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I remember when Audi first launched their A5 coupé in 2007 - it was a departure for the brand - in the sense that its new "5" range hailed a new design era for the brand. Where the A4 and A6 were executive expresses, they were also understated yet elegant, but sporty they weren't. The A5 was. It looked and felt like an American muscle car done the German way. Take the concept of a powerful grand tourer and put it in a tailored suit. Audi had created a design icon that was very sexy.
9-years have passed; over 320 000 people bought into the A5; with almost 10 000 of those being locals. Now reinvented, the new Audi A5 has arrived. At first glance, it is an evolutionary design that mimics the original icon, yet modernises it in traditional Audi Bauhaus fashion.
The overall look of the new design translates best in motion. In person, too, the A5 is just better looking. A mediocre photograph battles to pick-up the cars subtle yet sharp crease lines. Much of the drama is lost in visual translation.
For the sake of my analogy - the tailoring has been sharpened. There is an introduction of a "Power Dome" on the bonnet - it's a flared detail that creates drama, insinuating power. The wheel arches, on all four wheels, have a greater amount dimension adding width to the A5. The new A5 looks powerful and purposeful though these subtle design details. Gladly, the iconic "Tornado Line", (a three-dimensional wave-shaped shoulder line that characterised the previous model) which runs along the A5's profile, remains.
Initially, the range is available in Coupé format. Later, in May, the 5-door Sportback will arrive, followed in July, by the Cabriolet. Die-hard fans of the racy RS models will have to wait until the 4th quarter of 2017 for this tarmac devil to arrive. It promises a stonking.
The A5 range is offered in a variety of engines, all outstanding. The line-up begins with a 2.0-l turbo petrol engine, followed by a 2.0-l turbo diesel. Both power the front wheels of the A5 via 7-speed S tronic (double-clutch) gearboxes. Another similarity between the two is the power, both offering 140kW. Next up is a more powerful 2.0-l turbo petrol with 185kW. This model, like the S5, which features a 3.0-l turbo petrol 260kW motor, comes standard with Audi's tar-gripping Quattro (all-wheel drive system).
The entire range is quick with sprint times to 100km/h ranging from mid-7 seconds to blistering 4.7 seconds. More importantly, the drive of the A5 is involving - steering is direct - move the steering slightly and it does as you tell it. Albeit at higher speeds, the weight of the steering does feel light, which is a sensation better appreciated in a parking lot when manoeuvring into a parking bay. The delivery of power from all the engines is sublime, while the sound of S5’s raspy growl is music to anyone's ears and tickles your spine. The car's chassis feels light yet well-planted, a sensation that is evident of the new A5's weight savings. To save fuel, Quattro models don't engage all four wheels at the same time. Rather, if the computer senses a wheel slipping, the Quattro system is activated within milliseconds.
The interior design of the new A5 is typical Audi - modern, simple and chic. Less is more with attention being placed on bold harmonious flowing lines. The "Virtual Cockpit" is optional on all A5's, but a must-have! It offers a beautiful integration of technology that enhances the car’s clean, modernist layout.
With all this good there is always some flaws. The A5 range is very well made - every detail is gorgeously crafted. The Sports models look more dramatic with 18" alloy wheels, inlays in aluminium ellipse, reinforced bumpers, front sport seats, line specific radiator grille, air intakes with tailpipe trims in chrome.
Constructive feedback regarding the A5’s ride left me thinking that for day-to-day driving, I'd prefer a slightly softer ride – especially with our poor roads. Tyre noise at high speed made its way into the cabin, not intrusively, but the sound does detract from the rest of the cars polished finish.
Standard features are extensive too, check out the long list:
The following equipment is available as standard on the 2.0T FSI 140 kW and 2.0 TDI 140 kW:
Note: the S5 has further features as standard.
The Audi A5 range will be priced as follows, standard with the 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan and inclusive of all taxes:
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