- Exceptionally confident handling
- High-quality interior
- Quiet, smooth ride
- Understated but beautiful styling
- Tight headroom
- Backseat isn’t good for adults
- Steering lacks light, agile feel to match personality
The 2009 Audi A5 isn’t as much fun to drive as all-out sport coupes, but the interior will wow even jaded luxury buyers.
The 2009 Audi A5 is a mid-size coupe that shares most of its mechanical underpinnings with the 2009 Audi A4 sedan. Instead of being overtly sporty, the A5 follows a style that’s more sophisticated, in the vein of so-called grand-touring coupes.
The 265-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6 that’s standard in the 2009 Audi A5 moves it with authority; its performance isn't especially responsive, but it's very smooth and refined, able to push the A5 to 60 mph in about six seconds. The A5 offers a choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission; the engine actually works very well with the automatic, executing quick, decisive downshifts. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard, and Audi has programmed a rearward bias for sportier handling.
Audi continues to refine its renowned interior design, fit, and finish. Inside, the 2009 Audi A5 feels lavish and luxurious, with high-grade materials and plenty of attention to small design details. The display screen for Audi's Multi-Media Interface (MMI) dominates the top of the instrument panel; MMI is used to access many of the functions for audio and climate control functions.
The 2009 Audi A5 isn't particularly fun or exciting to drive, since it is tuned more for ride quality than aggressive handling capability, but steering is crisp and communicative at speed. The A5 is very quiet and well isolated from road noise, with a secure feel on the highway, though, and the brakes are powerful. An S-Line option package brings stiffer suspension settings and promises to make the A5 sprightlier in the curves. An optional package allows the driver to tune the suspension, steering, and throttle response.
Passengers feel coddled by the Audi's comfortably snug seats. Front seats are among the best of any coupe its size, with plenty of support and generous padding; headroom is tight, however, for adults who carry their height in the torso. As with many cars, adults will find the rear seats too tight and difficult to get into, with restricted legroom and very limiting headroom. Due to the high beltline that swoops around the back of the 2009 Audi A5, trunk space is surprisingly ample; it's as large as that of most mid-size sedans.
Standard features include three-zone automatic climate control, an intelligent key system, and a 10-speaker sound system with music player input. The 2009 Audi A5 also offers such standout options as a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, a nav system, and a technology package that includes adaptive headlamps, rear parking sensors, and a keyless ignition system. New options for 2009 include adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitoring system, and voice control for the navigation system.
Safety reports from crash tests are not yet in for the 2009 Audi A5, but electronic stability control, knee airbags, front side airbags, and front and rear side-curtain bags are standard on the A5.
2009 Audi A5
The 2009 Audi A5 is another example of Audi's evolution toward design that evokes emotion and lust. It's not ostentatious but still conveys power and luxury.
The Audi A5 shares most of its underpinnings with the 2009 Audi A4 sedan, but its sheetmetal is completely different. The S5 (covered in a separate review at TheCarConnection.com) is very similar but appeals to a different kind of buyer, with its edgier, more flamboyant styling and V-8 power.
Various reviews read by TheCarConnection.com state that pictures of the A5 don't do the design justice—it looks even better in person—and most rave about its proportions and detail.
Automobile Magazine states the A5 "is elegantly handsome and more emotional in form than previous Audis." The 2009 A5 is what chief Audi stylist Walter de Silva deems "the most beautiful car I have ever designed," and it had a Jalopnik reviewer drooling when he caught a glimpse of it on a California highway, calling it "simply smashing." Car and Driver feels the 2009 Audi A5 has something for everyone: "Mature proportions [that] will please the dandy, sate the sports-car enthusiast, and offend no one." Cars.com observes, "With piercing, downward-slanting headlamps, the A5's nose has something of a furrowed brow." Edmunds calls it "curvaceous yet muscular," while Cars.com says it's "instantly recognizable as an Audi." Kelley Blue Book concurs that the A5 is "elegant" inside and out. ForbesAutos declares the A5's "wide shoulder lines, high beltline and massive trapezoidal front grille" are a success, and that its back end kicks up subtly to "preserve a clean aesthetic." The overall look "strikes a balance between timeless elegance and dramatic flair." Automobile Magazine has named the 2009 A5 its "Design of the Year."
