- Beautiful exterior
- Lower price for A5 Sportback
- Good interior tech
- Wide performance range
- Cramped coupe and convertible
- Gets pricey in a hurry
- Some colors are a downer
- It’s not free and…
- …it’s not in our driveway
features & specs
Spin the bottle, hit the 2021 Audi A5 convertible, coupe, or hatchback, and you’re a winner. They’re all good-looking.
The 2021 Audi A5 criminally undersells itself by sharing a name with a size for printer paper.
The A5 is a coupe, convertible, or five-door hatchback that looks great. It’s a blank canvas for personality and performance, which is the only thing the A5 has in common with plain paper.
This year, it gets a mild power upgrade for models equipped with a turbo-4, and the A5 Sportback (the hatchback, in Audi-speak) is more affordable with a lower-priced version.
The A5 range gets a 7.0 TCC Rating that steers toward the A5 Sportback, which is more popular with buyers. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Like last year, the A5 is available in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels. The A5 Sportback 40 TFSI is the most affordable and costs $42,795 to start, including destination. The 40 TFSI is a lower-power turbo-4, compared to the rest of the lineup. The punchier A5 45 TFSI is available in all three body styles; the coupe and hatchback cost the same, and the convertible costs $6,400 more. The S5 is hotter and quicker than the A5 and is offered in all three body styles for more than $53,000 to start. Scorching RS5s are on the way, but we haven’t yet heard about those.
The A5 is related to the A4 but drapes slinkier lines around the same mechanics. The A5 Sportback is the looker of the bunch, but there’s hardly a bad angle to be found.
The A5 Sportback 40 TFSI is powered by a 201-horsepower turbo-4 that is new this year. The A5 45 TFSI uses an uprated 261-hp turbo-4 with a little more power than last year’s version, and it adds mild-hybrid tech that could reduce fuel consumption at lower speeds.
At high speeds, the 349-hp S5 is a joy. OK, OK, we suppose normal speeds are fun, too.
The A5 Sportback fits up to five, with about 22 cubic feet of cargo space under the hatch, which rivals some SUVs. The coupe and convertible only have seatbelts for four, but you’ll want to take fewer than that: the space in the rear is tight and cargo space is even tighter.
The A5’s crash-test scores are good, and every model comes equipped with automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitors are equipped on more trim levels this year, and they’re needed, especially for the Sportback’s sloping roofline and the coupe’s chunky rear roof pilars. Audi also has added advanced driver-assist features that can help keep the car centered in its lane on long commutes on Premium Plus and Prestige models.
Every A5 gets leather upholstery, a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (Apple’s system can run wirelessly, too), 18-inch wheels, power-adjustable front seats, and a moonroof—unless it’s a convertible then, well, you know.
Spend up features include more power and handling hardware, bigger wheels, a digital instrument display, and exterior accents.
2021 Audi A5
Every 2021 Audi A5 is a looker.
The 2021 Audi A5 isn’t the biggest car in the automaker’s lineup but it’s the one with more variation in its shape than any other.
The A5 is available as a coupe, convertible, or five-door hatchback, which Audi calls a Sportback. Each is unique and stylistically interesting. The A5 Sportback is more popular and is how we arrive at a 7. The shape outside is better than good, it’s great. The interior is fine, but it’d be hard to live up to the exterior.
This year’s A5 is identical to the year before it. That’s good.
The Sportback takes the automaker’s recipe from the A7 Sportback and photocopies it at 75%. The five-door hatchback has a racy roofline and sharp LEDs that frame its large grille. A5 coupes and convertibles are clearly in the family, but the Sportback is our favorite child.
Venturing beyond the German rainbow of silvers, blacks, and shades of white rewards A5 shoppers. Make ours Navarra Blue. Beyond the black leather, Audi has a menu of warm tones that help transform the cabin.
2021 Audi A5
The 2021 A5 has the hardware to complement its good looks.
Audi’s powertrain lineup for the A5 spans a wide range. This year, a smaller turbo-4 is available for budget shoppers (relatively speaking) seeking the swoopy looks, but without a mega price attached.
Our 7 rating here applies to the uprated 45 TFSI, which is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that’s found among all three body styles: hatchback, coupe, and convertible. It’s rated at 261 hp (up 13 hp over last year) and is paired with a 7-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. That’s potent enough to push the A5 up to 60 mph from a standstill in six seconds or less, which is a point above average for us. The A5 gets another point for competent handling.
The A5 Sportback offers a less-potent turbo-4 that makes 201 hp and is new for this year. The 40 TFSI is also paired to a 7-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, although we haven’t yet driven that version. We’ll report back once we do.
All three body styles offer a hot S5 powertrain that matches a 349-hp turbo V-6 with an 8-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive that nets grin-inducing 0-60-mph runs in less than five seconds.
All of the above ride on a four-wheel independent suspension and A5s can be equipped with a lower, stiffer sport suspension that’s optional on some trims.
