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2014 Audi A5 Overview
The Audi A5 coupes and cabriolets roll into 2014 with a boost in power and a handful of minor updates. Introduced in 2008 and revised in 2012, the A5 delivers a good balance of performance, styling, fuel economy and interior comfort. Although it's based on the A4 sedans and wagons, the A5 displays unique exterior styling, with a long 3-dimensional hood, short overhangs at the front and rear, Audi's signature Singleframe grille and an overall streamlined appearance. All A5 coupes come standard with the automaker's quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which helps ensure sporty handling and optimal road grip, while the A5 cabriolets feature a fully lined power convertible soft top and either front-wheel drive (FWD) or AWD. Despite its sporty nature, the A5 achieves good fuel economy numbers of up to 32 mpg from its turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplant and cradles passengers in a comfortable, well-equipped cabin.
For 2014, Audi again offers the A5 in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. All are powered by Audi's 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged powerplant, which features direct injection. It now produces 220 hp, up from 211 hp the previous year. Torque remains the same at 258 lb-ft from 1,500-3,500 rpm. In A5 coupes and cabriolets with quattro AWD, the 2.0T powerplant links to a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. The FWD cabriolet trim gets a Multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
With the manual shifter, the A5 coupe jumps out from 0-60 mpg in 6.3 seconds, which drops to 6.1 seconds with the automatic. The FWD cabriolet manages the 0-60 jaunt in 7.1 seconds with the CVT transmission and 6.6 seconds with the Tiptronic automatic. Audi limits top speed on all A5 trims to 130 mph. Despite the bump in hp, fuel economy numbers remain essentially the same as the previous year, with the A5 FWD cabriolet managing 24 mpg city/32 highway, according to the EPA. Those numbers drop to 22/32 for AWD trims with the manual transmission and 20/29 for AWD trims with the automatic.
Audi introduces two new exterior colors for the 2014 A5, making Cuvée Silver and Dakota Gray available. In addition, the automaker outfits all A5 Prestige trims with the S-line exterior package as standard equipment. It includes Brilliant Black exterior moldings and trim, a black rear diffuser and 19-inch wheels with a Titanium finish, as well as a sport suspension. The package remains an option for Premium and Premium Plus trims. Premium trims get automatic halogen headlights with daytime running lights, while Premium Plus trims upgrade to HID headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights. Prestige trims get adaptive HID headlights as well as LED foglights and daytime running lights. Other standard exterior features for all A5 trims include heated side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals and dual exhaust pipes.
The A5 rides on a firm yet comfortable suspension, with a 5-link setup in the front and a trapezoidal-link configuration in the rear. The suspension does a good job of smoothing out rough road surfaces while ensuring minimal body roll in corners. An electromechanical power steering system, introduced in 2013, has a light feel at times but still delivers precise control. Under normal operation, the quattro AWD system splits power 40/60 front to rear, but shifts up to 80% of available power to the rear wheels when coming out of curves to ensure optimal acceleration. An available drive-select system offers Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual driving modes. V-design 5-spoke 18-inch wheels with all-season tires come standard on all A5 trims except the Prestige, with a number of available 18- and 19-inch wheel designs.
Inside, the A5's 4-passenger driver-oriented cabin comes well-equipped with a wide range of upscale features, including leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped 3-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel, a panoramic tilting sunroof, ambient lighting and aluminum decorative inlays. The front seats feature 8-way power adjustment with 4-way power lumbar for the driver, and the rear seatbacks split 50/50 and fold, adding flexibility to the A5's interior. The standard package on Premium trims also includes a 10-speaker, 180-watt Audi MMI audio system with a 6.5-inch color display, a CD player, a subwoofer, SiriusXM satellite radio and speed-dependent volume. A tilt/telescopic steering column and 3-zone automatic climate control are among the other standard features. In addition, for 2014, Audi adds its Convenience Package to all A5 trims, making such features as Bluetooth, an iPod port and a Homelink garage door opener standard across the lineup.
The Premium Plus trims add heated front seats and memory for the driver's seat, while the Prestige trim receives a new advanced keyless start system for 2014. The Prestige also includes Audi's MMI navigation system with an 8-inch color screen, as well as the automaker's Connect system, which provides in-vehicle wi-fi and localized weather and information. The navigation system also includes a Side Assist system, which monitors blind-spot areas and alerts drivers of approaching vehicles. In addition, Audi equips the Prestige trims with a rear-view camera and an upgraded 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system with HD radio (12 speakers in the cabriolets).
In the trunk, a standard storage system includes side pockets, floor tie-downs and bag hangers. Cargo space in the coupes checks in at a relatively tight 12.2 cubic feet, which drops to 10.2 cubic feet in cabriolets. As in most coupes and cabriolets, legroom in the rear seat can be tight for taller passengers, but the front seats offers plenty of legroom and are supportive enough for longer trips. An optional S-line Competition interior package, available for all A5 trims, adds such features as leather and Alcantara front sport seats, a 3-spoke flat-bottom multifunction sport steering wheel, piano black inlays, black cloth headliner and aluminum door sills. In addition, trims with the manual transmission get an aluminum shift knob.
Standard safety features for all A5 trims include electronic stability control, traction control and antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Eight airbags, including knee and thorax side airbags, also come standard. In addition, Audi offers an optional adaptive cruise control system for 2014, with long-distance radar to maintain an acceptable distance from the vehicle ahead. Although the 2014 Audi A5 has not been safety tested, the similar A4 was named a Top Safety Pick in 2013 and received top marks of Good for protecting passengers from head and neck injuries. However, the A4's safety cage and structural integrity received a Poor rating.
Competitors to the A5 include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupes, the BMW 3 Series coupes and convertibles, the Infiniti G37 coupe and the Cadillac CTS and CTS-V Coupes. While the A5 doesn't quite match the best in its class, due in part to its performance, it remains very competitive, with a good balance of attributes.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.