Not Messing With Success, The New Audi A5 Looks Exactly Like The Old Audi A5 - Identisch, Ja?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
not messing with success the new audi a5 looks exactly like the old audi a5

“I can’t quite believe it, but it actually looks different to the last one. In a wild change of tack…,” CAR Magazine’s CJ Hubbard writes, “…Audi has built a new car that doesn’t look nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor.”

Er, sure.

To be fair, Hubbard is among an early group of drivers who spent a fair chunk of time with the new Audi A5 in Portugal, and with time comes familiarity, and with familiarity comes an ability to more easily distinguish the new car from the old. We’ll get there, too.

Moreover, while reviews in Top Gear and The Telegraph were more direct in regards to the new A5’s, “same-again bodywork,” and the idea that, “designers phones in the changes,” Hubbard simply said the new A5 does not look nearly indistinguishable from the old A5, which could be translated to mean that it does look somewhat indistinguishable.

Of course the new Audi A5 looks entirely like the old Audi A5. That’s how Audi does things, particularly when the predecessor was a home run. Why mess with success?

The first Audi A5 arrived just prior to – gloomy clouds special effects, please – The Great Recession and managed to steadily increase its popularity, despite the market’s gradual turn away from less practical cars, despite the typical rejection coupes face as they age.

U.S. sales of the Audi A5 family didn’t hit their peak until 2013, six years after launch. Yes, the overall market was expanding, but six-year-old coupes and convertibles are supposed to sell poorly, and the A5 family’s U.S. sales growth – 197 percent between 2008 and 2013 – dwarfed the market’s 18 percent expansion during the same period.

(Note: the silver cars compared here are S5 and A5 models; the red comparison is of RS5 and S5 variants.)

The Audi A5 played a surprisingly significant role in Audi’s post-recession sales explosion. After dipping slightly in the doldrums of 2009, Audi USA sales doubled during a five-year period between 2010 and 2015. One out of every ten Audis sold during that period were A5s.

Even in 2015, as A5 sales plunged by more than a fifth in the first-generation’s final full year of availability, the Audi managed to generate as much sales activity as the BMW 2-Series and attracted more Audi customers than the A7 and A8 combined. A decade since its debut, the A5 has not become an uncommon car, a real testament to the design’s staying power.

Recognizing this fact, Audi tinkered. Sure, it’s not identical, and that’s most apparent at the front where Audi’s new grille shape takes center stage. But this is not a coupe that shouts, “Flashier, Newer, Hotter,” to the potential coupe buyer walking into the Lexus dealer across the street, intent on examining an RC350 F Sport.

[Image: Audi Media Center]

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jun 17, 2016

    New sausage looks the same as the old sausage. Does it surprise you? Do you pay any attention how this year sausage looks different from last years? Sausages design-wise did not change in centuries. On the serious note: VW probably does not have spare cash to spend on redesigns anymore. Also new Fusion seem to look the same as old one and nobody complains. It is called facelift. Honda could learn from Ford and VW - do not uglify your cars just make them to look "new" in not a good way.

  • White Shadow White Shadow on Jun 17, 2016

    I *just* picked up a 2016 A5 because I LOVE the styling and the new model just doesn't look as good to me. I see a lot of differences between the two, although I will admit that the side profile shots do look remarkably similar. Anyway, to my eyes, the A5 is the prettiest coupe on the road. Audi isn't currently offering the 5MT on the new A4 and my guess is that the A5 will follow suit. That's one more reason why I wanted pick up a 2016 before it was too late. It really is a fantastic car when equipped with the 6MT and the S-line package that gives you all the sporty stuff like wheels/tires, suspension, seats, etc...

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