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Audi A5 2021 review

The Audi A5 has been updated for 2020.
EXPERT RATING
7.5
The Audi A5 range has long been one of the more handsome ways into the premium car segment, but is that enough beat out its premium German rivals? We put the updated range to the test to find out.

Yes, yes, beauty is in the eye of beholder. But I challenge any eye to behold the refreshed Audi A5 and find it anything but beautiful.

In a world in which car design seems to be getting fussier and busier with every new model, the A5 remains a monument to simple lines and sophisticated shapes, both inside and out.

Looks are only part of the story, of course. So the big question is, does the rest of the package stand up? Or is the beauty only skin deep here?

Let's find out, shall we?

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The cheapest way into an A5 remains the Sportback or Coupe body styles, which will set you back $71,900 with the 40 TFSI engine choice. You can upgrade to the 45 TFSI quattro engine, but doing so will also up the entry point to $79,900. The Audi A5 Cabriolet sits atop the pile, costing $85,400 for the 40 TFSI, and $93,400 for the 45 TFSI quattro.

Happily, all A5s get the S line style treatment, gifting each a sportier look, with a new-look grille and venting adding to the performance-spec style up front. 

Inside is a new 10.1-inch touchscreen. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured) Inside is a new 10.1-inch touchscreen. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured)

You also get 19-inch alloys, Audi drive select with five drive modes, three-zone climate (and neck-level heating in the Cabriolet), leather trim, matrix LED headlights, as well as tech-heavy interior highlighted by a new 10.1-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash that controls the cars key audio, navigation and driving settings. 

Speaking of the Cabriolet, the three-layer acoustic roof opens in just 15 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h, with a wind deflector also deployed to help with cabin ambience.

The Cabriolet's roof opens in just 15 seconds. The Cabriolet's roof opens in just 15 seconds.

Audi's very cool Virtual Cockpit (a 12.3-inch digital display that replaces the traditional driver's binnacle) is also standard, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Audi says the new model offers 10x the computing power of the outgoing model, owing mostly to connected car features including live traffic, weather reports and fuel pricing, as well as the ability to remote unlock or lock you car from your phone, or pre-plan destinations and send them to the vehicle's nav.

The A5 scores Audi's Virtual Cockpit as standard. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured) The A5 scores Audi's Virtual Cockpit as standard. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured)

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

It's gorgeous, the A5. There's simply no disputing it. It's elegant, sophisticated, and above all, restrained. There's no look-at-me chintz here, just clean lines, sharp creases and a shapely figure.

  • Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback pictured. Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback pictured.
  • Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback pictured. Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback pictured.
  • Audi A5 45 TFSI Cabriolet pictured. Audi A5 45 TFSI Cabriolet pictured.
  • Audi A5 45 TFSI Cabriolet pictured. Audi A5 45 TFSI Cabriolet pictured.
  • Audi A5 45 TFSI Coupe pictured. Audi A5 45 TFSI Coupe pictured.
  • Audi A5 45 TFSI Coupe pictured. Audi A5 45 TFSI Coupe pictured.

Like its A4 sibling, the A5 has been tickled at the front, with a new-look grille, along with a new headlight cluster with redesigned DRLs, and Matrix LED headlights. 

The four sharp bonnet creases that fan out from the grille lend the A5 a sense of speed, even when stationary, and we love the way the 19-inch alloys fill the wheel arches. It looks polished, premium and athletic. 

The A5 wears 19-inch alloy wheels. (45 TFSI Coupe variant pictured) The A5 wears 19-inch alloy wheels. (45 TFSI Coupe variant pictured)

Inside, Audi's interior treatment is on-point, from the figure-hugging leather seats to the material choices that span the dash. The big news in the cabin is the inclusion of Audi's new 10.1-inch touchscreen perched above the dash, which isn't just easier to use (in my opinion, at least), but also removes the traditional controls from the centre console. 

It means Audi's already fuss-free cabin is even less cluttered, and it's definitely a change for the better. 