The S5 uses that sport setup as standard hardware and can complement it with adaptive dampers, variable-ratio steering, and a limited-slip differential at the rear, which all cost extra.
Thankfully, sharp steering is included on all cars. Every A5 steers precisely and quickly, although the variable steering rack can catch some of us off-guard; the steering speeds up significantly around corners and takes a while to get used to.
All A5s ride comfortably on their standard 18-inchers, and even taller 19-inchers don’t spoil the ride.
Hot RS5 coupes and Sportbacks are in the works for 2021, but Audi hasn’t yet detailed those cars. We’ll report back once we know more.
2021 Audi A5
Comfort & Quality
Who says pretty and practical are mutually exclusive?
Two doors or five? (Including the hatch, that is.) One roof or none? There are several ways to configure an A5, all of which affect our comfort rating here.
Our 8 score applies to five-door hatchbacks, which are more popular with buyers. If rated separately, the A5 coupe and convertible would score lower. The Sportback’s more comfortable for a crowd; the coupe and convertible are more adept at escaping the crowd.
The A5 Sportback seats up to five, but it’s better suited for two if broad shoulders are involved. Rear-seat passengers get more than 35 inches of leg room, by the book. That’s underselling the space, according to us.
Behind the rear row is 22 cubic feet of cargo space, which is large for a low-slung sedan.
Even though the coupe and convertible don’t promise to seat any more than four, the rear confines won’t be comfortable for adults. The coupe and convertible are more than 4 inches shorter than the Sportback, with 2.3 fewer inches between the wheels. That translates to a smaller rear seat with about 33 inches of leg room for the rear passengers. The coupe and convertible have a smaller trunk too; the coupe holds 10.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which shrinks to 9.3 cubic feet in the convertible.
The good news for all three? Every A5 gets sublime interior materials, including leather upholstery and quality finishes.
2021 Audi A5
The A5 has admirable crash-test scores.
The 2021 A5 gets exemplary crash-test scores and offers a bevy of standard and optional safety equipment. It’s an 8 for safety.
Federal testers gave the A5 Sportback a five-star overall score but gave the hatchback a four-star rating for front crash protection. The feds haven’t tested a coupe or convertible.
The IIHS has tested two-door models and gave them top “Good” scores for crashworthiness. A5 Sportback models rated identically. The IIHS also rated the A5’s standard automatic emergency braking systems as “Superior” at avoiding forward crashes with other cars and pedestrians. The agency hasn’t yet tested the A5’s headlights.
Every A5 is equipped with standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and a suite of driver-assistance features that can help reduce fatigue on long hauls are available.
Audi’s assistant for traffic jams is especially good and helps keep the car centered in its lane in slow-moving traffic.
2021 Audi A5
An updated infotainment system is the icing on the 2021 A5’s cake.
The good news for the 2021 Audi A5 is that base models are less expensive than last year, and just as well equipped.
The A5 gets a 7 out of 10 for features thanks to its standard equipment, including a good touchscreen.
Like last year, the A5 and S5 coupe, convertible, and Sportback are available in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels. The A5 Sportback 40 TSFI is the most affordable model and costs $42,795 to start. That’s $900 less than last year’s base Sportback, but they’re also equipped with a less powerful engine. Coupes and convertibles aren’t available with the smaller turbo-4 and start at $44,995 and $51,395, respectively. Hotter S5s start at $53,495 and reach upward toward $70,000.
Premium versions of the A5 are equipped with leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a moonroof (or no roof for convertible versions), a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment including Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility. It’s where we’d spend our money.
Premium Plus models add a digital instrument cluster, uprated headlights, and newly standard adaptive cruise control and driver-assistance features. For $4,900 more on A5 models ($3,600 on S5 models), those are worthwhile features that we’d consider, although the added cost is a little steep.
Prestige versions go all-in with premium audio, a head-up display, and heated rear seats for about $5,000 more, on average. An appearance package is available on Prestige and Premium Plus models that adds bigger wheels and blacked-out exterior elements.
The 10.1-inch touchscreen has been updated for 2021 A5 models with a faster processor, more features, and it can add options such as navigation later on, even if the car left the factory without them.
2021 Audi A5
Most A5s are relatively fuel-efficient.
Most versions of the 2021 Audi A5 will manage 30 mpg or better on the highway. That’s a 5 on our fuel-economy scale.
The EPA hasn’t yet rated the A5 40 TFSI versions yet, but we don’t expect them to stray far from the rest of the lineup.
With a fixed roof, the A5 coupe and A5 Sportback rates 24/32/27 mpg, according to the EPA. Opting for the droptop shaves 1 mpg from each of those figures.
Hotter S5s rate 20/27/22 mpg for the coupe and Sportback; convertibles lose 1 mpg from each.
The RS 5 coupe and Sportback are due for an update this year but likely won’t fall far from their 18/27/21 mpg and 17/26/20 mpg ratings.