- Stylish inside and out
- Practical for a coupe
- Strong selection of engines
Not so great
- Not as fun as a BMW 4 Series
- New infotainment is a fiddle to use
- Top-end models are expensive
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Overall verdict on the Audi A5
"The Audi A5 is a bit like being a contestant on Bear Grylls' survival TV show The Island - like being trapped on a tropical paradise for weeks on end, the Audi looks like a lot of fun but is actually pretty boring."
Don't close your browser in disgust just yet, though, because there is a lot the Audi does very well if you're not too fussed about haring around corners like you're on your own personal rollercoaster.
First things first, this is an Audi so naturally its interior is excellent. Inside, it feels like the dashboard has been chiselled from a solid lump of rock and then draped with pretty trim pieces. It feels solid. All models come with a leather interior – top-end versions get softer Nappa leather – and the interior is lit by LEDs that give a bright white light that shows up the yellow tinge you get from the filament bulbs fitted in cheaper coupes.
The infotainment is pretty good, too. You get a large centre screen with crystal clear graphics and Audi's Virtual Cockpit behind the steering wheel – a multi-function digital instrument binnacle which is still the best you'll find in any car.
Interior space is also amongst the best you'll find in a coupe this size. The A5 has loads of room up front for tall adults and a couple of tall adults will just about squeeze in the back, if they negotiate a bit of extra legroom from the people sitting ahead of them. Factor in a boot that's big and square and, in terms of practicality, you couldn't ask for much more from a coupe this size.
The problem, if you can call it that, comes when you get behind the wheel because the A5 can't stir your soul in the same way a BMW 4 Series can – arguably something all sporty coupes should be capable of. The A5 grips hard and doesn't lean in corners but if you're searching for the final granules of engagement, you won't find them. This is more of a fast cruiser than a fun machine.
For this reason, you're better of sticking to the standard range – the powerful S5 is quick but ultimately as unrewarding as the rest – the current batch of 2.0-litre petrol TFSIs come in 35, 40 and 45 power guises producing 150, 204 and 265PS, respectively, so all bar the basic model are usefully quick. You also get a choice of two 2.0-litre diesels – with163PS (35 TDI) and 204PS (40 TDI) – which give the A5 more heart for mid-speed overtakes on the motorway.
And it's here where the A5 is at its best. Its cabin is quiet and comfortable and the optional Quattro four-wheel drive makes it a reassuringly stable way to cover ground quickly. With it fitted, you don't have to worry so much that the steering is giving you little to no feedback.
A manual gearbox is something enthusiasts love to bang on about, so the Audi loses points because it's only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. In reality though, it changes gear quickly and makes the Audi an easy car to drive in town, all models also come with a reversing camera with a crystal clear display.
This sort of attention to detail makes the A5 an excellent all-rounder so while it can't put a smile on your face like a proper sporty coupe should, on a cold winter's night when you just want to get home quickly and safely, you'll not regret choosing the sensible option.
Comfort and design: Audi A5 interior
"The Audi A5 has loads of adjustment on the driver's seat and a intuitive design which makes it an easy car to get on with straight away."
The driving position is first rate. The steering wheel and the driver's seat have what seems like infinite movement and all models come with heated front seats. Another A5 trick is its tri-zone climate control, which means you, your front seat passenger and your kids in the back can set your own temperature.
Sport models get body-hugging sports seats, while S line cars get the same seats but embossed with 'S line' on their backrests. Edition 1 cars add electrically adjustable front seats in softer Nappa leather.
Handling and ride quality: What is the Audi A5 like to drive?
"The Audi A5 is safe and secure on the road but if you want a practical coupe that's truly enjoyable to drive, you'll be much better served by the BMW 4 Series coupe."
The Audi A5 drives like a sportier A4 saloon, though it is far from the sportiest driving car amongst its peers.
It means that the coupe grips well and goes where you point it, but doesn't involve you in the process of driving like a BMW 4 Series can. Audi's trump card of offering four-wheel drive isn't what it used to be either, as BMW now offers its 4 Series range with xDrive four-wheel drive which feels more dynamic than the Audi system.
Where the A5 feels at its best is on the motorway where it is soothing car to drive, especially if you choose a Sport model which has the softer suspension and smaller wheels.
Pull off the motorway and into the city and the A5 won't transform itself into a cumbersome beast. Its steering lightens up at slower speeds and its precision makes the Audi easy to manoeuvre, you also getting parking sensors and a high-def rear camera which makes it easy to squeeze the car into tight spaces.
MPG and fuel costs: What does an Audi A5 cost to run?
