2014 Audi A5 2.0T Premium quattro 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo AWD 6-speed Manual)
Driven On 4/15/2014
Although the A5 can't be classified as the benchmark coupe in the segment, since some rivals offer superior power/straightline performance for barely more money, the Audi coupe's sexy styling, finely-crafted interior and benchmark handling maintain its utter desirability. It's a special car.
PerformanceThe A5's four-cylinder turbocharged engine makes just 220 horsepower compared to some competitors' 300-plus. But standard all-wheel drive, inspiring handling and effective brakes make it competitive in ways beyond pure straightline speed.
The sweet and smooth turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four offers plenty of low-end grunt and enough pep for a 6.3-second run to 60 mph. Need more power? Audi's 333-hp S5 and 450-hp RS 5 will suit you better, but cost much more.
Highly effective brakes offer excellent pedal feel and intuitive response and never whithered during extreme use. We recorded a best 60-0 mph panic-stop distance of 108 feet, which is excellent.
We used to criticize Audi steering, but not anymore. It turns in precisely and offers a secure and substantial feel through turns, yet it's relaxed and never darty when driving straight on down the highway.
The Sport suspension system that was part of our test car's S-Line Competition package proved its worth, making the A5 one of the best-handling luxury coupes we've ever tested. Only true sports cars provide better grip or agility.
Although not huge on power, the engine never feels sluggish. The clutch has an intuitive action and the 6-speed manual transmission's shifter glides with ease between gears. This is a highly competent and rewarding daily driver.
ComfortDespite optional sport suspension and performance tires, the A5 offers surprisingly good comfort. A quiet and smooth ride combines with great front seats and standard tri-zone air conditioning to pamper passengers.
Front seats supply generous dimensions, the optional S-Line versions proving extremely comfortable and highly adjustable. The rear seats (there are only two) have decent leg- and shoulder-room but are noticeably short on headroom.
Absent Audi's optional adaptive suspension, but with our example's sport suspension, ride comfort is remarkably good. Only the busiest surfaces cause mild annoyance.
Wind noise barely registers. Same story with engine noise. However, the short sidewalls on the summer tires slap audibly over highway seams while coarse pavement stirs up quite a hum.
InteriorThere's no question the A5's interior is handsome, well equipped and impeccably built. However, there are some ergonomic, packaging and storage realities for this intimate coupe.
As multi-controllers go, Audi's MMI lacks intuitiveness and presentation. It requires study and frequent glances to navigate displays and options within screens. Music-storage devices must be connected through the glovebox.
The large coupe doors can make entry/exit difficult in angled parking. Also, without a roof-mounted grab handle, falling into and climbing out of the rear seats is unusually difficult.
The A5 caters to front-seat passengers, as most coupes do, but this is an intimate setting. The two rear passengers enjoy a decent-sized window, but they'll rub the headliner if they're taller than five-foot-nine.
The A5 has large rear-side windows and relatively slender rear pillars, giving good visibility. Optional visibility aids include xenon headlamps, a rearview camera, parking sensors, blind-spot monitor and adaptive cruise control.
Despite a large glovebox, the A5 lacks small-item storage, with a notably small center armrest bin. But cupholders are robust, including bottle holders in the doors. Rear seats fold, but trunk only holds 12.2 cubic-feet.
ValueThe A5's base MSRP of $39,895 is less than most rivals, even with its standard all-wheel drive, but the engine lacks power. Start adding high-cost bundled options and our car's $50,845 as-tested price is a tough pill to swallow. Excellent fuel economy is a plus, however.
Build Quality (vs. $)
There isn't a seam, surface or knob that doesn't exude exacting assembly or top-tier quality. Solid-feeling and impeccable to look at. Clearly, this is where a good portion of your money went.
Standard equipment includes a 4-cylinder turbo engine, all-wheel drive, halogen headlamps, fog lights, tilt-only glass roof, Bluetooth, tri-zone climate control, leather seats, satellite radio and a single-CD/SD-card player.
Our example's sport package, intelligent key and push-button start, xenon headlamps, LED tail lights, heated seats with driver memory function, auto-dimming mirrors, navigation and multi-controller pushed the total to $50,845.
The A5 is rated by the EPA at 26 mpg Combined (22 City/32 Highway). We managed 32.3 mpg on the 116-mile Edmunds evaluation loop, and 25.6 mpg over the car's 449 mile stay with us.
Both the basic warranty and drivetrain coverage last for 4 years/50,000 miles. That's average for this segment.
Roadside assistance is covered for 4 years/unlimited miles, but only the first scheduled maintenance visit is free.
Fun To DriveYes, some coupes are quicker than the A5. But few pack as much sexy sophistication or thrilling sports-car handling into one sleek wrapper the way this 4-seat Audi does.
There's a real sense of connection to the A5 with its direct steering, reassuring brakes and confident handling. Sure, it would be more fun with more power and a husky voice, but silent satisfaction has its merit too.
Sleek and sporty, the Audi A5 has allure beyond raw 0-60 times. It's equally as impressive pulling up to the valet as it is clicking off miles during a couple's weekend getaway.