Audi A5 review 2021

The A5 is Audi’s sleek coupe, which is loosely based on the firm’s A4 saloon

£22,262
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • High-quality cabin
  • Strong engines

Cons

  • Rivals are more fun to drive
  • Pricey in higher specs
  • Starting to show its age
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    98 - 108 g/km

Model review

Audi has never failed when it comes to making desirable cars, and arguably one of its most coveted (at least at the more mainstream end of the spectrum) is the A5. Introduced in 2007, it saw the German firm return to the compact coupe class after more than a decade absent. 

Based on the Audi A4, it brought that model’s refinement and comfort, but wrapped it up in a more stylish and desirable package. It certainly proved successful, with the German brand creating its own nameplate with the A5 – expanding to produce a more practical five-door ‘Sportback’ as well as the Cabriolet. Hotter S and RS models would also be introduced over the coming years, too. 

Audi would pull the wraps off a second-generation A5 in 2016, which arguably became even more upmarket and elegant. It received a range of new technology, including adaptive cruise control and predictive efficiency assistant, while also being available with Audi’s then-new Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster. A strong range of engines remained, while the new A5 was also lighter than its predecessor and continues to feature a comprehensive range of engine options. 

Latest model

Hot on the heels of the introduction of a revised Audi A4, an updated A5 would arrive in showrooms at the beginning of 2020. Even by modern standards, it was a rather subtle update. Some of the few design changes included a wider Singleframe grille, along with new slots between the bumper and bonnet – the latter being one of the easiest ways of telling the new car apart from its predecessor. 

Inside, it received a larger 10.1-inch infotainment system based on the brand’s latest operating system, while large digital dials would be offered across the full range. New mild-hybrid engine technology was also introduced, bringing electrification to the A5 for the first time. 

Value for money

Coupes always seem expensive next to the saloons they’re based on, as ultimately you pay for more style, but at the expense of practicality. That’s true with the Audi A5, too, which starts from a significant £38,575, even in ‘entry-level’ grades. That looks cheap, though, compared to the top-spec Vorsprung, which commands an eye-watering £54,300 starting price. On the plus side, all A5s get a huge amount of kit, including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting throughout and part leather seats. 

When it comes to used A5s, high-mileage early models start from as little as £3,500, though you’ll need to spend around £6,000 for a tidier low-mileage version. Second-generation models typically start from around £13,000, too, Where the best value seems to be, though, is on nearly-new models. We spotted a six-month-old example in S line trim with 5,000 miles on the clock for £29,000 – a huge £12,000 saving off the list price in only a matter of a few months. 

Looks and image

The A5 has never disappointed on the style front, and we reckon the latest generation looks classier than ever. With neat lines, a swoopy shape and full LED lighting, it oozes glamour and elegance – more so than the new BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class Coupe, we’d argue. There are also a range of trims to choose from, from the more subtle Sport versions through to the racier-looking S line versions and then the menacing-looking Edition 1 and Vorsprung versions. 

Though Audi has been criticised in recent years for its cars’ interiors lacking the quality of previous models, the same can’t be said for the A5. It really is a top-grade cabin, being well-appointed, easy to use and brimmed with the highest quality materials. At the same time it doesn’t scrimp on the technology front, either, thanks to a large digital dial system and big touchscreen being included. 

But what about behind the wheel? Well, despite the sporty styling, this is a model that majors on comfort and refinement more than anything. It certainly lacks the dynamic sparkle of the BMW 4 Series, though models equipped with the sports suspension setup do fare slightly better. There is, of course, the racier S5 and RS5 models available should you want something more aggressive. 

Space and practicality

While Audi might offer the roomier five-door A5 Sportback, here our focus is on the Coupe model. Unsurprisingly for a two-door car, this isn’t the most practical of choices, and if you regularly carry rear passengers, it’s well worth considering the Sportback version. 

That said, by class standards the A5 isn’t bad, with a decent amount of rear space once you’ve managed to clamber into the back – though it’s not an especially elegant task. The 450-litre boot is also a generous size, though it opens like a saloon, so does have quite a narrow opening. On the plus side, the rear seats split and fold 40/20/40, which makes it more useful if you need to carry a longer object every now and again. Front space is great, however, with plenty of room for even a taller driver to get comfortable. 

