A quick recap of what's new about Audi's latest A5 Coupé, a car that needs to build on the previous model's steadily strong sales, which continued right until its death. Like the first generation the A5 is available as a coupé, five-door Sportback, Cabriolet and S5 forms, with a RS5 set to join the range in the future.
Firstly, the A5 is now a lighter car than before, by some 60kg, its bigger dimensions mean more cabin space, and behind its seating for five lies a larger boot. This A5 also sits on the latest evolution of Audi's MLB chassis architecture, so we can reasonably expect it to ride and handle more competently, too.
And so it might, because those worried that the A5's close connection with its more subdued executive A4 stablemate will mean a dull drive have been considered. Indeed, the A5 receives stiffer springs in a bid to offer the 'sportier feel' buyers are looking for, to go with its sleeker looks.
The A4's and A5's engine line-ups are a game of 'spot the difference', but they are - marginally - different from each other. The A5 does without the A4's lower-powered 148bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, while the range-topping 282bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel doesn't arrive in the coupé until early next year. Until then, we've driven the lower-powered, 215bhp version of the V6 TDI in the UK.
The rest of the range is made up of an 187bhp 2.0 TDI in low emission and Quattro forms alongside the standard front-wheel-drive version and a duo of 2.0-litre petrol engines which produce 187bhp and 250bhp respectively. Topping the range for the moment is the 3.0-litre V6 petrol powering the S5 punching out a substantial 349bhp.
One quirk of the lower-powered V6 powertrain worth mentioning is that whereas the A4 pairs front-wheel drive with this engine in search of low CO2 emissions, the A5 Coupé combines it with quattro all-wheel drive only. The relatively small losses in CO2 and fuel economy are well worth the gains in driver satisfaction, particularly traction from standstill in slippery conditions - something with which the front-drive A4 often struggles.
This only helps you to admire the engine even more. It's superbly stout at low revs, dragging this now lighter A5 forward with real purpose from just 1250rpm, and doing so with all the refinement of cars twice its price. It's true that Audi's seven-speed S tronic gearbox is capable of dithering when handling large throttle inputs from low speeds, the A5's electronic brain presumably pondering over how best to deliver such an onslaught of torque. However, it's never a dangerously long pause, and once rolling, the ’box is far better behaved.
It's a shame, then, that the A5 doesn't have the playful handling this engine deserves. Our car went without Audi's optional (£950) Dynamic steering, and it's all the better for it, feeling more linear. Even so, the A5's front end doesn't feel as agile or communicative as that of the BMW 4 Series, and while its steering is certainly precise, the A5's reaction to it is always safe and secure rather than truly interactive.
That's not to say the combination of the A5's precise steering, good body control, strong engine and quattro all-wheel drive won't make it decently quick across country, especially now the weather has turned. And despite the added 'sportier feel', there's not a huge amount of ride degradation, either. It's certainly firmer than an A4 (on our car's S line set-up particularly) but it stays nicely controlled regardless.
As for trim levels, there are four levels to choose from – SE, Sport, S line and S5. Entry-level models get 17in alloy wheels, xenon headlights, electrically adjustable wing mirrors, cruise control, parking sensors, keyless entry and Audi’s automated braking system on the outside as standard.
On the inside there is tri-zone climate control, heated front seats and Audi’s MMI infotainment system complete with a 7.0in display, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
Upgrade to Sport and you’ll gain sports seats, LED interior lighting and leather upholstery, while S line adds 18in alloy wheels, sports suspension, a sporty bodykit, LED headlights, and a leather and Alcantara upholstery.
Those pining for a faster A5 can opt for the 349bhp S5 and you’ll also find your Audi adorned with 19in alloy wheels, adaptive headlights, an enhanced braking system, and an 8.3in infotainment system complete with sat nav.
The new A5 doesn’t disappoint inside, pipping the cabin quality of its German rivals with upmarket materials everywhere you look and touch. True, the design of the interior perhaps lacks the flair and imagination of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé, but the flipside is a better-structured, more logical dashboard layout.
Audi’s MMI infotainment system comes as standard and features a clear 7.0in display mounted centrally on the dashboard and controlled with the usual rotary dial between the front seats. Sat-nav is a standard fitment on all trims, although Virtual Cockpit – Audi’s 12.3in screen that takes the place of the standard analogue instrument dials – costs extra.
Clearly, you won’t be considering a coupé if space is your top priority, but the A5 isn’t as impractical as you might imagine. A couple of six-footers will fit in the back easily enough, although they’ll have to slouch to keep their heads from brushing the ceiling.
Officially, there’s more boot space than in a 4 Series or a C-Class Coupé, and although the differences are small, the A5’s load bay is certainly usefully squarer than those of its rivals. It also comes with 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats as standard, and when folded down, they leave only a gentle slope in the floor of the extended load bay.
At a touch over £41,000, Audi has priced this A5 slightly below BMW's 430d xDrive M Sport auto and slightly above Mercedes' C 250 d Coupé AMG Line 4Matic - although a small premium over that C-Class Coupé isn't surprising when you consider the Mercedes' four-cylinder engine. As such, it looks very good value indeed. It's a far more refined choice than either of those cars and sports a better-built cabin and a very generous list of standard equipment, not to mention lower CO2 emissions than its two rivals.
It also doesn't give much away to the C-Class in terms of how it drives, although few would argue that it's a more engaging car than the 4 Series. Still, it's good enough in this guise to keep most people interested, and in almost every other way, it's an extremely rounded package that is well worth considering.