Full 2013 Audi A5 Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Audi A5 receives a face-lift and a few minor interior revisions. Audi Connect mobile WiFi also debuts. In terms of mechanical changes, Audi has switched the power-steering assist from traditional hydraulic to electric.
In the five years since its introduction, the Audi A5 has remained one of the most attractive coupes on the road. To maintain that standing, the 2013 A5 has received a little nip and tuck. Thankfully, all of the exterior's sleek styling is intact, with only a subtle sharpening here and there.
Most notably, the headlights and grille have been restyled to match the angular design language that Audi has adopted. Interior revisions are less obvious, with only small changes to the steering wheel, gauges and illumination. More significant is the availability of Audi Connect, which delivers more Web functionality to the navigation system and also establishes a WiFi hotspot.
This minor freshening is a testament to how good the Audi A5 was to begin with. Besides the sexy outward appearance, the A5 boasts a comfortable ride, confident handling, a classy yet understated cabin and admirable fuel economy. For those who prefer an open-top experience, the A5 convertible will satisfy, and it does so without the usual pitfalls of compromised refinement or reduced cargo capacity.
In terms of power, the A5's turbocharged four-cylinder might seem outclassed by the six-cylinder engines of its rivals. But in reality, the A5 is only marginally slower under full acceleration. For the few who want more power, the Audi S5 and Audi RS 5 offer both more performance and crisper handling.
Overall, we think the A5 will satisfy a broad spectrum of drivers. Even against the BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Audi remains a compelling choice, offering the athleticism of the BMW and Infiniti that's balanced with the luxury of the Mercedes. The 2013 Audi A5 proves that it's more than just a pretty face.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Audi A5 is offered in either coupe or Cabriolet (convertible) body styles. Trim levels start with Premium and climb to Premium Plus and Prestige.
Premium standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, automatic lights and wipers, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats with four-way driver lumbar support, split-folding rear seats, a dash-mounted MMI electronics interface controller, a trip computer and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player and satellite radio. The Cabriolet adds a multi-layer convertible top and a wind deflector.
For the A5 Premium, a Convenience package (Bluetooth and an enhanced music interface with iPod connectivity) and Lighting package (xenon headlights with LED running lights and taillights) are available as options.
Opting for the Premium Plus trim gets you all of the above, along with auto-dimming and heated mirrors, heated front seats and driver-seat memory functions. To that, the optional MMI Navigation Plus package can be added, which includes front and rear parking sensors, a navigation system, Bluetooth streaming audio, an upgraded, console-mounted MMI interface, a color display between the gauges, a rearview camera, HD radio and Audi Connect (enhanced Web-based navigation, information and WiFi hotspot).
The range-topping Prestige trim includes the MMI Navigation Plus package and adds adaptive headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a blind-spot monitoring system and a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Premium Plus and Prestige trims are eligible for the optional Sport package, which includes a lowered, sport-tuned suspension, front sport seats and shift paddles for automatic transmissions. The S line option is only offered on the Prestige and comes with the sport suspension, 19-inch wheels with performance tires, unique exterior trim elements, faux suede and leather upholstery, brushed aluminum interior trim, a black headliner and a three-spoke sport steering wheel. The Driver Assist package is also Prestige trim-only and adds adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering and Audi drive select, which provides adjustable settings for the steering and transmission.
Cabriolet models in Premium Plus and Prestige trim are eligible for the Comfort package that adds a neck-level heater, premium leather upholstery and perforated and ventilated front seats. Stand-alone options include 18-inch wheels, a variety of wood interior trim and a power rear sunshade (on Prestige coupe only). Some features on higher trim levels are available on supporting models.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2013 Audi A5 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Coupe models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. A5 Cabriolets come standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option on the Cabriolet and it comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is also offered for all-wheel-drive coupes.
Fuel economy is estimated by the EPA at 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg in combined driving for the coupe with the manual transmission. The automatic is rated at 20/24/30 mpg. The front-drive Cabriolet should achieve a similar 24/31/26 mpg, while the Quattro Cabriolet rings in at 20/30/24 mpg.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Audi A5 include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side and knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (for the coupe only). A blind-spot monitor is offered only on the Prestige trim, as is adaptive cruise control that includes an audible warning and brake preparation in the event the system detects an impending frontal crash.
Interior Design and Special Features
As is the case with nearly all Audis, the 2013 Audi A5's interior receives high marks for its understated design and use of top-notch materials. In terms of functionality, however, some elements can be hit and miss. The standard dash-mounted MMI controller isn't nearly as easy to operate as the interface that comes with the optional navigation system. The standard MMI requires a few extra steps compared to the optional MMI, which benefits from simplified menus and a more favorable console-mounted controller.
The comfort of the front seats is quite good for long road trips, but the seats lack the type of lateral support that a spirited driver desires. Thankfully, the optional sport seats remedy this problem. Unfortunately, there's no fix for the rear seats, as the lack of head- and legroom makes them suitable only for smaller passengers.
Those who choose the 2013 Audi A5 convertible will certainly appreciate the power-operated soft top's operation, which requires only about 15 seconds to raise or lower. With the tight-fitting, multi-layer top in place, the interior is so well insulated from noise and weather that you may forget you're driving a convertible. Even better, the al fresco driving experience doesn't come at the expense of trunk space. Thanks to the use of a fabric top instead of a more elaborate hardtop, the trunk can still accommodate 10.2 cubic feet of cargo when the top is folded down, only 2 cubes less than the coupe. Both body styles feature folding rear seats for added convenience, which is a rarity among convertibles.
Though it's not a sports car, the 2013 Audi A5 still has a taut, crisp feel on the road, combining impressive body control with tenacious traction from the all-wheel-drive system. At the same time, it's important to remember that the A5 weighs more than its rear-wheel-drive rivals, which helps explain why it feels more like a grand touring coupe than a high-performance one.
The A5's 2.0T engine is a mixed bag. It gives this coupe and convertible class-competitive acceleration and great fuel economy, but it doesn't sound as refined as a six-cylinder at high revs and it transmits some off-putting vibrations through the steering wheel. But unless you're habitually flooring the accelerator, you probably won't find this too much of a drawback. If you want something sweeter, check out the Audi S5 with its supercharged V6.