for a car with good performance and luxury to boot. It’s also quite a bit larger than a 3 series so comfort is better, in fact its almost the same size at a 6 series on the inside. Lastly; no one has one of these yet. In some cities, there are so many BMWs and Mercedes around you’d think there was a club meeting at every stoplight.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    “The avg mpg is zero’d out by holding down the reset button located on the underside of the wiper control ”

    The prosecution rests, your honor.

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    JL, a rebuttal, if I may. The full quote is: “The avg mpg is zero’d out by holding down the reset button located on the underside of the wiper control as it is on every Audi made in the past 10 years.”

    This function has been grandfathered from the Audi/VW trip computer. Maybe that computer should have been replaced by MMI, but the learning curve of the decade old compy cannot be blamed on the new MMI.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    NetGenHoon:

    And if I may — not a single control on the A5 is where you would a imagine it to be.

    Case in point — the volume knob is not on the stereo.

    It’s not!

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    A5 and 3-coupe side by side are very similar in size.

    A5 4625mm in length and 1854 width
    335i 4580 and 1782

    Front seat space bimmer and audi are equal, but 3-series coupe has a lot more leg and headroom in the rear than A5.

    I don’t get it, where Audi fanboys get their 6-series comparisons?

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Brock_Landers : The 6-series has a V8 and two doors. The 3-series only has six cylinders. That’s where the comparisons with the A5 and S5 vs 6-series come from.

    Do all the german car companies share the same design studio? First, BMW grows a double-lump dash with iDrive, then Mercedes and now Audi. Even their HVAC stacks look the same now.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Cylinder count R6 vs V8 has no meaning when the twinturbo straight six has better characteristis and powerband than the V8 itself.

  • avatar
    JJ

    Do all the german car companies share the same design studio? First, BMW grows a double-lump dash with iDrive, then Mercedes and now Audi. Even their HVAC stacks look the same now.

    Nah…

    BMW came up with it, and although it had its flaws, apparently Audi and Merc couldn’t come up with something better, much less something more modern.

    However, they had to do something, because BMW said having regular buttons was 90s technology, so they couldn’t lack behind, otherwise their products would surely be perceived as outdated…right?

    Hence, this might be a case of new technology because it’s new, not necessarily because it’s better.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    “Did anyone else think that the gas pedal is exceptionally skinny, while the brake pedal takes over the whole floor?”

    Engineering by…American lawyers?

  • avatar
    ronetna

    Yes, the “stereo” is embedded somewhere under the console and dashboard. This might cause a certain disorientation for some. The speakers are visible though. In most cases you can also hear sound coming from them.
    However, in the interest of the disoriented, let me try to explain:
    – the volume/mute knob is close to your right hand, and it works by turning it clockwise (increasing volume) and counterclockwise (reduced volume); rotate it all the way counterclockwise, and the stereo goes silent; press it, and the stereo goes on mute. But hey, there is also something that does something similar in the steering wheel, thank God.
    – to listen to FM/AM/satellite, press the “FM/AM” button;
    – to listen to a CD, press the “CD” button – but you do have to load it first.

    Similar logic is applied to other functions such as navigation (“NAV”), phone/bluetooth (“TEL”) etc.

    Please don’t get discouraged – it’s not that hard. Ideally, it should have the ergonomics of a 1984 244.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    OK, so it’s like every other Audi: too heavy, too cramped, obtuse UI, a tick too slow, a little too soft to be serious, too expensive. It’s an image coupe, so you can’t hold its depreciation against it. That’s a category problem. The true disappointment here is that we are in such a state of aesthetic paucity in automotive design that this anemic sample of meager beauty is inexplicably complimented as “sexy.”

    I suppose if Rosie O’Donnell is your idea of sexy.

    Phil

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    Very good review. I liked the closing paragraph, it summed it up nicely and in a way that was very coherent in regards to what the vehicle is and who it is suited for.

  • avatar
    SupraBlur

    Around town, the Audi A5 feels every inch the $30k entry level luxury car fashion statement. Only it’s $50k.

    Just FYI, even with $1.5k market adjustment (any greater can easily be bargained down), you can still get this car for around 40k bare. Add the fancy headlights, navigation, and B&O stereo you’re still around 45k, a number that you will easily hit with the IS350, 335i, G37, or any other “entry level luxury car” once you’ve given it even the most meager of options.

    Ingolstadt should thank its lucky design stars that emotion trumps logic. The world is a better place for having A5s in it, but there are better places for an enthusiast to sit.

    Any time you are spending more than 30k on a car, there will be decisions made that aren’t based on logic, since pure function can exist below that threshold. That being said, when you compare this car to others in its price range (IS350, 335i, CLK350, G37), it actually has one of the better interiors. It has arguably the best exterior; it manages to one-up the E92, which therefore makes the other cars look quite bland in comparison. As far as power goes, it’s definitely not as fast as the IS350 or 335i, but it isn’t a slouch either like the IS250 or 328i. It gets better EPA gas mileage than the others as well.

    In other words, it’s hard to discredit this car based on performance alone, as it does have a lot of other things to offer. Given that I already own a modified Toyota Supra, all of the above mentioned cars are slow by comparison, so when I looked for a good daily drivable car to replace my old one, the A5 actually fit the bill quite nicely. If I were in a different situation, I might lean more heavily towards the Bimmer, or if I had kids, maybe the Lexus. But that’s why variety exists, to suit different people’s wants and needs. Money where my mouth is, I’ve placed my order and can’t wait for it to arrive.

