DETROIT, MI - I'm still in love with the Audi A5. This week marks the third time that I've had the privilege of test driving this car. And every time I do I find more things to admire.
The A5 is Audi's coupe. It's a bit bigger than the A4 and a bit smaller than the A6. It's got two back seats but they're more for lowering insurance rates than carrying people.
In a phrase, the A5 has a long hood, a short deck lid and an awfully low stance. Audi's wide single frame signature grille is particularly effective on the A5. I like the car better than the TT Coupe/Roadster or the R8. It can be driven every day; thus, it is far more practical than its much sportier siblings.
I had the Audi A5 3.2 quattro. That means it was powered by a 3.2-liter six cylinder engine that made 265 horsepower and 243 pounds-feet of torque. Although there is an automatic that I have not driven, the six speed manual worked best for me. Audi said my test car could get from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. That's plenty quick.
The shifter gets through the gear ladder effortless but that's a cliché. The gear ratio gives the car its character and the design has much to do with the A5's personality. In a phrase the A5 meets expectations.
The 3.2 quattro A5 has more than enough oomph. I smoothly went through the gear range accelerating towards 90 mph getting on the expressway here and the accumulation of speed was effortless. The A5's driving characteristics are refined and sophisticated. For those who want a bit more grunt, there is a 354 horsepower V8 powered S5.
Even though the A5 has a back seat that really can't accommodate anybody, except the smallest of kids, I still found the car pretty functional. It was awfully easy to drive. And with quattro, Audi's all-wheel-drive system, the A5 need not be parked during the winter months in the blustery Midwest.
My test vehicle had a moonroof that was not retractable but it did open and tilt. Still, it had a mesh curtain that allowed sunlight into the car without the heat. The car had a review camera and tilt down side mirrors which made backing out of my driveway a snap. There was also a rear parking assist system.
My only quibble is that the instrument layout is getting a bit long in the tooth, although it is still very function. But Audi's direct competitors have new models with redesigned interior that are far more luxurious than those from Audi. Of course, I have not driven the Q5; perhaps the instrument update begins there. But one is undoubtedly on the way.
I really appreciated the A5's color scheme. It was a white exterior and cinnamon brown interior. Coupled with a black dashboard the inside of the car was two-tones of color (black and brown) that sounds garish but was it quite soothing.
The A5 was chock full of equipment: satellite radio, an iPod jack, navigation system, in-dash CD player, heated seats, Xenon headlights, Bluetooth and push button start and stop. And although it had a short deck lid, the trunk itself was huge.
There was also some hi tech equipment. Audi Drive Select - varies the engine, transmission, steering, and suspension damping characteristics to suit the driver's preferences.
When I chose dynamic versus comfort, the car would return to automatic every time I turned the engine off and restarted. After talking with an Audi representative, I found that the setting can be programmed not to recycle with ignition shut off. That took away my lone complaint.
Audi's A5 is a bargain. Although my test vehicle was $53,315, that was with all of the options. The base price was $40,700.