Engines

Audi offers a choice of three petrol engine options and two diesels, meaning there’s something to suit most. 

Beginning with the petrols, all are based on a turbocharged 2.0-lire TFSI unit and are combined with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. The range begins with the 35 TFSI – a 148bhp option, which feels a bit lacking in the A5, with a 0-60mph time of 8.7 seconds being underwhelming. The 40 TFSI takes the power up to 201bhp, while brings the 0-60mph down to 6.9 seconds. The 45 TFSI is the most powerful regular A5 available – producing 262bhp and enabling a sprint to 60mph in 5.3 seconds. It also uses Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. 

Moving on to diesel, buyers can pick between the 35 TDI and 40 TDI, with each using a 2.0-litre turbo diesel. The 35 TDI serves up 161bhp (and takes eight seconds to reach 60mph), while the 40 TDI packs 201bhp, and means the A5 can hit 60mph in 6.7 seconds. The latter is also all-wheel-drive. 

Running costs

If you’re looking to keep running costs down, it’s the diesels you want to go for – especially the 35 TDI, which can return almost 60mpg, which is really impressive, along with having CO2 emissions of 125g/km.

There’s a big disparity between the efficiency of the engines, though, with the most powerful petrol struggling to reach even 35mpg, while having CO2 emissions of 186g/km. 

Things to look out for

Given the Audi A5 shares much in common with other Audi models, there should be few concerns where reliability is concerned, though be sure to check all technology works as it should, as certain aspects – including the Matrix LED headlights – are known to be a bit glitchy. 

The A5 also isn’t a car that will take well to neglect, so if you’re buying a used example be sure to check it has been regularly serviced and maintained. 

Rivals 

In the premium compact coupe class, the Audi A5 has two main rivals – the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class Coupe. The Lexus ES and Infiniti Q60 could also be considered as left-field options, but you’re really better off sticking to a model from the German brands here. 


Depreciation

Despite its premium billing, the Audi A5 actually suffers a significant depreciation hit when new, with around £10,000 available off models less than a year old. That said, after that time, values begin to plateau, and if you’re looking to keep your car for some time, it likely won’t depreciate as much as its rivals. 

Which A5 to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

35 TFSI Sport 2dr S Tronic

Most MPG

35 TFSI Sport 2dr S Tronic

Fastest model (0-60)

S5 TDI 341 Quattro 5dr Tiptronic Sportback

Trims explained

Four trim levels are available on the Audi A5, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.

Sport

All A5s get a very generous amount of standard kit, including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, Audi Drive Select, part-leather upholstery and heated front seats with electric lumbar support. You also get three-zone climate control, LED interior lighting, an electric boot release, front and rear parking sensors and keyless entry. In terms of technology, the A5 benefits from a 10.1-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and enhanced connected services, as well as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

From £38,575

S line

Upgrading to the S line brings a sportier look thanks to its larger 19-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension and sports styling kit. You also get Matrix LED headlights, privacy glass and a perforated leather sports steering wheel.

From £41,400

Edition 1

Edition 1 versions gain a more mancing look thanks to their gloss black grille, window trim and door mirrors, while benefiting from Piano Black interior inlays, too. Elsewhere, they get laser light LED headlight technology, along with nappa leather upholstery and electric front seats.

From £44,650

Vorsprung

The Vorsprung is quite a significant step up in price, though it does gain all manner of extra features. It gets tweaked 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive sports suspension, heated rear seats, puddle lighting and a panoramic sunroof. Features such as a Bang & Olufsen sound system, extended leather pack and a head-up display are also included, along with a range of additional driver assistance tech – such as a 360-degree camera, park assist and adaptive cruise control.

From £54,300

Summary

  1. Stylish design
  2. High-quality interior
  3. Good choice of petrol and diesel engines
  4. Efficient diesel options…
  5. But thirsty petrol units
  6. Comfortable and refined
  7. BMW 4 Series is sportier to drive
  8. Relatively practical for a coupe
  9. Loads of standard kit
  10. A very credible premium coupe

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