Tuesday, July 18, 2017


I like coupes.

They’re not my favorite automotive style — that would be convertibles — but there’s just an air about a coupe that appeals to me.

Especially when it’s as stunning as the Audi A5.

Introduced a decade ago as a two-door version of Audi’s A4 sedan, the A5 Coupe is getting its first redesign as a 2018 model. Yes, that’s a rather long time to go between generations, but apparently Audi follows the well-tested philosophy of “it it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Still, a new drivetrain, added technology, and several styling tweaks to the exterior are welcome updates. The latter include a new grille and longer lower hood lines, more sweeping lines, a lower stance, and standard 10-spoke 18-inch wheels (19s are available) with special spoke designs, giving the A5 a sexy, alluring profile.

The new engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque and is mated with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters for manual gear selection.

With the automatic, you get from zero-to-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, according to the company, and consume premium fuel at the rate of 24 miles-per-gallon city, 34 highway, and 27 combined. With the manual, the zero-to-60 clocking is a tick slower (5.7 seconds) and fuel numbers are virtually identical, according to the government. (We can always trust the government, right?)

There is no difference in pricing when it comes to the transmission. The A5 Premium starts at $42,800 with either the automatic or manual, the A5 Premium Plus at $45,800, and the A5 Prestige at $50,400 plus the $975 destination and delivery fee.

I spent my week in the A5 with the automatic and the Prestige package, which includes Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, an alarm system with motion sensors, 10-way power adjustable heated front seats, full LED headlights, a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, a parking system with top view camera, head-up display, Audi MMI Navigation package and a couple of other niceties.

The Virtual Cockpit is a fascinating features that was introduced a couple of years ago on the Audi TT. Drivers can adjust the instrument panel in front of them to display whatever information they want, including a high-resolution map for navigation.

The size of the tach and speedometer readout also can be adjusted via a small knob on the steering wheel to provide the driver with a larger or smaller map. It means you don’t have to divert your eyes to the monitor at the top of the center stack but can see navigation features with a quick glance through the steering wheel.

Adding other options like the driver Assistance Package (adaptive cruise control and high-beam assistant and traffic sign recognition), glacier white color, adaptive damping suspension, and high gloss dark brown walnut wood inlays ran the total MSRP to $55,300 for my A5, which, quite frankly, as a bit lower than what I guessed before I looked at the spec sheet.

In addition to the technological and convenience functions in the Prestige Package, standard features on the A5 include LED interior lighting, HID headlamps, a panoramic power sunroof, three-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and numerous other safety features. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive also is standard.

Operating that technology is accomplished via a knob on the center console which, depending on what function has been selected (navigation, radio, media, vehicle setting, etc.), also can put you in one of four driving modes — comfort, dynamic, auto, or individual.

Obviously, the dynamic mode provides a more spirited performance, but even in comfort mode the A5’s acceleration will get your attention. Yet it never intrudes on the ride the passenger is experiencing. It’s just fun. Which is just like a coupe!

What I liked about the 2018 Audi A5 Coupe: There is a lot to like, frankly. Even some of the issues inherent with the genre, like getting to the backseat and lack of cargo space, are not as intrusive. The front seats slide forward to give fairly easy access to the back, and cargo space is 11.6 cubic feet, fairly comparable to a small sedan.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Audi A5 Coupe: The electromechanical steering had a kind of odd feel about it. At higher speeds, it seemed to be nudging me to one side or the other as I went through turns, kind of like some lane-keeping assist systems do. But it wasn’t that. When traffic was clear, I tried to see what would happen if I changed a lane without signaling, and it didn’t kick in. Maybe it just takes some getting used to.

Would I buy the 2018 Audi A5? Yes, though I might take a serious look at the S5 with its V6 power if my budget could afford it. It starts in the mid-$50,000 range. The good news: the A5/S5 is also available as a convertible that starts around $50,000 (A5) and $60,000 range (S5). Also new this year is the Sportback, an A5/S5 hatchback that boosts cargo capacity to 21.8 cubic feet behind the second row and 35.01 with the rear seats folded. It also seats five passengers instead of four like the Coupe. 

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