The if-it-ain’t-broke strategy to fixing issues apparently interprets nicely into German as a result of it’s a must to squint your eyes to see how Audi has altered the A5 with this new-for-2018 redesign. Wheelbase and general size are a contact longer, whereas top is similar and width is down by a mere 0.3 inch. The grille, headlamps, and taillamps all have broader proportions, and people zeppelin-like creases within the hood are apparently how Audi’s steel benders earn their pay. The clamshell hood is a stunning contact, and we’re additionally keen on the refined upward and outward sweep of the rear fender creases. In case your life-style hungers for low-key magnificence, this A5 delivers.
The perfect stuff is inside. Whereas the turbocharged, intercooled, and direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-four carries over its iron block and longitudinal orientation, there are worthwhile good points in each energy (up from 220 to 252 horsepower) and torque (which will increase from 258 to 273 lb-ft). As earlier than, Quattro all-wheel drive is customary, and patrons could select between a six-speed handbook transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch computerized with three working modes and paddle shifters. Audi claims the brand new multilink entrance suspension improves steering precision and that weight has been methodically trimmed all through the automotive. Dropping one gear from the automated transmission, adopting new aluminum front-suspension elements, and different measures yielded a 65-pound weight financial savings over a equally outfitted 2016 Audi A5 we examined.
This 2018 version has Quattro all-wheel drive, an enormous sunroof, three-zone computerized local weather management, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as customary tools. Apparently, Audi costs the identical $43,775 base value for each handbook and computerized variations. Our two-pedal take a look at automotive was a Premium Plus mannequin, which is a $3000 step up from the bottom Premium (including heated 10-way adjustable entrance seats, LED headlights, heated exterior mirrors, satellite tv for pc radio, audio-visual parking aids, and different tools). It was outfitted with a $2600 navigation bundle (which incorporates Audi’s Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster), a $1250 S line Sport bundle (entrance sport seats with four-way lumbar changes, sport suspension, and some décor objects), a $950 Bang & Olufsen audio system, an $800 19-inch wheel and low-profile summer-tire bundle, and Florett Silver Metallic paint costing an additional $575. The complete $52,950 tab is lower than you’d spend for a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.
The indulgent possibility load didn’t hamper the brand new A5 on the take a look at monitor. Its mixture of lighter weight, extra energy, and better torque multiplication within the first three gears clipped greater than a second from each the 6.1-second zero-to-60-mph acceleration and the 14.7-second quarter-mile elapsed time we measured for the aforementioned 2016 A5. The truth is, this A5’s 5.0-second-flat rush to 60 beats each 2.0-liter-turbo direct competitor we’ve clocked—a BMW 428i, a Cadillac ATS 2.0T, a Mercedes-Benz C300, and a Lexus RC200t—plus a couple of notable six-cylinder rivals—a BMW 435i, a Cadillac ATS 3.6, a 3.6-liter Chevy Camaro, and a Ford Mustang packing 3.7 liters. Chalk it up not a lot to the A5’s 252 horsepower however to the dual-clutch computerized’s fast handoffs throughout upshifts and the Quattro driveline that squanders not one iota of power on wheelspin. (The listed rivals all have been rear-drive, and three have been outfitted with handbook transmissions.)
Proving it’s no one-trick pony, the brand new A5 excelled in different monitor assessments. The Continental ContiSportContact 5P radials hung tight on the skidpad to the tune of 0.93 g, topping the sector by 0.01 to 0.05 g. Fade-free stopping from 70 mph in 152 toes bested BMW’s 428i by 12 toes and the Lexus RC by 19. Its 76-decibel noise degree throughout flat-out acceleration is quieter than Cadillac’s ATS coupe by three to seven decibels.
What’s extra spectacular is how the A5 blends its dynamic expertise with a thoughtfully configured cabin to ship spectacular back-road strafing means. You’re nicely restrained by a laterally agency seat, correctly supported from shoulder to knee, and hanging onto a wonderfully contoured and leather-clad three-spoke wheel. For those who’re tardy clicking the plastic upshift paddle, the transmission delivers a crisp upshift on the 6750-rpm redline. The brake pedal goes to work on the prime of its swing and is calibrated to ship predictable stopping power for every incremental improve in strain. Physique roll is tightly constrained, but the wheels by no means go stiff-legged over bumps and swells.
Once you crowd the adhesion restrict, the entrance tires let what’s up with a mushy moan. Dial in additional steering lock and the rears start drifting large half a step after the fronts. Fast, well-weighted steering providing hints of what’s happening on the pavement helps nail your required line. However the S line Sport bundle and the 19-inch wheels with summer time tires—choices totaling $2050—are important in case you’re critical about exploiting all of this coupe’s agility.
That funding additionally empowers the A5’s street-stealth mode. You possibly can bomb round city expeditiously as a result of the engine is quiet at work, the tires by no means shriek, and physique roll is so tightly contained. Whereas some sports activities coupes are a spectacle even at modest velocities, this silver bullet vectors via visitors like an unmarked patrol automotive.
Because of its yawning trunk area and split-folding rear seatbacks, the A5 is a wonderful weekend warrior; cargo as much as six toes in size lies flat. And though its roofline suggests in any other case, this coupe will accommodate 4 adults on date evening. Excessive-mounted switches on the entrance bucket seats launch the backrests and energy the entrance seats to their ahead stops. Squeezing via the entry crevice requires a yogi’s flexibility, however the griping rapidly subsides when rear passengers uncover all of the head-, leg-, and elbow room at their disposal. The underside cushions are contoured for consolation and raised excessive sufficient that knees aren’t jammed into chins. Claustrophobia isn’t a priority as a result of svelte pillars and enormous expanses of facet glass. Sadly, the hole between entrance and rear middle consoles is so tight that if a rear occupant needs to alter sides, they’re higher off exiting the A5 and repeating the entry rigmarole by way of the other door.
Whereas panel gaps and general inside high quality have been flawless in our take a look at automotive, when it comes to design, this A5 is extra a placeholder than an incredible stride ahead rivaling these Audi has achieved up to now. Some employees members felt the matte-black leather-based and plastic surfaces accented by strategic bits of polished, knurled, or etched steel lacked heat. To appease those that really feel the contempo-tech look doesn’t jibe with the $50,000-plus value, the A5’s choices checklist consists of three various leather-based hues and walnut or oak paneling rather than the etched aluminum.
At the very least each paddle, change, and management knob is nicely positioned and works in an intuitive method. The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is reconfigurable to accommodate crystal-clear devices and navigation shows. The 7.0-inch middle display screen that begs to be touched is in actual fact commanded fairly properly by a big, console-mounted rotary knob with a few switches on the steering wheel to assist with audio changes.
It’s a disgrace this A5 isn’t extra of an extrovert as a result of its class-leading efficiency warrants a critical look from anybody buying premium coupes. At the very least Audi is nurturing the A5 household with convertible and Sportback (four-door hatchback) editions, plus a 450-hp RS5 due subsequent 12 months to backstop the at the moment out there 354-hp S5. Clearly, these rising up and out of rowdy V-8 coupes have by no means had it so good.
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