By on June 17, 2016

Old Audi RS5 New Audi S5

“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.

Audi RS5 old Audi S5 new

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.Audi A5 new Audi S5 oldEven 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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36 Comments on “Not Messing With Success, The New Audi A5 Looks Exactly Like The Old Audi A5 – Identisch, Ja?...”

  • avatar

    Audi- Why should I buy the new A5 when I can buy a 2 year old A5 that looks the same to 99% of the world who do not work for Audi?????????

  • avatar

    Can you please indicate which is old and new?

  • avatar

    It is not unlikely that the commercials will not fail to have a soundtrack indistinguishable from The Who.

  • avatar

    The Audi staples have always been all about the face and a**. Dont look in between because you won’t find anything interesting…

    I think the A5 rear is a nice upgrade. The front is give or take, I kind of liked the step in the old style headlights.

    I am suprised to see the extra ridges in the hood though.

    A more pronounced crease along the sides seems to be a blistering VAG trend.

  • avatar

    The A5 is the one Audi I really like. It has organic proportions abd an elegance that has the potential to be timeless.

    At the same time, it is incredibly boring – and almost a true copy of some late Mitsubishi Galant hatchbacks.

    Sort of a trade off if you’re in the market for overpriced cars.

  • avatar

    If it were a “new and improved” Honda or GM product, the new one would be a little wider and longer, a couple hundred pounds heavier and would have narrower windows and an even longer, more raked windshield.
    So a few minor cosmetic changes aren’t really a bad thing. It’s more like the difference between last year’s Accord and this year’s Accord, a refresh instead of a redesign.

    • 0 avatar

      The new Camaro is smaller and lighter than the old.
      The new Acadia is smaller and lighter than the old.
      The new Cruze is smaller and lighter than the old.

      • 0 avatar

        The new Miata is also smaller and lighter than the old. (The second and third generations did increase in weight, though.)

        Sometimes the exceptions prove the rule (or tendency).

        For the most part, though, the Audi in this article is keeping the same dimensions, bucking the automotive trend of newer versions of the same model name growing slightly with each revision. That sameness reinforces the postulate that it’s just a minor facelift, not an entirely new A5.

        • 0 avatar

          Your statement would have been very true 5 years ago. But that is not the current industry trend and it will not be.

          The current Accord (9th gen) is smaller and lighter than the old.

          The new Civic is basically the same size and lighter than the old.

          The new Pilot is smaller in every dimension but length and significantly lighter than the old.

          Just stop justifying it.

          • 0 avatar

            The new Civic LOOKS at least twice the size of the old one though, especially in length, even if it’s just barely larger.

  • avatar

    “…Audi has built a new car that doesn’t look nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor.”

    Somewhere an English teacher just felt a cold shiver run down their spine.

  • avatar

    The key differentiator of new Audis is the trick instrument panel that turns into a nav screen.

  • avatar

    Anyone who buys a Lexus RC over this should have their eyesight checked, it might be too dangerous for them to drive. Never mind the fact that the RC is a heavy pig, and a mongrel made from the bones of not one, not two, but THREE old cars. So it’s ugly, it’s too heavy, it’s a mutt, AND it has an interior about one notch above Camry grade. But uh… Lexus, I guess?

    • 0 avatar

      People have different opinions. I think the Lexus RC is much better looking than its competition from BMW and MB, but the A5 is better.

      Haven’t driven it but agree that it seems like it’d be overweight though, but what isn’t nowadays, especially when it comes to luxury coupes?

    • 0 avatar
      CV Neuves

      @Davekaybsc: Therefore its name. “RC”. Get it?

  • avatar

    The million dollar question, will the *Fantastic* 6MT still be available?

    I work for VW in veicle processing at one of the largest of their ports in the US. Out of everything they still make with 3 pedals, including the Porsche brand, nothing comes close to the feel of the amazing transmission. Absolutely sublime.

    And how rare is it prey tell? Out of the average Audi arrival of 1500-1800 units, which occurs 3-4 times per month, and serves to supply all western states dealers with product, you *might* see 2 units. I’ve never seen over 6 units/month, including the odd special order/custom paint spec manual a5.

    Assume average of 5 units a month, we are talking under 100 a year sold in the western dozen odd states.

    And I have never, I mean never seen a non S-Line manual A5, even though according to Audi it is still very available.

    Off topic, but the rarest VW with a manual available today?: VW CC.
    I have seen a total of ONE in the past 6 months. And I personally inspect Every.Single.Car. VW imports to the US for the Western States, Mexican and German built alike.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t get it. If you’re buying a sport coupe, presumably you’re looking for an engaging driving experience. Why wouldn’t you go for 3-pedals? Yes, I’m aware there are many arguments for going with a slushbox, but most of those also are also good arguments against buying a performance coupe. I guess people really hate shifting.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      What would be western states? I wonder if you saw my Golf SportWagen at some time. Of course, I live in Oklahoma.

    • 0 avatar

      I live in Vegas. While shopping for a car for my daughter this past April, we saw a 6MT CC in the showroom of a dealer. I was surprised to see it.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      My old (2011) A5 was a manual without being an S-line car. It did have the Sport pkg though, which gave it all of the S-line goodies without the different front & rear bumpers. The car was a bit of a unicorn. I actually factory ordered it that way.

  • avatar

    As I said earlier in the week, while the new A5 design would not prevent me from buying a new one (or perhaps upgrading to an S5) once my ’08 A5 S line is ten years old, it certainly does not inspire me to want to rush out and get the new one. And if the new one does not have a manual available, I might just hold on to my current one for longer.

  • avatar

    I remember the old days with dozens of artists building clay models and pouring in genuine effort to build a new vision in three dimensions.

    Now, we carefully drag the 17 in place of the 16 on the paperwork and call it perfection. It has worked for Porsche for years, I guess Audi will play the same game.

  • avatar

    Why mess with perfection? I’m certainly not an Audi fan but the A5 always looked great and doesnt need anything added or removed.

    The only reason why I never liked them is that they are fwd centric and they smack of ‘luxury coupe’ so isnt really sporting unlike the competition.

    I applaud Audi for seeing sense and not messing with what works.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      They are actually RWD biased, complete with a longitudinally mounted engine. More power is sent to the rear wheels even under”normal” driving conditions.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    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…

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