"The Audi A5 might be a flash coupe but it doesn't have to come with flash coupe running costs."
That's most true of the 163PS 35 diesel that, despite offering strong performance, will easily return more than 50mpg in a mixture of driving, while you can expect the 35, 40 and 45 petrols to get around 40mpg. That means you'll get up to 700 miles out of the A5's 63-litre fuel tank.
How much should you be paying for a used Audi A5?
"Prices for the Audi A5 kick off from around £13,000 for a 2.0-litre diesel with around 80,000 miles on the clock and rise to more than £55,000 for a powerful S5 model with a delivery mileage."
If you're looking for a happy medium, £23,000 is safe budget to start with. That's enough to get you a 35 TFSI petrol with spritely performance and a little over 10,000 miles on the clock and in sporty looking S line trim. Do lots of motorway miles? Then you'll be better off with the 35TDI diesel that'll cost you about the same. If you want the added security of Quattro four-wheel drive, you can expect to pay a premium of around £1000.
The S5 comes with four-wheel drive as standard, as well as a turbocharged V6 petrol engine kicking out 354PS, which was swapped for a 347PS V6 diesel when the car was facelifted in 2019. Less than £35,000 buys you an S5 petrol with under 20,000 miles on the clock and, in many ways, it's the more desirable option thanks to its fruity noise and high-revving nature. That's also about £10,000 less than you'll pay for a later diesel model in similar condition.
Is the Audi A5 right for you?
The Audi A5 will be right for you if you want a car that is stylish to look at, but also practical and easy to live with everyday. Some models are very quick, but the Audi is safe and predictable to drive where a BMW 4 Series is fun.
What's the best Audi A5 model/engine to choose?
Choose your Audi A5 in S line trim and you get sportier looks than in a basic model without having to fork out serious dollar on one of the the top-of-the-range models. Similarly, the 204PS petrol engine is plenty quick but is one of the cheaper models to buy and run.
What other cars are similar to the Audi A5?
The Audi A5's most obvious rivals are the sporty BMW 4 Series and luxurious Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, but you might also consider the Lexus RC – which is available and a petrol-electric hybrid – or more focussed coupes like the Lotus Evora. If you're looking at performance version, you could also consider the Ford Mustang as a rival.
Quality and finish
Even if you go for the entry level Audi A5 Sport you'll know you've purchased a quality item. Interior quality is excellent, not just in the places you look, but also in the places you don't and even at the bottom end of the range, a full leather interior comes as standard and you can choose from dark and light colour finishes.
S line models welcome you with lit-up 'S' kickplates on the bottom of the door openings, get a mixture of leather and Alcantara upholstery and shiny metal pedals, while Edition 1 cars have electrically adjustable seats and Nappa leather. Top-of-the-range, Vorsprung models get a panoramic glass roof and multi-colour selectable mood lighting.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Audi A5
The Audi A5 comes fitted as standard with the company's Virtual Cockpit, a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle which is responsible for much of the A5's interior wow factor. Audi pioneered this technology in the 2014 TT and, although it's been copied by almost everyone since, its system is still the best – putting info like speed and fuel economy exactly where you need it. Its party piece is its ability to punch up a huge Google Maps display that makes it a pleasure – and very easy – to follow the sat-nav's directions.
What's less of a 'win' is the new infotainment system that was brought in when the car was facelifted in 2019. At 10.1 inches in size, it's colourful and clear but the touchscreen interface isn't as easy to use as the toggle/scroll wheel that was fitted to the old A5. However, it does come with a three-year subscription to Audi's connected services so it can route around congestion and give you live fuel prices, as well as letting you connect to the car remotely via an app to do things like check its location.
The standard stereo is also solid, an eight-speaker system it has decent power and clarity, although you can upgrade to a Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System with 19 speakers – including a subwoofer and a centre speaker – and a thumping 755W output. It makes most sense as part of the £1395 Comfort and Sound Pack, which bundles together the fancy stereo, plus keyless entry, handsfree boot opening, a 360-degree camera and LED interior ambient lighting with selectable colours.
Space and practicality: Audi A5 boot space
The Audi A5 may officially be a coupe, but it's based on the A4 saloon so it feels – and really is – more like a two-door saloon.
That's good news for practicality because it means the A5 is not a coupe you have to crawl in and out of like you do in some sportier options and there's not shortage of space for two bulky adults in the front.
Jump in the back and tall passengers will need concessions to be made in the front to get comfortable and, even then, they'll feel pretty hemmed in on longer journeys. A BMW 4 Series has a tad more kneeroom, but the Audi wins on headroom.
