Audi A5 2008 review
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Audi’s first coupe variant of the fourth generation A4 since 1996 simply attracts the eye. The question is whether it’s a matter of style over substance.
There is currently one petrol engine available for the new A5 – with a choice of multitronic or tiptronic ‘flappy paddle’ transmissions. Audi say that a turbo diesel and a smaller petrol will be available late 2008/early 2009.
The flasgship quattro – our test car – was a 3.2 litre, six cylinder FSI that puts out 195kW and 330 Nm. It gets power to the permanent four-wheel via a six-speed tiptronic transmission. Getting from 0-100 in 6.4 seconds, it burns 9.3 litres of fuel every 100kms.
Like the A4, the A5 is underscored by Audi’s intent to position their vehicles as athletic as well as elegant. To achieve this they have included a focus on road presence, muscle and poise, and its shows with a longer, wider, lower chassis, shaped by graceful, sweeping lines and short front overhangs. The long V-shaped bonnet coupled with sleek right angled headlights and large air inlets create an impression of breadth in the car’s front that highlights the single-framed grill. The short, sporty rear is emphasised by long smooth lines starting from the C-pillar.
Inside the A5 you are surrounded by quality materials and workmanship. The dash is angled slightly towards the driver, creating a snug cockpit feel and the ergonomic seats hold you firm at the wheel.
A 10-speaker audio system, leather upholstery, cruise control, electric front seats, Bluetooth compatibility, leather multi-function steering wheel and auto-dimming rear-view mirror are all standard, with many more options available.
The Driver Information System (DIS) – with trip computer, auto-check control and ambient temperature – is also standard in the A5.
Split fold rear seats and a decent 455 litre boot allow comfortable trips away.
The long wheelbase and shorter overhangs, along with a newly designed five-link suspension arrangement at the front wheels means the A5 is firm but not stiff with precise steering and superb agility.
The ride is comfortable, smooth and stable thanks in large part to the trapezoidal-link rear suspension with new kinematics.
A comprehensive airbag package together with ESP, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Electronic Differential Lock, traction control and Brake Assist, pushes the A5 into the superior safety category.
Our top of the range 3.2 FSI quattro tiptronic comes in at $95,900, with the multitronic version $4000 cheaper.
This is a beautiful car, especially looking at it from the front quarter where the grill and lines flowing to back are superb. The test car was light metallic blue, subtle and stylish. The wheels were quite simply the best I have seen.
But I don't quite get it. It took me a while to figure out who I thought would buy this car: smart divorcees that are doing OK, both male and female that want to show they have style, like well designed cars, but are not going through a mid-life crisis. It's not a family performance car, it's not an enthusiast’s car. It's a cruiser, in all connotations of that term.
Driving it however did not live up to expectation, or perhaps it did, Beautiful body, superb features and good breeding. It is almost a case of the supermodel cliché. I always considered Audis', especially ones with either a turbo or a V6 and quattro AWD to be capable drivers cars. This isn’t, it is just an OK one, and I guess that is fine for audience I think it fits. Speaking of fits, the current Audi seats just don’t fit me. Instead of spooning the driver they seem to want to push you out of the seat with too much curvature at the lower back.
Would I buy one? No, my kids are of the age where they need just a little more room in the back. Would I buy an RS version? I’d consider it but still probably go towards a CLK. Audi seem to be dropping their enthusiast drivers appeal and Mercedes are improving theirs by spades. The CLK is also equally beautiful, but leaves you more satisfied.
Audi A5 3.2 FSI
Engine: 3.2L/V6, 195kW/330Nm
Transmission: CVT with eight settings
Range and Specs
|3.0 TDI Quattro||3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP||$11,900 – 17,490||2008 Audi A5 2008 3.0 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs|
|3.2 FSI||3.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$13,500 – 19,470||2008 Audi A5 2008 3.2 FSI Pricing and Specs|
|3.2 FSI Quattro||3.2L, PULP, 6 SP||$12,700 – 18,370||2008 Audi A5 2008 3.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs|
|3.2 FSI S-Line||3.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$18,600 – 25,850||2008 Audi A5 2008 3.2 FSI S-Line Pricing and Specs|