Audi A5 Coupe (2016 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Adam Binnie on
Last Updated: 11 Jan 2017
4.6
The original Audi A5 Coupe has gone down as something of a style icon among fans of the brand, but its subtle looks were at times hard to distinguish from the four-door A4, particularly in Sportback form. You can’t say the same for the more brutish new model though.

4.7 out of 5

Performance

From launch there will be five standard engines – three diesel and two petrol - plus an S5 specific unit, with up to 22 percent more power and 17 percent better efficiency.

Petrol engines

The two choices here revolve around a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit, with either 190hp or 252hp – the latter available with Quattro all-wheel drive.

With 320Nm of torque available, the lower-power output version hits 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, while the more potent engine has 370Nm of torque and cracks the benchmark sprint in 5.8 seconds.

The 252hp unit has a meaty soundtrack in Dynamic mode but sounds a bit ordinary in day-to-day driving. It’s quick but doesn’t feel as flexible as its diesel counterparts, all of which have more torque available.

Diesel engines

From the base 2.0-litre TDI to the pair of 3.0-litre V6 units, the diesel line-up really suits the character of the A5 with strong in-gear acceleration.

There’s no 150hp version of the entry 2.0-litre TDI like you get in the A4, but there is the 190hp version that we prefer anyway. This makes relaxed progress with 400Nm of torque and a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds - a tenth faster than its similarly powerful petrol equivalent.

Topping the TDI diesel range is a 3.0-litre V6 with two power outputs, either 218hp or 286hp. The first matches the 2.0-litre’s torque with 400Nm, while the latter packs an earth-moving 620Nm. There are currently no performance figures for either but in the A4 they clock in at 6.3 and 5.3 seconds from 0-62mph.

The latter feels very fast indeed, pushing you into the back of your seat with stout acceleration, while all the time humming away quietly under the bonnet.

Audi S5 Coupe

The fastest standard version is the S5, which is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine. This produces 354hp and 500Nm of torque, good for a 0-62mph time of just 4.7 seconds, two tenths quicker than the outgoing model.

Power is very spontaneous, especially at higher revs where any movement of your right foot is met by a jerking motion forwards or backwards. It’s easier to drive more smoothly with the gearbox left in its normal D mode than the more responsive S setting.

Sadly the same quick reactions are not mirrored by the eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is a bit ponderous compared with the seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box. It’s better when you commandeer the paddles behind the wheel and manage the gearshifts yourself but still not as razor sharp as we’d like in a performance car.

You also get Quattro all-wheel drive and a racy soundtrack that makes itself heard in the cabin even at relatively low speeds. Luckily it’s a good-sounding thing with a nice warble at low revs building to a high-pitched bellow at the redline.

Gearboxes

There’s a redesigned six-speed manual and two automatic gearboxes depending on engine. The first is a seven-speed dual-clutch S Tronic automatic, available this time around with two-wheel drive cars (standard on all but the top diesel and S5) and the eight-speed traditional Tiptronic auto. The latter is used on the more powerful 3.0-litre V6 diesel and the S5’s 3.0-litre V6 petrol.

4.3 out of 5

Handling

Unsurprisingly this new Audi A5 Coupe shares similar handling to the A4 on which it is based – that is to say it is a marked improvement on the old version.

While the previous generation’s steering was numb, this new car features much more feedback and a well-weighted, linear action. It feels more tied down too, useful when combined with the huge cornering traction enabled by sticky Quattro all-wheel drive.

You can set things up exactly how you want them with the Audi Drive Select system, taking in five modes called Comfort, Auto, Efficiency, Dynamic and Individual.

Adaptive dampers like those on our test car gave a good balance of performance and comfort too, with a cosseting ride over broken tarmac and a firmer setting for fast cornering.

It still feels more like an A4 than we’d like though; given its coupe designation it would be more satisfying if the handling reflected this with a more sporting nature.