Beautifully made and swift, but still falls short of the 3-series dynamically.

What is it?

Audi's new four-seat coupe, this time with 3.0-litre of turbodiesel V6 up front. It goes on sale in the UK in July.

What's it like?

Torquey. Sometimes, Newton metres of torque sound better than your familiar pounds feet. Like when you have a fat 500 of them under your right foot. That’s what the newly bolstered V6 turbodiesel generates in the A5 3.0 TDI, along with 236bhp.

Those 500Nm equate to 369lb ft of twist action from 1500rpm through to 3000rpm, which is usefully more torque than even the 349bhp S5 quattro V8 can unleash.

All this low-rev urge lends the car an unruffled, effortless demeanour that suits its svelte good looks. It has most of the manners to match, though not all. A slightly rough-edged diesel growl emerges when you work this otherwise acoustically engaging engine – you can feel it through the clutch pedal too – and the ride quality is questionable despite the all-new chassis.

Potholes and sharp bumps often thump through, even on the smallest 17in wheels, never mind the larger 18s. And it’s worse on the sports suspension. Over crests and dips, however, this A5 is satisfyingly poised and very enjoyable to unleash at fast sweepers on the crest of all that torque.

Like several recent Audis, the A5’s quattro all-wheel drive system distributes a nominal 60 per cent of power to the rear wheels, but in tighter corners it understeers without displaying much of the balance you’d hope for. Once again, a BMW 3-series outpoints it for pure driver satisfaction.

Should I buy one?

You should at least try one. This is a desirable car. It looks classily intriguing, is supremely well finished inside, very fast and satisfyingly economical (it almost cracks 40mpg combined). It also makes a decent noise and is fairly practical for two. It’s less convincing four-up, but there’s a long, wide boot, and the split rear seats fold.

The 3.0 TDI is the most impressive car in the A5 range; it’s the best all-rounder and gels satisfyingly. But it doesn’t quite deliver the dynamic jump we’d hoped for.

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tommallett 16 March 2008

Re: Audi A5 3.0 TDI quattro

Will it not be a better bet as an auto. Personally I do not think it is that much of a drivers car to warrant most people in this sector wanting to change gear themselves. probably a touch dissapointed that more lessons were not learnt dynamically.