Audi is known for its understated and modern approach to luxury and design, as well as its extensive use of the proprietary Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The A5 certainly falls under that description, but it infuses a whisper of alluring curves in a shapely form to set it apart from the rest. Inspired by Audi's Nuvolari grand touring concept, the A5 is a slightly less practical but much sexier alternative to mainstream luxury cars. It boasts a standard fuel-efficient turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, a refined interior, and plenty of standard or optional luxury features.
It's an overall package that's hard to ignore. And as an added bonus, more enthusiastic drivers can enjoy all of these positive attributes along with a significant horsepower and torque increase in the Audi S5.
Current Audi A5
Today's A5 lineup consists of the A5 coupe, the A5 Cabriolet (convertible) and the A5 Sportback (four-door hatchback). All versions are mechanically related to the A4 sedan and come in a few familiar trim levels, including Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Under the hood is a fuel-efficient turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (known as the 2.0L TFSI or more commonly 2.0T) that produces 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard, with a six-speed conventional manual offered only with the coupe.
A key advantage for those who are subject to slippery weather conditions is the A5's Quattro AWD system, which is standard on every current A5. With a 40/60 front-to-rear power split, Quattro provides a close approximation of a rear-wheel-drive car's crisp handling dynamics along with the superior grip of all-wheel drive.
Those who value sophisticated design as much as performance will feel right at home in the A5. The curvaceous silhouette, distinctive Audi one-piece grille, and shapely tail end team up to create an extraordinarily appealing look. The Cabriolet may not have a retractable hardtop, but its insulated soft top lowers quickly and prevents the car from having an unflatteringly large rump like most hardtop convertibles. The Sportback, meanwhile, is a new addition from Audi that adds four-door practicality to the A5 lineup.
Inside the A5's handsome cabin are first-rate interior materials and multi-adjustable front seats that offer daylong touring comfort along with ample support during spirited driving. A notable feature for the second-generation A5 is Audi's Virtual Cockpit dynamic gauge cluster. The rear seats provide a seating capacity of either two (coupe and Cabriolet) or three (Sportback). The coupe has a reasonably sized trunk, while the Cabriolet's cargo area holds its own for a convertible — and unlike with retractable hardtops, that space remains the same top up or down. Naturally, the Sportback provides by far the most cargo space.
In reviews, we've found the 2.0T engine to be more than enough motivation. Dynamically, the A5 is more like a grand touring car than a true performance machine, with an emphasis placed on ride comfort. Buyers can add the optional sport-tuned suspension to sharpen the handling, though this admittedly comes at the expense of ride quality.
Overall, the A5 is a solid choice even with tough competition such as the BMW 4 Series and the Infiniti Q60, as well as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Moreover, the Audi A5 Sportback gives the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe all it can handle. Anyone desiring a pleasing blend of style, performance and the security of Quattro AWD would do well to take this Audi for a spin.
Used Audi A5 Models
The current, second-generation A5 lineup was introduced for the 2018 model year, which marked the debut of the four-door Sportback variant.
The first-generation A5 launched back in 2008 and was produced all the way through 2017. It began as a coupe only, with a 3.2-liter V6 (265 hp, 243 lb-ft of torque) as the lone engine choice. A six-speed manual was standard and a six-speed automatic optional. Standard and optional features included alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof, leather seats and premium audio.
The following year, adaptive cruise control and the Audi Drive Select system debuted. The Cabriolet and 2.0T four-cylinder engine (211 hp, 258 lb-ft) were introduced for 2010, as were a revised MMI electronics interface and navigation system. Three trim levels also appeared for 2010: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Previously, the A5 was a single-trim model.
For 2011 the V6 was dropped and the six-speed automatic was replaced with an eight-speed unit. Notably, the Cabriolet 2.0T could be had with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission from 2011 to 2014, but the Quattro/eight-speed pairing became mandatory as of 2015.
A styling refresh took place for 2013, when available Wi-Fi capability and a switch from hydraulic to electric power steering assist also transpired. Bluetooth joined the roster for 2014, along with a few extra ponies for the 2.0T. Standard xenon headlights and LED running lights and taillights appeared for 2015. As the first generation wound down, the sporty S Line package was made standard for 2016, while the 2017 A5 was offered in just a single well-appointed trim.
Read the most recent 2018 Audi A5 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Audi A5 page.