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2009 Audi A5 ReviewThe Good
In the sunlit world of luxury sports coupes there sit many a make of high quality machine, and outshining its competitors, even on this spangled stage, is the 2009 Audi A5, with its simple and brilliant design, sure and determined handling, and high-performance reliability.The Bad
The two most glaring creases in Audi’s stylish 2009 A5 coupe are the cramped rear seating and its manual transmission, which under-performs and taints the A5’s lauded driving experience.
The CarGurus View
The 2009 A5 is perfectly elegant and aggressive. Like an animal stalking its prey, it moves with purpose, unleashing power and handling that excels. While the ’09 is a carryover, it’s one that’s markedly improved - that is, if you can differentiate between really good and very good.
At a Glance
The Audi A5 is a heartthrob. It’s Audi’s two-door, four-seat luxury sports coupe, created to take on the BMW 3 Series coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class, and in doing so is holding its own, very nicely. The 2009 A5 also comes in an automatic transmission, which includes six-speed manual, CVT, and DSG gearboxes with Tiptronic and available paddle shifters. In other changes, adaptive cruise control is now available, along with a standard auxiliary input jack. Audi promises razor-sharp handling thanks to an engine placement behind the front wheels, resulting in better weight distribution than any existing Audi aside from the mid-engine R8. Quattro all-wheel drive is offered across the board. A tour around the ‘09’s exterior confirms the singular Audi touches with the brand's customary wide-mouth grille flanked by lower air intakes. At 182.1 inches long, the A5 falls just between the 3 Series coupe (181.1 inches) and the CLK (183.2). It's the shortest in height but also the widest of its competitors. It has twin exhaust pipes and a dark lower rear bumper with standard 18-inch wheels. The 2009 Audi A5 also comes with a choice of two S line packages. The "S line sports package plus" combines a sporty suspension and 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels or, alternatively, 19-inch alloys with a 20-spoke design. Audi also added an optional 20-inch wheel with a 7-twin-spoke design to the range in the middle of 2007.
The 2009 has muscle. It's powered by a 265-hp 3.2-liter V6 that features FSI direct injection and delivers peak torque of 243 lb-ft from 3,250 to 5,000 RPM. The A5 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in about 6 seconds and achieves a fuel consumption rating of 16/27 mpg. The coupe equipped with the Tiptronic gets a slightly different rating of 17/26 mpg.
In normal conditions, the all-wheel drive channels 60 percent of power to the rear wheels, giving it that feeling of umph followed by the impression of “ahhh.” Disappointing in this task, however, is the A5’s manual transmission with its long throws and imprecise shifting and clutch engagement. It’s not what you’d expect from Audi. The rest of it, though, is. What powers this quark-speed machine is premium-grade gas. Towing capacities aren’t graded. The A5 neither tows, nor, thanks to its reliability, is towed.
Ride & Handling
The 2009 A5 gives a firm ride - so much so that sharp bumps can register with a jolt. Overall, the A5 is compliant enough not to make long highway trips unpleasant. In fast turns the car gives great grip, inspiring confidence in everyone inside with just a hint of body lean. Steering feel is responsive at higher speeds, but it has been noted by some that it's too light at low speeds. Braking is powerful and stable. Both the V6 and V8 make great mechanical noises while accelerating and recede quietly into the background at cruise.
Audi's MultiMedia Interface (MMI) uses a central control knob with flanking buttons to govern most audio, climate, and navigation system functions. While many of the said functions are clearly labeled on a dashboard screen, performing simple tasks requires multiple button presses.
Cabin & Comfort
If the luster of the 2009’s outer shell says "built for luxury locomotion," then the inside amplifies the claim by pronouncing itself chic. Available for the first time in the A5 is a new perforated Alcantara/leather upholstery, with the perforations in the seat centre section backed in contrasting silver.
Seats are sporty and come with an electrically adjustable lumbar support to provide secure positioning during spirited driving. The front seats are supportive, but make it difficult to achieve a comfortable driving position. No one but small children will be comfortable in the back seat.
The trunk holds a sedan-like 16.1 cubic feet of luggage. Split-folding rear seatbacks are a nice, unexpected convenience. Interior storage includes large door pockets, a modestly sized glovebox, and a small center console. The standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel does not offer power operation, which is a pretty glaring omission in this class.
Visibility is surprisingly good in all directions. Clumsy doors impede entry and exit. More sporty than sumptuous, the 2009 uses materials of high quality throughout the cabin. A choice of decorative interior trim options highlight the attention to detail. The A5 has standard 18-inch wheels. Standard equipment includes a sunroof, leather upholstery, and three-zone climate control.
Optional are adaptive cruise control and Audi Drive Select, which includes upgraded power steering and an adaptive suspension. Other features: Leather upholstery, automatic climate control, satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI). In the S line Sport Package, you get a Bang & Olufsen audio system, voice-activated navigation, adaptive cruise control, and Audi Side Assist. Other typical S line items in the A5 include: the S line 3-spoke leather-covered sport steering wheel, inlays in matte brushed aluminum, and the S line logo on the door sill trims and front wings. Exclusive exterior colors include Misano Red and Avus Silver.
Safety gear that comes standard on all A5s consists of two-stage driver and adaptive passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, backguard headrests, electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, all-wheel drive, and tire pressure monitors. The navigation package now includes a Voice Control System. The PTA Technology Package includes side assist, which keeps track of vehicles next to the A5 and activates a light in the side mirror when a car is present.
What Owners Think
Owners describe their 2009 A5 the way drinkers of fine wine express the qualities of their favorite vintage. It’s in the little things, since the more important elements are automatically done right. For starters it’s a beauty on the outside. Its luxurious interior receives equal praise, as does its AWD-handling. Owners of the 2009 A5 are out to convert BMW drivers to what they consider a superior driving machine. On the downside, some owners would like to move the cruise control and a wider selection of colors. Hey, there’s always something.