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First Drive: 2012 Audi A5. Image by Audi.

First Drive: 2012 Audi A5
The Audi A5 line-up has a fresh face and new engines. It's more than a mere facelift but hardly a revolution.

   



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| First Drive | Jerez, Spain | 2012 Audi A5 |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

After four successful years, Audi has decided to revamp the A5 with a restyle and new engines. The Coupé, Cabriolet and the Sportback have all gone under the knife and they're all cleaner and more economical. They also look a lot more like the rest of Audi's present range.

Key Facts

Pricing: £25,540 - £45,895
Engine: 1.8-, 2.0- and 3.0-litre TFSI petrols, 2.0- and 3.0-litre TDI turbodiesels
Transmission: six-speed manual, seven-speed automatic, Multitronic CVT, front-wheel drive or quattro four-wheel drive
Body style: three-door coupé, two-door convertible, five-door Sportback
Rivals: Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW 3 Series Coupé/Convertible, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé
CO2 emissions: 122- to 190g/km
Combined economy: 34.0- to 60.1mpg
Top speed: 134- to 155mph
0-62mph: 4.9- to 8.4 seconds
Power: 168bhp at 3,800 - 6,200rpm (1.8 TFSI) to 328bhp at 5,500 - 7,000rpm (S5)
Torque: 236lb.ft at 1,400 - 3,700rpm (1.8 TFSI) to 325lb.ft at 2,900 - 5,300rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

The Audi A5's exterior hasn't exactly received a radical overhaul. Changes are restricted to a facelift, encompassing the bumper, grille, bonnet and the headlamps. They've been tweaked to bring the A5 into line with the rest of Audi's range, but it's still similar in profile to the outgoing model. The tail lamps have been restyled, too, and S Line versions get swish LED daytime running lights.

It's much the same inside. Audi claims to have significantly improved quality but you have to squint to see the differences. They consist of small touches like gloss black trim, a joystick control on the volume button, a new gear lever for automatics and similar trivialities.

Driving it: 3 3 3 3 3

This A5 has a new, more economical, electromechanical power steering system, said to improve feedback. It's light and accurate enough, but far from engaging, especially on quattro models with larger engines. Standard A5s are not uncomfortable but the ride isn't quite as polished as it is on, say, an Audi A6. Bigger wheels and a sportier suspension set-up increase the vibrations on rough surfaces, while the Cabriolet suffers from more than its fair share of shudder.

The big, 3.0-litre V6 diesels (201- and 242bhp) are silky smooth and exceptionally refined, and while the 2.0-litre 175bhp TDI unit makes more of a racket, it's up to the job and worth it for the economy benefits alone. Equally, there's nothing wrong with the 1.8- and 2.0-litre TFSI units (168- and 207bhp) - they're punchy, clean and competent enough to make a case for themselves - far more so than the powerful but heavier, thirstier and less involving 3.0-litre V6 petrols.

In fact, basic models like the 2.0 TDI and 1.8 TFSI suit the A5 far better. Front-wheel drive variants with manual transmissions and smaller, lighter engines result in more nimble handling than those fitted with weighty 3.0-litre V6s.

The performance flagship S5 no longer has a 4.2-litre V8 - it's been 'demoted' to a 3.0-litre 328bhp V6 TFSI in the interests of economy. Tuneful and exceptionally quick, it has its appeal, but a rear-wheel drive rival with an M badge will always be more fun.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

You'll pay a smidgen over £25,000 for a 1.8 TFSI Sportback, which seems pretty reasonable. You can part with the thick end of £50,000 for a well specified S5 Cabriolet, though, so there's plenty of scope to burn cash. Economy gains are significant - the 2.0 TDI returns an impressive 60.1mpg and 122g/km and just about every other engine is cleaner and more economical than before. Audi has also dropped the Sport trim from the A5 Coupé to clarify the specification levels, so there's now only standard, SE and S Line.

Worth Noting

A previous criticism of the Audi A5 Sportback was its lack of a central rear seatbelt, rendering it a four-seater despite Audi's claims of greater practicality over the coupé and convertible (which were true in every other respect). This has been addressed, and the Sportback can now be ordered with an extra seatbelt in the back. You'll have to pay for it, though.

Summary

If you were a fan of the previous Audi A5 then you'll probably like this one. It may look a little different and lay claim to a number of improvements, but the reality is that it's pretty similar to the outgoing model. As is usual for a modern Audi, the A5 closely echoes other cars in the company's range and it isn't as exciting to drive as a BMW. It is exceptionally well built and classy to boot, though, and there's an engine and body style to suit almost everyone.


Jack Carfrae - 9 Sep 2011



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2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.



2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi A5 Coupé. Image by Audi.
 






 

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