AUDI buyers are typically a stylish lot, and the design triumph A5 Coupe has for nearly ten years been their go-to model for sporting good looks and reasonable practicality.
The second generation A5 and S5 Coupes have arrived as sleeker alternatives to the excellent A4 sedans.
The four-model range is flush with the latest infotainment and safety assistance features, improved economy and performance from the new petrol and diesel engine line-up, and an enhancement rather than reworking of the much-loved sports coupe body design.
That final point is key. Audi recognises its well-heeled A5 buyers have an affinity for design and list the coupe's beauty as the main reason for purchase. Not messing with a good thing, the designers have "enhanced all of the A5's strong points," says Audi Australia product planner Peter Strudwicke, rather than revolutionise things.
This evolution sees a wider and flatter "Singleframe" front grille, a central power dome for the bonnet and sharper "Tornado Line" stretching the length of the two-door's side helping emphasise the wheel arches to offer a more muscular flared look.
Little touches - which can make all the difference to the style conscious - include a skinny brake light running the width of the rear window.
BMW's 4 Series and Merc's C-Class Coupe are the A5 Coupe's key German rivals, and Audi's offering stern opposition here with its value-boosting standard inclusions, class leading cabins and a can't-pick-a-bad-one engine range.
Entry to the A5 Coupe club begins at $69,900 for the front-wheel-drive 140kW 2.0 TFSI petrol; a 140kW AWD quattro diesel lands at $73,900; while a hotter 185kW 2.0 TFSI quattro - the sweet spot in the line-up and expected best seller - is $81,500.
Performance range-topper (until the ballistic new RS5 arrives late this year) is the 260kW 3.0-litre turbo V6 petrol S5 quattro at $105,800; down some $17k than previous to meet the market (namely, Mercedes-AMG's C43 Coupe).
Prices range-wide are more competitive and Audi claims there's up to $26,000 additional value in the new cars. Key standard spec for all A5 Coupes include safety such as autonomous emergency braking (up to 85kmh), side assist, rear cross traffic alert, rear camera and "exit warning" to stop you opening your door on cyclists.
Also included is Audi's excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3" screen behind your steering wheel showing a high res navigation map, navigation arrows, media and phone menu and even conventional odometer readings. There are 18-inch alloys, LED front and rear lights, in-car Wi-Fi, smartphone interface, tri-zone climate and leather appointed seats all from entry-level. Generous enough for the price.
The new cars are lighter by up to 40kg (60kg the S5 Coupe) helped by an all-new trimmed down suspension system, there's slightly more space for the two rear passengers - legroom is fine but headroom is still tight - while Audi's claiming best in segment boot size at 465-litres, best cabin noise reduction plus most economical petrol and all-wheel-drive diesel against its rivals.
ON THE ROAD
Audi has long ruled the premium cabin roost in terms of style, finish and functionality, and the A5's is a user-friendly beauty.
A continuous ventilation strip runs across the dash, Audi's MMI infotainment system is accessed through a high-res 8.3" screen and it's simple to scroll through menus on a rotary dial. Quality touches abound, not least with buttons responding to just a tap of the finger.
Driver and passenger score electric seats including 4-way electric lumbar, so a comfy driving position is easy to find.
You'll find no disappointment from any of the engines. The four-cylinder diesel offers superb torque and economy, and would be the pick over the only slightly cheaper 140kW petrol, it having front wheel drive rather than the diesel's sure-footed quattro all-paw.
So good is the diesel, and its easy-going S tronic seven-speed auto gearbox (only the S5 gets an 8-speed tiptronic), that it would satisfy most S5 Coupe buyers. The joy of a revvier petrol can't be forgotten however, and the 185kW 2.0 TFSI quattro offers true sporting intent.
Hitting 100kmh in 5.8-seconds is performance aplenty, plus you score sportier 19" wheels, flat-bottomed steering wheel and colour ambient lighting.
The S5 may be an extra $24,000 but looks better value than ever. Gone is the supercharged 245kW V6 to be replaced by a 260kW turbo V6, and at 4.7-seconds to 100kmh it's as fast as the previous generation Audi RS4 Avant.
Bigger brakes, more safety gear, Nappa leather and genuine carbon fibre cabin inlays add to the value proposition.
Adaptive suspension comes standard range-wide, meaning you can adjust ride for comfort or more focused dynamics depending on your route and mood. All A5 Coupes show excellent balance and grip, and even a bit of playful lean in the turns, but the steering, while proving quite precise, is a bit void of feedback.
It's perhaps a bit too light and easy, especially when compared to its more involving BMW 4 Series rival.
Same applies to the S5's steering, robbing it of being a genuine fun steer, but its drive is still the sporting thrill in the range. Our test S5 had an optional sport differential ($2950) making it even pointier in the turns, but more of that turbo V6's sound in the cabin would be good.
The A5 Coupe has maintained its delicious style with this evolution, and now looks better value range wide with better standard inclusions and lower prices.
The drive is assured and wonderfully composed, but not really a sporting joy due to lack of steering feel. But it remains a well built, beautifully designed and competent GT car.
MODEL: Audi A5 / S5 Coupe.
PRICE: From $69,900 - $105,800.
WARRANTY: 3 years/unlimited km.
SERVICING: $1850 over 3 years.
SERVICE INTERVAL: 12 months/15,000km.
SAFETY: 5 stars, 6 airbags.
ENGINES: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo petrol, 140kW/320Nm (FWD) or 185kW/370Nm (quattro); 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 140kW/400Nm; 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol, 260kW/500Nm.
TRANSMISSIONS: 7-speed S tronic auto or 8-speed tiptronic auto (S5), FWD or AWD.
THIRST: 4.6l/100km - 7.5l/100km.
DIMENSIONS: 4673mm(L), 1846mm(W), 1371mm(H), 2764(WB).
WEIGHT: 1495kg - 1690kg.
Driving experience 16/20
Features and equipment 17/20
Functionality and comfort 19/20
Value for money 17/20
Style and design 19/20
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