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2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T Quattro Prestige Review & Test Drive

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The Audi A5 has long been a pacesetter for the luxury sports coupe segment and a favorite among many owners and new buyers into the unique segment. Taking a methodical approach to styling design, performance, and technology, Audi has paved a path to expect more from luxury sports coupes as the newly redesigned 2018 model year raises the bar with a measured stylistic and tech-driven approach that somewhat sets it apart from its German competition.

>> Get the best price on the Audi A5 from a network of local dealers now. <<

For a full redesign, the new 2018 Audi A5 coupe retains some of its classic looks but accentuates some of its better design lines with sharper and more pronounced sculpting. Looking at the new 2018 A5 it is apparent that Audi knows a good thing and doesn’t depart far from what has worked on the last generations of the A5. Moreover, Audi retained a proven powertrain in its 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, now producing 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels on my nicely-equipped A5 Quattro Prestige trimmed test vehicle through a seven-speed automated dual-clutch transmission. The transmission makes for a direct gearing effect and snappy shifts throughout the surprisingly full powerband of the turbocharged engine.

The new Audi A5 continues on a formula that has worked well for the German brand to nearly signify a benchmark of a luxury sports coupe in a compact-ish size. Despite its classification, the A5 exhibits much in what the new Audi A4 inspires in a compact luxury sedan only in a classy two-door setup. Relying on a sole drivetrain feeding power to all four wheels, the A5 is a simplistic approach to luxury, one that pays dividends in being simple yet giving consumers a plethora of luxury amenities and option packages. With that, the new Audi A5 has three trim levels, Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. Apart from the A5 lineup, there is also an all-new A5 Sportback and S5 Sportback, which are both four-door coupe-inspired variations, and the new S5, a performance version of the coupe that pumps out 354 horsepower.

My time with the new 2018 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro was a pleasant one, a time that highlighted by the versatility of a two-door vehicle. The versatility started with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine’s ability to surprise me with decent performance considering its modest 254 horsepower. The engine’s power felt much more than the numbers on paper would indicate. The snappy-but-smooth-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission nearly perfectly executed shifts to match the substantial mid-range power output of the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Getting up to 60 mph only took 5.0 seconds through the use of a launch mode. The transmission does a good job of firing off shifts without any delay. Though, the slipping of the clutch at times can take a bit longer than I am used to. I suppose those new to a dual-clutch may experience the same surprise where the system seldom hangs up on slippage versus landing fully into a gear upon slowly accelerating.

The fuel economy of the new 2018 Audi A5 is surprisingly efficient considering its ability to perform well in reaching 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. I was taken by an overall fuel consumption number of 32 mpg during my week with the new A5. EPA estimates for the new A5 come in at 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, which are quite decent numbers for a luxury sports coupe.

The full body dynamics of the new A5 feel as if they have been improved upon where the rigidity of the structure communicates directly with the suspension system, which included a set of adaptive dampers on my test vehicle. The drive modes, a total of four, including a custom-configurable Individual mode, allows you to tailor your driving experience through grouping steering effort, throttle mapping, transmission shift points, and damper setting. The dampers have two modes, a comfort mode and dynamic. The comfort setting is a bit too soft for my tastes but proves to be mostly supple on the highway. On local highways and roads, comfort mode feels to give away to a tad too much body bounce. Placing the dampers into dynamic mode, either through the Dynamic drive mode or a properly customized Individual mode, the dampers firm up nicely but don’t become overly harsh – which is just the way I would prefer the A5 as it then becomes a true luxury sports coupe.

The adaptation of today’s technology is an obvious extension of Audi’s motto, and it shows in the new 2018 A5’s available virtual cockpit. The virtual cockpit combines many of the infotainment’s main features integrated into the driver’s 12.3-inch gauge cluster in a clever way. The system doesn’t completely distract the driver as Audi brings a few setup options to the table to either highlight the necessary gauges or a full-screen navigation that can display Google Earth landscapes in their full high-resolution glory. I found the Audi virtual cockpit last year in the new A4 to be an enjoyable overall experience where the center infotainment screen became a secondary part of the vehicle’s tech. I welcomed the system once again in the new A5. Moreover, lacking a touch screen the latest Audi MMI (Multimedia Infotainment) system is more of a direct experience through the centralized large scroll wheel and its touchpad used to draw letters or swipe certain functions. Once you become acclimated to the system over a slight learning curve, you discover it is somewhat immersive and becomes friendly only after spending a good 15 minutes with the unit. For the most part, the new infotainment system is excellent and responds quickly to all inputs without building up any hint of frustration. Way to go, Audi!

At the end of the day, the 2018 Audi A5 is an attractive vehicle that turns heads without going too far to over-impress. There is still a contemporary flair to the overall design of the new A5 but cleverly uses a new design for a sharp appearance. Part of the sharpness starts with the new signature LED daytime running lights that somewhat mimic the new design language that outlines a large front grille that is more chiseled than before. The piercing beltline is more defined and runs nearly back to the new LED taillights with a directional-flowing turn signal effect. Part of the new design is all accentuates a higher premium level of design found in the smaller details.

The advanced tech of the new Audi A5 also flows into the area of safety and overall comfort with a full range radar system to enact forward collision warnings with low-speed mitigation/emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. The blind spot monitor system along with a top-down 360-degree camera system, also come to the aid keeping you aware of your surroundings. The short-reach controls and seat comfort are also a part of a welcoming experience in the Audi A5 in its higher trim levels. Other notable features of my A5 test vehicle include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam LED headlights, traffic sign reader, 8.3-inch infotainment screen with navigation, simulated leather upholstery for the center console and armrests, Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, driver-seat memory, and 4G LTE connection and emergency telematics in Audi’s Connect Care.

Bringing my nicely equipped 2018 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro Prestige test vehicle to the table you will expect to digest a price tag of about $55,300, which includes a $975 destination charge.

>> Get the best price on the Audi A5 from a network of local dealers now. <<

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base A5 2.0T Premium $42,800 / As-Tested A5 2.0T Prestige $55,300
  • Wheelbase: 108.8 in.
  • Total length: 184.0 in.
  • Total width: 79.9 in.
  • Total height: 54.0 in.
  • Coefficient of drag: 0.29
  • Turning circle: 37.7 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 15.3 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-39.0/39.1 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/32.7 in.
  • Shoulder room: f/r-55.3/50.7 in.
  • Curb weight: 3,549 lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.2 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 24 mpg city / 34 mpg highway

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