It also has a very practical boot for a car this type. It has a 450-litre capacity and a square shape that makes it easy to use every every last drop, plus the rear seats also split 40:20:40 so you can carry longer loads while still having room for back seat passengers and the seats fold almost completely flat.
Smaller storage spaces are also in abundance. The Audi's door pockets are massive and you get smaller storage cubbies in the back, a large glovebox and an array of other dookets and cup holders so everything has somewhere to live.
What engines and gearboxes are available in the Audi A5?
The Audi A5 is available with a choice of three petrol engines and two diesels, all of which come in combination with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox that shifts smoothly but can be a little slow on the uptake when you want a sharp burst of acceleration.
The petrol models are all 2.0-litre four-cylinders with 150PS (35 TFSI), 204PS (40 TFSI) and 265PS (45 TFSI). Even the 150PS model gets from 0-62mph in under nine seconds, while the 265PS version does it in just 5.5 seconds. The best all rounder is the 204PS model which does 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds and feels perfectly pacy as a result.
Like the petrols, the 163PS (35 TDI) and 204PS (40 TDI) diesels both have 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines and their meaty mid-range means they feel more powerful than the petrols when, say, you go for a motorway overtake. That's despite them being slower on paper – the 35 gets from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds while the 40 does it in 6.9 seconds.
Refinement and noise levels
When the Audi A5 went on sale in 2016 Audi said it was just as quiet as the flagship A8. That A8 has since been replaced with a newer model, but the A5 is still very quiet on the motorway thanks to its standard acoustic windscreen which cuts out wind whistle. For the ultimate quiet cabin, look out for cars with the optional acoustic side windows fitted. If anything, road noise will be slightly worse than before because all models now come with wheels at least 18-inches in diameter, which generate a little bit more road noise than the A5 models fitted with 17-inch wheels when the car was launched.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Audi A5?
The Audi A5 has never been tested for safety but Euro NCAP gave it a five-star rating based on the fact that it is mechanically identical to the A4 saloon that has been tested.
Standard equipment levels are decent and include six airbags, automatic emergency brakes, a bonnet that pops up to protect pedestrians in an impact and a system that'll call the emergency services if the car is involved in an accident.
Vorsprung models come as standard with the Driver Assistance Tour Pack (a £2700 option on the rest of the range) which means the car can accelerate, brake and steer itself on the free-flowing motorway or in heavy traffic. It's a worthwhile option if you do lots of long, boring drives.
Insurance groups and costs
The Audi A5's insurance ranges from Group 26 (for a 190PS diesel in SE trim) to Group 40 for the powerful S5 model. In real terms that means a 40-year-old adult will pay a premium of around £700-900 depending on model, while a 30-year-old can expect to pay more than £1000.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on an Audi A5?
The Audi A5 models to choose if you want to avoid a hefty tax bill are the 35 diesel or 40 petrol models in Sport trim. The former pays a hefty £540 first-year payment while the latter will cost you £215 in year one, with them both dropping to £150 a year for the next five years after that. The rest of the range bursts through the £40,000 premium car threshold so you'll be paying £475 every year for five years after the initial payment of between £215 and £540.
Trim levels and standard equipment
The Audi A5 is available in four trim levels – Sport, S line, Edition 1 or Vorsprung.
Sport models get 18-inch alloy wheels as well as matt aluminium highlights on the outside, while inside they get heated front seats with lumbar adjustment, LED cabin lighting, keyless go and cruise control.
S line cars get sporty looks courtesy of their 18-inch wheels, body kit and matrix LED headlights which can match their beam to the shape of the road, while inside they get a leather and Alcantara interior.
Edition 1 models look even sportier thanks to their huge 20-inch steamroller alloy wheels, they also come with laser matrix LED headlights which are more powerful than the versions fitted to S line models. Inside, they get electrically adjustable Nappa leather seats and piano black interior inlays.
Vorsprung models get lots of kit fitted as standard. They look identical to Edition 1 models, aside from their star-design wheels, but inside they get kit like a full length glass roof, Bang & Olufsen stereo and ambient lighting.
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
What is the Audi A5?
First introduced in 2007, the A5 is a more stylish, higher spec version of the A4 saloon that comes in more body styles and costs a little more, but shares its engines and technology.
Is the Audi A5 a good car?
The A5 has a superb high-quality interior, it’s a refined cruiser, and features a wide range of engines to suit all tastes (and budgets), but it’s not the most exciting or sporty coupe to drive.
Are all Audi A5s four-wheel drive?
No. The two entry-level petrol and diesel versions are both front-wheel drive, but the more powerful models come fitted with quattro four-wheel drive as standard, as do the faster S5 and RS5.
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