Audi gets sporty with the new A5

by Gazette Reporter

The world of coupe cars has changed and expanded so that it’s now possible to indulge in the sporty ambiance that these cars offer while still having some family car values.

That message comes clearly into focus when you drive the new Audi A5 – a car that blends modern coupe styling with space.

Audi has upgraded the A5, sharpening its lines and adding some impressive new technology features. The A5 coupe look is strongly retained while the styling is more crisp and modern, so that you know that the car is new.

Under the skin Audi engineers have worked hard to shave 85kg from the car’s weight and that adds to the improved fuel economy. After some days behind the wheel you can appreciate the level of engineering and technology that has underpinned the car’s comfort and road manners.

That appreciation comes in the form of ease of driving, smooth power flow, good economy and just an all-round great car to drive. The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine is a perfect match for the seven speed automatic gearbox that was a feature of the S-Line version that I drove. You get the option of experiencing a more exciting drive when you opt for the Sport mode in the gearbox and its does deliver an obvious difference in driving pace.

The gearbox also allows a low engine rev cruising speed so on longer runs it is possible to drive at 120km/hr on the motorway at just 1,750rpm engine speed. This makes for smooth and quiet motorway cruising that’s truly economical.

Compared with the previous model, Audi claims to have reduced the A5 fuel consumption by as much as 22% while increasing power output by up to 17%. All engines comply with the limits of the Euro 6 emission standard. The standard, updated start-stop system includes changes that reduce fuel consumption and lowers average CO2 to 109g/km. The system deactivates the engine when coasting up to traffic signals at less than seven km/h.

I found that the Audi A5 Sportback was able to achieve a range of over 900km and that impressed me. The official economy figure is 23.8km/litre (4.2/100km or 67mpg) and I almost achieved that over the full 1304km that I drove the car. That was a unique economy figure even if much of my driving was on motorways of national primary roads.

On the inside this A5 Sportback blends comfort with great design. The seating has easy adjustment and I was in a comfortable position with my phone Bluetooth connected within minutes. Audi claims that there is slightly more legroom in the rear and the seat design means that other than the tallest people, your rear passengers will never complain.

The four doors mean that this is an accessible car with Iso-fix couplings on the two outer rear seats. The centre seat position is a little tight, meaning that this is in reality a very comfortable four seat car that has impressive style.

The car comes equipped with an impressive array of equipment as standard. These include Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights to give impressive visibility on the road in all conditions. The interior LED lights illuminate key features.

This new A5 Sportback has Audi’s latest infotainment features. These include the Audi MMI navigation system with seven-inch colour display, Bluetooth and USB charging functionality, a dedicated smartphone interface for iOS and Android devices and a three-month free trial of Audi Connect. The fact that these systems were easy to engage with in a logical manner makes that attractive and very driver friendly.

The range of Audi connect services is impressive, from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View to travel information, traffic information online and searching for a parking space or even Twitter. Audi has developed a purpose-designed interface for the social network.

The A5 comes with some new driver assistance systems, like Audi pre-sense city, and front and rear parking sensors. Spending some time with the latest Audi drive select dynamic handling system allows the driver to select specific profiles ideally suited to their preferences and driving conditions.

The test car was the Audi A5 Sportback S-Line version and that comes with some additional premium features, such as LED headlights, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, leather-upholstered seats, 18-inch alloys running on Pirelli Centurauto P7 245/40 R18 tyres and the sports suspension.

Audi cars come with a premium and the likes of the A5 Sportback will be viewed against the BMW and Mercedes-Benz competition. While I have yet to drive BMW’s 4 Grand Coupe, it will have to cross a high bar if it is to surpass Audi’s combination of style, performance, economy and great driving comfort.

Entry prices for the Audi A5 range start from €49,600 and the options choices are tempting and equally expensive. Few if any A5 buyers will opt for the basic package, so the true buying price will rise significantly so make your options choices with care and some thought. The end result will be an impressive car, of that you can be in doubt.

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