Another powertrain quirk 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.
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.