With high-grade materials and plenty of attention to small design details, the interior of the 2009 Audi A5 feels lavish and luxurious. Automobile Magazine remarks, "when you open the door [you] find one of the best interiors offered today, for any car at any price." The display screen for Audi's MMI (now a stand-alone option) dominates the top of the instrument panel; MMI is used to access many of the functions for audio and climate control functions. ConsumerGuide reports that the interior is "more sporty than luxurious," while Automobile Magazine says it retains "a classy driving environment—functional and comfortable, cool but not overstyled." Real materials are used to decorate the cabin: wood, leather, and aluminum. For 2009, what Audi calls "aluminum hologram inlays" are available as a no-cost option.
2009 Audi A5
The 2009 Audi A5 offers buyers sure-footed performance and respectable acceleration, though some might wish for sharper handling.
The 2009 Audi A5 moves casual and enthusiast drivers with V-6 power, standard Quattro, and a choice of gearboxes: a six-speed manual or a six-speed Tiptronic.
The 2009 A5 is the only car in its class that offers all-wheel drive with a manual transmission. A 265-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6 powers the 2009 Audi A5 with authority; its performance isn't especially responsive, but it's very smooth and refined and can push the A5 to 60 mph in about six seconds. The Washington Post describes the A5's demeanor as "smooth, gentle, yet powerful." Edmunds says "the spirited V-6 provides likewise eager response," though MyRide.com cites one fault: "It costs the same as the BMW, but with a significant horsepower debt."
The direct-injection engine actually works very well with the automatic, executing quick, decisive downshifts. The Washington Post applauds the "silky six-speed automatic transmission." With the S-line package, the A5 also gets paddle shifters alongside the steering wheel. Most reviewers consulted by TheCarConnection.com tried the manual. Motor Trend reports that while the gearing of the six-speed transmission is "well matched" to the powerplant, the shifter is "somewhat clunky," and it "generally felt a bit remote and disconnected from the mechanism it controls." Edmunds thinks "the manual transmission's shifter has somewhat long, but light-effort throws with firm engagement." In an automatic, their best time in a run to 60 mph was 6.4 seconds.
The 2009 Audi A5 is certainly no fuel miser, but neither is it a guzzler. EPA estimates rate the automatic-equipped 2009 A5 at 17 mpg city, 26 highway. Premium fuel is required by Audi.
As a grand tourer, the 2009 Audi A5 has a suspension that’s tuned more for ride quality than aggressive handling capability. The 2009 Audi A5 isn't especially exciting to drive and its steering receives mixed reviews. ConsumerGuide reports, "Steering feel is responsive at higher speeds, but some testers complain that it's too light at low speeds." Cars.com says, "Quattro all-wheel drive is standard; in normal conditions, it channels 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels." Even with the added weight of AWD, ForbesAutos comments, "When pushing the A5 through quick turns, it feels heavier and less agile than the BMW 3 Series. But there is little body roll and the A5 stays planted, yet the ride is never harsh." ConsumerGuide notes "sharp bumps can register with a jolt," but acknowledges that it's comfortable enough for long road trips. New for 2009 is the "Drive Select" package that includes adaptive suspension and dynamic steering, which varies the steering ratio. Standard stability and traction control keep the A5 in line but, according to Kelley Blue Book, "can be switched off" for more sporting drives. Braking is sure-footed and confidence-inspiring, according to various reviews read by TheCarConnection.com.
2009 Audi A5
Comfort & Quality
The 2009 Audi A5 wraps its passengers in genuine luxury: real leather, wood, and aluminum finished impeccably. Pity, though, if you're stuck in the rear seat.
The 2009 Audi A5 gives its Germanic competitors a run for their money when it comes to interior design, comfort, and fit and finish.
The front seats are among the best of any coupe its size, with plenty of support and generous padding. Motor Trend says the "sport seats...embrace occupants [like] Dr. Heimlich." ConsumerGuide, however, feels it is "difficult to find a comfortable driving position" behind the wheel due to a high beltline and high windows. Edmunds notes the "seats offer all-day touring comfort and good support," though TheCarConnection.com observes that headroom is tight for adults who carry their height in the torso. The S-line brings leather/perforated Alcantara seats with an embossed S logo and silver stitching.
Let's be clear: This is not a family hauler. Rear seats are difficult to get into and too tight for adults, with scant legroom and very limiting headroom, a consequence of the coupe's shape. Edmunds reports that unless you're fairly short, you won't enjoy riding in the backseat—a fairly common problem with two-door sport coupes that (ostensibly) seat four passengers. Rear-seat room suffers—but quality, emphatically, does not.
