Full 2014 Audi A5 Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Audi A5 gets a slight bump up in horsepower. New standard features like Bluetooth have been added and keyless ignition/entry is now standard on the Premium Plus trim. Also, an optional Black Optic appearance package debuts.
Luxury coupes have a certain sex appeal. Perhaps it's their defiant lack of practicality that gives them such a glamorous edge. The 2014 Audi A5 is one of the more fetching choices in this comely bunch and it offers more than mere surface charms. This shapely two-door impresses in almost every way imaginable.
Some cars present a beauty that's somewhat of an acquired taste, but this is not the case with the A5. Its sheet metal boasts an allure that's easily understood. This stylish refinement is also reflected in the cabin, which is one of the most deluxe and eye-catching interiors in the segment. The A5 continues to inspire praise on the open road, with sure-footed handling that makes you want to take the long way home. It even has a sensible streak, in the form of strong fuel economy. And drivers who frequently face intemperate weather will appreciate its available all-wheel drive.
Under the hood is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. While this engine might seem puny relative to the six-cylinders that dominate the segment, in reality, the A5 is only slightly slower than its rivals under full acceleration. If you crave more power, you could always look at the Audi S5 and Audi RS 5, both of which offer improved performance and sharper handling.
The 2014 Audi A5 is in many ways an ideal luxury coupe, and it has the goods to please a wide range of buyers in this segment. With competition like the BMW 4 Series, Infiniti Q60 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, this Audi isn't exactly going up against lightweights. Still, it stands out even among this distinguished lineup by offering a thoughtfully calibrated blend of luxury and athleticism.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Audi A5 is offered in four-passenger coupe and Cabriolet (convertible) body styles. All cars are sold in a base Premium trim level, and from there you can choose whether to add the Premium Plus and Prestige option packages, which dictate the availability of other option groups.
The base A5 Premium trim level comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof (coupe), 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 6.5-inch display, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an iPod interface. The Cabriolet adds a power-operated convertible top and a wind deflector. To this you can add the Lighting package, which includes xenon headlights and LED running lights and taillights.
Opting for the Premium Plus package gets you all the Premium trim's standard equipment and the features in the Lighting package, along with keyless ignition/entry, auto-dimming and heated mirrors, heated front seats and driver-seat memory functions. To that, you can add the optional MMI Navigation Plus package, which includes front and rear parking sensors; a navigation system; Bluetooth audio connectivity; an upgraded, console-mounted MMI interface; a slightly larger 7-inch display; a rearview camera; HD radio and Audi Connect (enhanced Web-based navigation, information and WiFi hot spot).
The range-topping Prestige package includes the MMI Navigation Plus package and adds adaptive headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system and a premium 14-speaker (12 for the convertible) Bang & Olufsen sound system. Also included are unique "S line" exterior details, including fender badges, bumpers and door sills.
A5s fitted with the Premium Plus or Prestige packages are eligible for the optional Sport package, which includes a sport-tuned suspension, front sport seats, the Audi Drive Select system (providing driver control over steering and transmission settings) and shift paddles for automatic transmissions.
An S line Competition package is also offered and comes with the sport suspension, 19-inch wheels with performance tires, unique exterior trim elements, brushed aluminum interior trim, sport seats and a three-spoke sport steering wheel. An S line Interior package (available only with the Prestige package) adds extended leather upholstery, a black headliner, a three-spoke steering wheel, unique aluminum interior trim and sport seats. The Black Optic package (Premium Plus and Prestige only) adds 19-inch wheels and high-gloss black elements.
An Audi Exclusive Line Interior package (Premium Plus and Prestige) features premium two-tone leather upholstery and other interior upgrades found in other packages. The Driver Assist package is Prestige package-only and adds adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering and Audi Drive Select.
Cabriolet models with the Premium Plus or Prestige package 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).
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2014 Audi A5 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 220 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 26 mpg combined (22 mpg city/32 mpg highway) for the coupe with the manual transmission. The automatic drops down to 24 mpg combined (20/29). The front-drive Cabriolet gets 27 mpg combined (24/32) and the all-wheel-drive version rings in at 24 combined (20/29).
Standard safety features for the 2014 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 monitoring system is standard for the Prestige package and optional on Premium Plus models. The Prestige trim also comes standard with adaptive cruise control that includes a collision mitigation system with forward collision alert and automatic low-speed braking.
Interior Design and Special Features
As is the case with nearly all Audis, the 2014 Audi A5's interior receives high marks for its understated design and top-notch materials. Actual functionality can be hit and miss, however. Performing basic tasks with the standard dash-mounted MMI controller requires a few extra steps compared to the upgraded MMI interface that comes with the optional navigation system. The latter benefits from simplified menus and a more ergonomic console-mounted controller.
The comfort of the front seats is quite good for long road trips, but the A5's standard 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 2014 Audi A5 convertible will certainly appreciate the expediency of the power-operated soft top's operation: It requires only about 15 seconds to raise or lower. With the tight-fitting, multilayer 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.
Though it's not a sports car, the 2014 Audi A5 still has a taut, crisp feel on the road, combining impressive body control and a pleasant ride quality with tenacious traction from the available all-wheel-drive system. At the same time, it's important to remember that the A5 weighs more than its rear-wheel-drive rivals and consequently feels more like a grand touring coupe than a high-performance one.
The A5's four-cylinder engine is a mixed bag. It gives this coupe and convertible respectable 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 faster, there's always the Audi S5 with its supercharged V6.