Though it’s short of the V-8 urge found in its high-performance S5 cousin, the 2008 Audi A5 entertains casual and enthusiast drivers with V-6 power and a choice of gearboxes, not to mention good handling.
A 265-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 delivers power for the A5. It isn't as responsive as we'd like, but it's refined and smooth. With it the A5 can hit 60 mph in roughly 6 seconds. The Washington Post calls it "gentle, yet powerful." Edmunds says it has "eager response," though ForbesAutos says it doesn't "feel like a high-performance coupe."
Audi offers the A5 with a 6-speed manual or automatic. The automatic is "silky," says The Washington Post. Motor Trend says the manual is "well matched" to the engine but finds its action "somewhat clunky," with an unfortunate tendency to hang between first and third." Edmunds thinks the shift lever has somewhat long, but light-effort throws." ForbesAutos observes the manual “felt imprecise moving the gears, especially compared to that of the BMW 3 Series.”
For all its power, the 2008 Audi A5 drinks up at a reasonable pace; it’s rated at 27 mpg highway, 18 mpg city. It does require more expensive, premium-grade gasoline, however.
With better ride than handling, the A5 isn't especially exciting to drive, but it's communicative and crisp in terms of steering and feels secure on the highway. All-wheel drive is standard. ForbesAutos says it makes the A5 feel "heavier and less agile than the BMW 3 Series." ConsumerGuide says "sharp bumps can register with a jolt." Most enthusiasts will opt for the S-Line package, with its stiffer suspension settings.