From £24,780
The cheapest version of the A5 is still great

Our Verdict

Audi A5
The Audi A5 is a elegant 3-series sized car, available as a coupe, hatchback or cabriolet

The Audi A5 is a classy coupé, hatchback and cabriolet, but are there talents beneath the pretty bodywork?

What is it?

The entry-level version of Audi’s excellent A5 coupe range, the 1.8-litre TFSI.

This is the only version of the A5 that does without a six cylinder engine, and it also does without the Quattro four-wheel drive fitted to most of its more powerful sisters.

That means a (relative) bargain pricetag: the entry-level A5 is nearly four grand cheaper than the cheapest Mercedes CLK and barely more expensive than the considerably less exclusive BMW 320i coupe.

What’s it like?

Still very appealing. Indeed, despite its relative lack of cylinders and power, the 1.8 TFSI drives pretty much as well as the rest of the range.

The engine in this car plays a significant part in its success. A turbocharged 1.8-litre four-pot sounds, in prospect, a bit ordinary for a car like this, but it’s anything but. The headline power and torque outputs may be modest, but they’re so accessible. Bury the throttle and you get nothing but peak torque (184lb ft) from 1500- to 4800rpm; then, from 4800- to 6200rpm, the engine serves up a continuous 168bhp.

That translates into strong performance: an 8.4 second 0-62mph time and 142mph top speed are hardly tardy. Those figures are sharpened by the fact the most basic A5 weighs nearly 300kg less than a Tiptronic-equipped S5.

Few cars feel so refined for this money either. At idle you need to check the tacho to confirm the engine is running, and higher in the rev range you hear the motor’s pleasant rasp without ever feeling it's too loud. The absence of both road and wind noise is commendable to: the A5 is a superb motorway car.

The absence of four-wheel drive wasn’t too noticeable in our dry test conditions, proving that the A5’s precise and well-mannered dynamic character is as much as product of its meaty, incisive steering system and poised chassis as it is of Audi’s trademark Quattro.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for an upmarket four-seater coupe at a good price, absolutely. The A5 makes the ageing Mercedes CLK look overpriced and – although it can’t quite match the BMW 3-Series on driving dynamics – it’s a smoother and more exclusive cruiser.

The 1.8 TFSI engine is impressively economical, too – turning in 35mpg at a motorway pace. With no four-cylinder diesel A5, this is probably the most fleet-friendly version in the range.

Just one word of warning: avoid the lower, stiffer Sport suspension. It feels misplaced on the most humble A5, and buyers can save nearly £1000 by opting for the more supple standard model.

Join the debate

Comments
6

20 June 2008

this car is just heavenly!

21 June 2008

A 2.0TDi (common-rail) 168bhp is on the way. It will be available with either FWD or Quattro.

24 June 2008

[quote Quattro369]

A 2.0TDi (common-rail) 168bhp is on the way. It will be available with either FWD or Quattro.

[/quote]

I drove the 3.0 tdi recently and was very impressed. Whilst more quick than very fast, its acceleration seems impervious to additional passengers unlike a small capacity turbo petrol engine. Going flat out in 3rd down a motorway on-ramp 4 up it was excellent and shrugged off the extra weight with barely any effort.

If the 2.0 tdi 168bhp model can pull off the same act as its bigger hearted sibling then it will be the one to go for, especially if emissions and mpg are top of your list. With a remap this engine should be good for over 225 bhp and 400 nm of torque which should bridge the gap to the 3.0 tdi.

The only question then will be 4wd or fwd? Once up and running the advantage of 4wd is substantially reduced and the lighter, quicker, more agile and economical fwd car may well be the pick of the bunch where the black stuff is lighting your fire.


Frawls

24 June 2008

hi Quattro 369 are you sure they are putting the 20.d in the A5 170BHP as it is very close to the 2.7d at 190bhp

25 June 2008

[quote flippera5]hi Quattro 369 are you sure they are putting the 20.d in the A5 170BHP as it is very close to the 2.7d at 190bhp [/quote]

YES DEFINATELY! There are already details (inc MPG/Co2) for it on the french Audi website. Dont forget how many engine variants Audi offers in the mechanically identical A4. The main reason for the 2.7TDi is its mostly for people who want the CVT Automatic Gearbox. The 2.0TDi will probably account for over half the A5s' total sales.

21 May 2010

the bhp on the audi quattro coupe is also quite high. the torque provided is very good and might beat some of the best cars on the road.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run