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2016 Audi A5 Overview
Audi's A5 two-door coupes and cabriolets roll into the 2016 model year largely unchanged. Introduced in 2008 and revised in 2012, the A5 received a power boost in 2014 and continues to offer a pleasing balance of performance, styling, interior comfort, and fuel economy. While it's not the fastest or most agile car in its class, the A5 delivers a sporty feel with good acceleration and responsive handling. In addition, Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system comes standard on all trims, giving the A5 a leg up on the competition for buyers who seek a little extra traction and control while driving in inclement conditions.
Outside, the A5 looks good in both coupe and drop-top versions, sporting a glossy skin, relatively simplistic lines, a distinctive curved nose, and a solid overall coolness factor. The A5 cabriolets also come equipped with a fully-lined power-operated convertible soft top that promises to be a little snazzier than before thanks to the addition of an available Red Acoustic convertible top option. Audi offers the A5 in a new Misano Red pearl-effect color, the only other exterior update for 2016.
The A5's exterior design provides its unique, sporty appearance, thanks to the signature Singleframe grille, 3-dimensional hood, and overall streamlined appearance. Such features as HID automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, front foglights, power heated side mirrors, and dual exhaust pipes remain standard on the entry-level A5 Premium trim. Audi equips the mid-level Premium Plus trim with an S line exterior package, which includes unique front and rear fascias and sportier side sills. The top-level Prestige trim also gets the S line exterior package, along with adaptive headlights.
All trims continue to draw their power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI powerplant with direct injection, which generates 220 hp and a generous 258 lb-ft of torque at 1500 to 3500 rpm, linked to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. This powerplant pushes the A5 from 0-to-60 mph in 6.4 seconds, and while that's not a head-whipping number, it's decent for its class. Prospective buyers who seek a little more power should consider the Audi S5, which wears the same skin as the A5 but gets a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine which pumps out 333 hp, 325 lb-ft of torque, and makes the 0-to-60 jaunt in 4.9 seconds. Note that Audi limits the A5's top speed to 130 mph. Despite its sporty nature, the A5 achieves good fuel economy numbers of 22 mpg city/32 highway/26 combined for the coupes and 21/19 for the cabriolets. Premium fuel is required.
Inside, the A5 cradles 4 passengers in a comfortable, well-equipped cabin. Updates for 2016 include available Audi Connect as part of the Navigation Plus package, and a standard Bang & Olufsen sound system for Premium Plus trims. All trims come equipped with leather upholstery, 3-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped 3-spoke sport steering wheel, and ambient lighting, as well as a panoramic tilting sunroof on the coupes. The front seats feature 10-way power adjustment, 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 for Premium trims includes a 10-speaker, 180-watt Audi MMI audio system with a 6.5-inch color display, a CD player, a subwoofer, satellite radio, and speed-sensitive volume. The Premium Plus trim adds heated front seats, memory for the driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and keyless start, while the Prestige trim includes navigation, a rearview camera, and the new 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with HD radio. The navigation system includes Side Assist, which monitors blind-spot areas and alerts the driver of approaching vehicles.
Legroom in the rear seat can be tight for taller passengers or those with longer legs, but front passengers should find plenty of legroom and headroom, as well as well-padded front seats that are supportive enough for longer trips. Cargo space in the A5 coupes checks in at 12.2 cubic feet, and drops to 10.2 cubic feet in cabriolets. Trunk storage features include side pockets and floor tie-downs.
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. The electromechanical power steering system 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 it shifts up to 80 percent of available power to the rear wheels when coming out of curves in order to offset road slippage and ensure optimal acceleration. All A5 trims get 18-inch wheels with all-season tires, except for the Prestige, which can be equipped with a number of available 18- and 19-inch wheel designs.
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 with long-distance radar to maintain an acceptable distance from the vehicle ahead. Although the Audi A5 has not been safety tested, the similar A4 was named a Top Safety Pick by the NHTSA.
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 California.
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