2016 Audi A5 Review

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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 9, 2016

The Audi A5 coupe and convertible are sleek and supple, providing relaxed yet sporty dynamics in a tidy package.

The Audi A5 isn't just one car, it's a family of cars that includes hardtop Coupes and soft-top Cabriolets. High-output, hard-charging S5 and RS 5 versions of both body styles are on offer. At its core, the A5 family is a spin-off of the A4 sedan.

Long after it was introduced, the A5 remains a favorite of ours. It's a rare, practical two-door that's still pretty and still fuel-efficient, after almost a decade on the road.

If you're shopping an A5 now, you're somewhat late to the game. We get it, though. Few cars are as striking, understated and elegant all at once. The A5 revels in elegant surfaces and the barest details. It's just as slinky as a convertible as it is a coupe. Its gaping-maw-ish grille aside, the A5 has all the hallmarks of a classic.

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Both A5s draw power from a turbo 2.0-liter inline-4 pumped up in recent years to 220 hp. All A5 models now include all-wheel drive. The A5 Cabriolet has little aspiration to high performance in its base version, with an 8-speed automatic and softly tuned suspension hardware. Coupes offer a choice of a 6-speed manual or the automatic, and both work well with the turbo-4's wide powerband.

The A5s are set up for on-road comfort; they're far from high-strung performance machines, though the related S5 cars veer in that direction. The A5's demeanor can get more enthusiastic with Drive Select. It's a mode-switching feature that changes steering, suspension, transmission and throttle tuning with programs for comfort and sport. Audi also offers a variable-ratio steering rack. For our money, the money's better spent on a sport suspension with better, more predictable road feel.

Two passengers will fit well in the A5's plushly padded front seats, and they'll find generous leg and shoulder space. The trunk has enough space (even in Cabriolets) for a weekend of luggage. The rear seat can seem a cruel joke for big adults; there's just not much space to get in, or to sit in. Small-item storage is ample, with a console and lockable glove box, bottle holders in the door, and fold-down rear-seat access from inside the car to the trunk.

Drivers will find difficulty with outward vision. The coupe's chunky roof pillars block some of the view to the back. The convertible's even worse when the top is up.

The convertible Cabriolet has a power folding top that lowers in about 20 seconds, and can be raised quickly at stoplights when rain descends. It eats into rear-seat and into storage space, but it's a good trade-off when those seats go mostly unoccupied.

Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA have crash-tested the A5. Each has the usual safety gear, with the addition of a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and in the convertible, pop-up roll bars.

Audi fits every A5 with the usual power features, leather, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. A Bang & Olufsen sound system is an option; so are a USB port and navigation. Audi's MMI interface uses a controller knob for input; it's awkward but somehow better than similar systems from Benz and BMW, mostly because its stunning Google Earth maps are lush and informative at the same time.

Changes for the 2016 model year are limited to standard and optional equipment adjustments. The S line exterior package is now standard, and Audi connect is now part of the Navigation plus package. Premium Plus models come with a Bang & Olufsen sound system. Cabriolet models are now available with a red acoustic, and any A5 can now be had with Misano Red pearl effect paint.

The A5 ranges from 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, 26 combined in coupe version with a 6-speed manual to 21/29/24 mpg in convertible fashion with an 8-speed automatic.

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