  • avatar
    ptack

    I was pretty close to getting one of these. I had been looking at the A3 3.2 (DSG is great), which is a great little sport/wagon, when I saw a new, black A5 in the dealership. In person and with the right combination of finishes it’s a stunner inside and out. Silver with a black interior = nice. Quartz grey with Cinamom leather and the S-line package with 19″ wheels is drop-dead gorgeous. And if you don’t load up the other options (ie. navigation)it’s not $50k. I had a price (the quartz grey set up) that would have been about $45k. So why not? Well, she’s beauty queen, not a racer and while it drives very competently, it’s only that. By comparison I thought it handled very similarly to the BMW 128i in everyday driving. That’s not bad, but it completely lost out to the adictive thrill of a 300hp 135i which is also thousands less and what I ended up ordering. One last issue is that the waiting time for one of these is now months and months and months. Audi is bad enough with the lead time on ordered cars, but the A5 is way worse right now. If you don’t need a thrill ride and can wait 5 or more months for one, this is a very special car and worth a serious look.

  • avatar
    moto

    You can certain load up the options to make a European luxury car well over $50k. But the A5 starts at $39,900.

    While certainly not inexpensive, the A5 is a very attractive vehicle considering:

    1) on all surfaces except a dry race track, it will keep up with the much-lauded competition
    2) it is better looking in person than in pictures;
    3) it holds its value remarkably well;
    4) the interior is on par with cars costing much more (no, this is not getting too old, it is actually true);
    5) the quattro AWD will be invaluable for any wet weather or winter adventure you care to take.
    6) people won’t mistake you for being a BMW snob or a Lexus internet-bragging fanboy

  • avatar
    marmadogg

    Lieberman-

    You sir are a complete Luddite mascarading as an automobile expert.

    The MMI is easy to use. The A5 comes with automatic temperature control. It is not the same as driving your 1986 Toyota pickup (tractor) with power nothing, no AC, and a hula hoop for a steering wheel.

    This car was designed for the top 5%, not the sub-prime losers that will never be able to buy a 335 because their ponzi scheme financial products do not exist anymore.

    Are you sure you know how to drive…do you drive a Merc in C instead of S and complain about performance?

    I love the BMW fan boys that come out in full force to bash Audi. A Honda is a nice car if you cannot afford and Audi.

    The bottom line is Audi sells more cars than BMW and Mercedes combined worldwide for a reason.

    Rich people drive Audi and wannabees drive BMW and Merc.

    Cheers!

  • avatar

    marmadogg:

    this is a troll, right?

    Certainly one might correctly flame the buyer of any “luxury” car, since they pay more for the same size car available in competent form from (in alphabetical order only) Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen; even Ford and GM sell some satisfactory cars in the mid-size arena. And, as beautiful as Audis arguably are, the styling does not make up for the weight bias of the front wheel drive chassis even in AWD format.

    For some people, yourself apparently included, the appearance and styling cohesion offered by Audi is sufficient incentive to avoid the bangled but well-balanced BMW or the nearly-as-ugly but highly competent Mercedes. Other emotional choices about the car having to do with the perceived status it might impart or the owner satisfaction are highly individualistic. Some people buy an upmarket Hyundai in order to feel better than their neighbor who has a Malibu Classic. Some folks might buy a CLK-black series as a means to feel superior to the poor guy down the street who drives a Lexus IS250. And then there are those who know, simply by the pricetag, that their Rolls, Bentley or Ferrari places them near the top of the financial heap. I’d guess that most people are a little more complex and that perceived status is only a part of their car-buying decision.

  • avatar
    urS4red

    Paid list of about 42 for a red A5 6 speed. Love the car. Has the headlight option. Would have bought the B and O and larger wheels if I could have found them on a red 6 speed.

    I drove the G37, but my head hit the sunroof, even with the seat lowered.

    I liked the engine in the 335i, but the previous generation looked much better. Part of the appeal of a coupe is looks. The new coupe is, at best, acceptable but ordinary.

    I still have the best looking BMW ever made – 95 850CSi.

  • avatar
    marquisdj2

    I have drove an S-line A5 and found it to be an amazing car. Very smooth transmission with excellent power, gorgeous interior with fantastic looks. The MMI was also not nearly as difficult as this author makes it to be (a high school education should be fine to operate). I would buy this car in a heart beat if I didn’t have 2 young kids. So I have ordered an S-line A4 2.0T which I am very excited about because if it handles like this A5 then it should be a blast to drive.

  • avatar
    jimpodi

    i’m not sure why we keep gawking at the price of this luxury coupe. only people with $ to spend would walk into a “luxury” auto dealership. the average joe who’s had his eyes set on a toyota or honda would not walk into an audi dealership. so expect to pay more for the “luxury” characteristics of the car. this includes a gorgeous combination of italian and german design, a beautiful interior, a state of the art sound system, quattro all wheel drive, shall i even continue???

    yeah it’s performance is not as good as the other luxury coupes in the market today, but who cares?? unless you are planning to pay for numerous speeding tickets, 265 hp is plenty of power for a coupe. most importantly, it’s a very comfortable ride with pretty darn good handling.

    bimmers are strong performance cars, but that’s pretty much it. with it’s dull exterior and interior looks, it’s hard to feel excited when you see a 3 series on the road today. with the A5 and S5, there are plenty of “wow”s and “oooo”s to go around.


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