Audi fits most of its U.S.-market vehicles with a suitably upmarket list of features and amenities, save for the odd omission or two. It's the winning new options on the roster for the 2013 model year that lift its score to the top of the class--there's just nothing like its latest mapping and audio systems.
The base A5 comes well-equipped, and for a pricetag of nearly $40,000, it should. Power windows, locks, and mirrors are standard; so are automatic climate control, an AM/FM/CD player with satellite radio and 10 speakers, keyless entry and pushbutton start, leather seating, power front seats, a sunroof, and cruise control. Bluetooth and iPod connectivity are options, though, and odd ones at this price point.
All Cabriolets come with a power-folding soft top with a glass rear window and an electric defogger. The folding fabric top weighs less than a hardtop mechanism, and takes up less space when folded--and it opens or closes completely in less than 20 seconds.
Audi's Multi-Media Interface is also standard on the A5 lineup. It uses a roller-style controller to govern audio and entertainment features and more, depending on which options you've ordered. In theory, it makes those functions easier to find and operate when driving. But like other knob-driven systems, the MMI still requires you to remember where some of the lesser-used functions are in the menu system. But thankfully, it does have a set of redundant buttons laid out around the knob, and some newly relocated controls for the latest model year.
Bi-xenon headlamps, a rearview camera, side-lane assist (which warns drivers of vehicles in blind spots), and a powerful, clean-sounding Bang & Olufsen audio system are available as options. On Coupes, there's a provision for a panoramic sunroof.
A navigation system bundled in with MMI is updated for the 2013 model year, and available in all models. Packaged with a rearview camera, HD radio, and a DVD player, the system links up with Google Earth and Street View mapping through Audi Connect, a subscription service offered by the automaker. For $25 to $30 a month, Audi Connect turns the car into a rolling wireless hotspot, delivering data to the navigation system as well as up to eight mobile devices. Maps are rendered in beautiful detail, from flyover perspectives that are incredibly useful when hunting destinations in unknown locales. It's the rare new navigation system that seems worth the big pricetag.
Moving into the S5 and RS5 range piles on the standard equipment. The S5 coupe and cabriolet get heated front seats, 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, and a special body kit as standard equipment. The RS 5 also adds its own styling touches, as well as a retractable spoiler, a choice of special interior trims, sport seats, parking sensors, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel and shift paddles.