From £24,780
Decent entry-level model with a nicely refined petrol engine. Too much torque steer, though

Our Verdict

Audi A5

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

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10 February 2009

What is it?

This is the Audi A5 2.0 TFSI 180, a detuned version of the 208bhp A5 2.0 TFSI. This A5 is 31bhp down on its more powerful sibling, but that brings the cheapest Audi A5 under the 160g/km CO2 threshold that lets companies write off twice the cost of its depreciation against tax.

That’s not a very exciting way of starting a first drive, but that’s why the Audi A5 2.0 TFSI 180 exists.

Other than that it’s all standard-issue A5, although there’s no quattro version of this car.

What’s it like?

The engine in the Audi A5 2.0 TFSI 180 is a nice piece of work – smooth and quiet with a satisfying amount of kick once it gets going.

You could do a lot worse than have one of VW Group’s turbocharged four-cylinder engines in your cheapest model. These motors have an uncanny amount of torque (236lb ft) from low revs. They’re quiet, smooth and refined at speed, with decent in-gear punch; you can feel the turbo working, which I rather like.

The only problem is that the torque easily overwhelms the A5 2.0 TFSI 180’s front wheels. Poke the throttle hard in first and second and it’s all over the place. The full 236lb ft piles in from 1500rpm, which makes this A5 feel a little like a well-sorted turbodiesel, until the torque steer kicks in. You can drive round it, and then it’s fast and refined, but it gets a bit uncoordinated in the wet.

The A5 2.0 TFSI 180 doesn’t ride too well though. Even in Comfort mode the A5 jiggles about too much and becomes almost unbearable in its Dynamic setting, especially in the city.

Should I buy one?

There’s a lot to like about the A5 2.0 TFSI 180: it looks great, the cabin’s beautifully made and you can just about fit an adult in the rear. The 2.0 TFSI 180 is also a great engine, but this A5 could do with four-wheel drive to smooth out the effect it has on the front wheels.

If you’re bothered by that sort of thing, buy the 208bhp 2.0 TFSI quattro instead. The TFSI 180 isn’t a bad choice though, and if it’s a company car your fleet manager will no doubt be very pleased.

Dan Stevens

Join the debate

Comments
13

10 February 2009

Given that Audi start with the advantage of equal length drive shafts and more choice where to mount the steering rack and suspension pick up points beacuse of their longitudinal drive drive train, why is there so much torque steer?

Do they just want to sell more quattros?

10 February 2009

The Audi A5 is to my mind easily the most beautiful mid size exec coupe currently available, very classy lines, and a degree of junior Bentley about it.

Almost a shame that more small engined variants will be hitting the road as familiarity will dull its good looks somewhat.

I can't see torque steer being that much of an issue for the buyers of this model (or the handling in any way really) The car will sell on the badge and the appearance - it could drive like a mid nineties Audi and still sell like hot cakes providing the monthly rental figures are good.

10 February 2009

I agree, I like the sound of the A5 with this engine. I doubt if I'd notice the torque steer with my driving style and that CO2 figure wouldn't disgrace a turbo-diesel.

10 February 2009

[quote jerry99] why is there so much torque steer?[/quote]

And what then of the 22 lb.ft extra(258 lb.ft) in the 208 hp version of the same engine with fwd? I think, regardless of longitudinal engine and so on, feeding 200+ lb.ft of torque from 1500 rpm into front wheels, on cold, damp surfaces, like winter weather conditions now, with summer tyres, is a recipe nothing will fix. It's inherent in front drivers, with large, low-end torque, throwing the vehicle's weight onto the back end under acceleration, fighting with slippy, cold surfaces, and hard compound synthetic rubber.

SDR

10 February 2009

...and where are the pedals? Oh yes, that's right, in the car next door...

Beautiful car - if and when my middle leg is able to reach the clutch pedal I will be extremely tempted. Alas I'm not hopeful that's going to be any time soon, so unless and until they engineer it properly for RHD and provide a pedal where my leg ends, I'll have to pass.

11 February 2009

When there are FWD cars with upto 300bhp - at least this is what Ford is claiming with the new Focus RS - without (or with very little perceptible) torque steer nowadays, why isn't Audi able to make a FWD sporting coupe with "only" 180bhp that doesn't torque steer?

11 February 2009

"it looks great, the cabin’s beautifully made and you can just about fit an adult in the rear."

You can just about fit an adult in the rear?!?!? This car is huge, how can you only just about fit an adult in the back? Come on Audi, you can do better packaging than that!

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

11 February 2009

Thats not torque steer! they were were probably trying to drive it on an inside lane, it has an Audi device thats tries to keep it in the middle lane.. haha!

Actually a good looking car ...there I said it!

What tyres did it have? probably some lower rolling resistance ones to get a couple of grams off the impressive CO2 level? In which case a good set of Eagle F1's should sort it.

11 February 2009

[quote horseandcart]And what then of the 22 lb.ft extra(258 lb.ft) in the 208 hp version of the same engine with fwd? I think, regardless of longitudinal engine and so on, feeding 200+ lb.ft of torque from 1500 rpm into front wheels, on cold, damp surfaces, like winter weather conditions now, with summer tyres, is a recipe nothing will fix.[/quote]

I would hope that Autocar make due allowance for winter conditions or dry summer in their road tests? Assuming so, I do not agree. Take for example a Renault 30 (if you find one to drive) and you will find minimal torques steer. Look underneath at the drive shafts, suspension design and sterring rack and compare it with the Audi and it is obvious that they were over-engineered.

More recently other models have demonstrated that careful design can constrain torque streer in a 200 bhp front wheel drive set up.

My view is that Audi could have resolved this but chose to spend the money on other aspects of the car that were more prominent in the showroom.

11 February 2009

[quote jerry99]I would hope that Autocar make due allowance for winter conditions or dry summer in their road tests? [/quote]

Jerry, it's not a road test, it's a 'first drive'.

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