2008 Audi A5

2008 Audi A5

The Basics:

The 2008 Audi A5 is a mid-size coupe with mechanical underpinnings on loan from the A4 sedan. The S5 is covered separately.

The 2008 Audi S5 boasts performance like a BMW M3, styling like a Chevrolet Camaro, and a brilliant handling setup that's distinctly Audi--but only the well-heeled need to apply.

A 265-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 delivers its power with authority. We wouldn't call it especially responsive, but it feels refined on the road. It can push the A5 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. A 6-speed manual or automatic transmission is offered; the automatic and the engine are a good pairing, with the transmission kicking in decisive, quick shifts. All-wheel drive comes standard and puts more power to the back wheels in enthusiastic driving.

Inside, the 2008 Audi A5 suits up in luxurious, lavish style. Audi knows how to deliver a workplace filled with smart details and high-grade materials. The display screen for Audi's infotainment system dominates the instrument panel.

Tuned more for ride quality than aggressive handling capability, the 2008 Audi A5 isn't especially exciting to drive, but the steering responds with good feedback and responsiveness. The A5 is isolated and quiet, and feels secure on the highway. An S-Line option package brings stiffer suspension settings and promises to make the A5 sprightlier in the curves.

Front seats have generous padding and lots of support, but headroom is tight. The back seats are just too small to be comfortable for anyone of average height. Head room and leg room are very limited. Trunk space checks in above average, as large as that of most mid-size sedans.

Three-zone automatic climate control, an intelligent key system, and a 10-speaker sound system with SD memory card slot are among the standard features. Standout options include navigation, rear parking sensors, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

The 2008 Audi A5 has not yet been crash-tested. All A5s come with stability control and airbags.

The 2008 Audi A5 is a new mid-size coupe with some Audi A4 running gear under its skin. The S5 ups the power and style with more flamboyant add-ons and a big V-8 under the hood.

To look at the 2008 Audi A5, it's difficult to believe that it's considered entry level. Jalopnik says it's "simply smashing." Cars.com says it has "piercing, downward-slanting headlamps."

The 2008 Audi S5 boasts performance like a BMW M3, styling like a Chevrolet Camaro, and a brilliant handling setup that's distinctly Audi--but only the well-heeled need to apply.

Edmunds thinks it's "curvaceous yet muscular,” while Cars.com says it’s “instantly recognizable as an Audi," and Kelley Blue Book agrees that it's "elegant" inside and out.

Inside, the 2008 Audi A5 has a nicely detailed, even lavish dash decorated in high-quality trim. 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 interior is "more sporty than luxurious," according to ConsumerGuide, but Automobile thinks it's "functional and comfortable."

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.

The 2008 Audi A5 makes a sacrifice or two for its beautiful exterior styling. Back seat space is tight, but quality construction is plentiful. The A5's front seats are some of our favorites in this niche. Motor Trend says they "embrace occupants [like] Dr. Heimlich." Edmunds says they have "all-day touring comfort." ConsumerGuide found it tough to get "a comfortable driving position."

The A5's high beltline helps it deliver lots of trunk space, on the magnitude of some four-door sedans: "large for a sedan, let alone a coupe," Edmunds says.

Audi's reputation for interior quality follows suit in the A5 coupe. "The A5's cabin impresses," Edmunds notes. Cars.com admires its leather seats and aluminum, piano-black and wood trim. Automobile finds it almost "impossible not to be impressed" by the A5's interior.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested the 2008 Audi A5.

The 2008 Audi A5 comes with some high-tech, high-dollar options that range from amazing to annoying.

Automatic climate control, and a 10-speaker sound system with SD memory card slot are among the standard features. The tilting, telescoping steering wheel has no power assist, something Consumer Guide feels is a "glaring omission."

MMI controls "audio, climate and (if equipped) navigation systems," Edmunds says, but finds it has a "steep learning curve." Cars.com calls it "easier to use than BMW's similar iDrive," but still finds it confusing.

The best options on the A5 are the most expensive ones. A Bang & Olufsen audio system has 14 speakers, and ForbesAutos says it "will blow you away." Navigation is available, as are Bluetooth, adaptive headlamps, keyless ignition, and rear parking sensors. A sunroof is offered, but Motor Trend recommends that shorter people pass on this, as it only tilts--it doesn't roll back like that of BMW vehicles.

Buying Tips:

Not sure where to find the A5 convertible? For now, look to the A4; although it's better known as a sedan or wagon, the A4 family also includes a two-door convertible known as the A4 Cabriolet. A true A5 convertible is on the way, though.

Other Choices:

  • 2008 BMW 3-Series
  • 2008 INFINITI G37 Coupe
  • 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK Class

Reason Why:

Like the 3-Series, the 2008 Audi A5 has a very understated appearance, but while the A5's interior is more stylish and inviting, the 3-Series interior is a bit more conservative. The 3-Series has nimbler handling than the A5, and the base 328i accelerates almost as quickly as the A5's only engine, but the A5 has a roomier trunk than the 3-Series or other rivals. The Infiniti G37 Coupe has a firmer ride and sharper steering like that of the 3-Series, but it's not quite as comfortable as either coupe, and its interior can be noisy. The CLK has the most dated appearance of these three, in a fickle area of the market where buyers must typically be seen in what's new and fresh.

The Bottom Line:

Understated on the outside, gorgeous on the inside, the 2008 Audi A5 has a stylish presence and grand-touring comfort.

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