This is a great car for singles or couples who ski. Due to the high beltline that swoops around the back of the 2008 Audi A5, trunk space is surprisingly ample; it's as large as that of most mid-size sedans. "The trunk offers 16.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity (large for a sedan, let alone a coupe)," Edmunds reports, "and the rear seat flips down to accommodate more, if need be." A ski bag is standard.
Audi's interiors are often aspired to but hardly matched, and their stellar reputation for interior quality follows suit in the 2009 A5 coupe. "Audi's interior designers," extols ForbesAutos, "must be descendants of fine watchmakers: They share an obsession for extreme precision and detail." Automobile Magazine says it's "virtually impossible not to be impressed by this cockpit." Similarly, Edmunds reports that "typically Audi, the A5's cabin impresses with finely stitched leather, impeccable fit and finish and real wood trim (aluminum with the S-line package)." Cars.com points out "the A5 has an extensive range of materials to choose from, including two-tone leather/Alcantara seats and aluminum, wood or piano-black dashboard trim." And in a market where many of its competitors offer real trim pieces, Audi differentiates the A5 with hologrammed inlays of wood or aluminum.
Road noise is slightly softer than that of the bigger-wheeled, stiffer-sprung S5. But many testers in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com like listening to the engine and exhaust notes, finding them pleasant.
2009 Audi A5
Based on its long list of standard safety features and crash-test information available for its sedan sibling, the 2009 Audi A5 should give excellent protection.
Neither NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) nor the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) has crash-tested the 2009 Audi A5. However, the new Audi A4 has a similar body structure and receives top ratings in crash tests from NHTSA and the IIHS. The Audi A5 also has a long list of standard safety gear: "Antilock brakes, stability and traction control," Edmunds reports. Kelley Blue Book notes, "All A5s are fitted with front, front-side, side-curtain and knee airbags."
Optional daytime running lights (in the Premium package) consist of a line of ultra-bright LEDs around the front headlamps and are sure to get you noticed. A couple of changes for 2009 add safety to the A5. One is what Audi calls "Side Assist," which is essentially a blind-spot monitoring and warning system. And the navigation system now comes with voice control. So there's a little less fiddling with the knob and buttons of the MMI while driving.
"Visibility is surprisingly good in all directions," notes ConsumerGuide, unless you're very short and the high beltline and short windows impede your view of immediate surroundings. But an optional rearview camera helps mitigate this somewhat (at least when reversing).
2009 Audi A5
There are plenty of plush, traditional features and technology options to please almost all shoppers.
The 2009 Audi A5 is for the most part well equipped, with an array of standard features, and Audi offers many options, but only in pricey packages.
Standard features of the Audi A5 include three-zone automatic climate control, an intelligent key system, and a 180-watt/ten-speaker sound system with six-disc CD changer, MP3 capability, and Sirius Satellite Radio. One "glaring omission" from this list, ConsumerGuide feels, is that the adjust for the tilting/telescoping steering wheel isn’t motorized. "The company's MMI (Multi Media Interface) multifunction controller works the audio, climate and (if equipped) navigation systems," Edmunds says. "Unlike its German rivals, however, Audi's controller is mostly intuitive and easy to use once you clear the still-steep learning curve." Cars.com finds it remains a hurdle for new owners: "Thanks to more than a dozen shortcut buttons surrounding the knob, it's easier to use than BMW's similar iDrive, but uninitiated drivers may find it confusing." A panoramic (tilt only) sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, and cruise control round out the standard options.
"Options are grouped into mainly three packages," says Kelley Blue Book, namely Premium, Technology, and Sport. Standout options on the 2009 Audi A5 include a 505-watt, 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, which ForbesAutos guarantees "will blow you away with clear mid-range and heart-pounding bass. Plus, the B&O speakers look classy and modern with aluminum surrounds." There's also a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a technology package that includes adaptive headlamps, a blind-spot warning system, rear parking sensors, and a keyless ignition system. Adaptive cruise control is now an option, and enthusiasts will want to go with the Drive Select package, which allows for suspension and steering adjustments.
Options can get pretty expensive. For example, if you want the Technology package's rear park assist with rearview camera, you also have to order the navigation system, according to Kelley Blue Book. If you order the auto transmission and want steering-wheel-mounted paddles shifters, you'll have to opt for the S-line package, which includes bigger wheels, stiffer suspension, special badges, and upholstery.