Inside, Audi's interior treatment is on-point. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured) Inside, Audi's interior treatment is on-point. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured)

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

It very much depends on the model you've opted for, with the Coupe compromising backseat space for exterior style. 

The Sportback is easily the most practical of the trio, what with its four doors, comfortable backseat and dimensions that stretch 4757mm in length, 1843mm in width and 1386mm in height, and its 480 litres of boot space.

The Sportback is easily the most practical with comfortable backseats. (45 TSFI Sportback variant pictured) The Sportback is easily the most practical with comfortable backseats. (45 TSFI Sportback variant pictured)

The Coupe, then, is a two-door design, stretching 4697mm x 1846mm x 1371mm, with 450 litres of luggage space at the rear. It's long, the Coupe, but most of that space is absorbed by the front half of the cabin, wth the backseat reserved for kids. 

Finally, the Cabriolet (which we're yet to test) stretches 4697mm x 1846mm x 1384mm, and will deliver the lowest luggage capacity of the lot, at 375 litres.

  • In the Sportback, boot space is rated at 480 litres. (45 TFSI Sportback variant pictured) In the Sportback, boot space is rated at 480 litres. (45 TFSI Sportback variant pictured)
  • The Cabriolet delivers the lowest luggage capacity of the trio, at 375 litres. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured) The Cabriolet delivers the lowest luggage capacity of the trio, at 375 litres. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured)

Elsewhere, though, the A5 range delivers two cupholders up front, with another two in the centre armrest that can deploy to divide the rear seat. Rear-seat riders also get air vents with their own temp controls, USB charge points (joining the two up front) and bottle holders in the doors. 

For parents, you'll find a pair of ISOFIX attachment points in the backseat, too. 

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

Two choices here, the slightly tongue-twisting 40 TFSI and  and 45 TFSI quattro, both of which make use of a 2.0-litre turbo engine tuned for different outputs. 

The 40 will serve up 140kW and 320Nm, and pairs with a seven-speed S tronic automatic that shuffles that power to the front wheels. Audi reckons you'll see 100km/h in as little as 7.3 seconds.

The turbo 2.0-litre makes 140kW/320Nm in the 40 TFSI and 183kW/370Nm in 45 TFSI quattro trim. (45 TFSI quattro Cabriolet variant pictured) The turbo 2.0-litre makes 140kW/320Nm in the 40 TFSI and 183kW/370Nm in 45 TFSI quattro trim. (45 TFSI quattro Cabriolet variant pictured)

The 45, on the other hand, will give you 183kW and 370Nm, pairing with the same auto gearbox, but this time sending power to all four wheels thanks to the quattro system. The 100km/h sprint drops to 5.8 seconds at its fastest.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Audi reckons the 40 TFSI engine will return 6.5L/100km on the combined cycle, and emit 148g/km of C02. The bigger engine increases fuel use to 7.1L/100km, but lowers the C02 output to 163g/km. Both those fuel numbers are taken from the Sportback.

Both engines also get a new 12V mild-hybrid system said to drop fuel use by up to 0.3L/100km.

Fun tank capacity is either 54 litres or 58 litres, depending on the model.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

You'd describe the A5's drive experience as evolved, rather than revolutionary, but to be honest, in a vehicle this competent, that's no small thing. 

The hybrid tech is unnoticeable, and so the A5 delivers an on-the-road feel that isn't far away at all from the car it replaces. None are truly fire-breathing, but it feels comfortable and sophisticated, the outside world largely banished from the interior (though the firm-ish ride can send road imperfections into the cabin).

The A5 delivers a predictably competent drive experience. (45 TFSI Sportback variant pictured) The A5 delivers a predictably competent drive experience. (45 TFSI Sportback variant pictured)

Audi has done a stellar job of making the A5 feel connected to the road below it, and the world around it, without dialling down the comfort factor. The steering, light in its normal setting but firming up as you cycle through the drive modes, is direct, but not twitchy, the ride is firm, but not uncomfortable, the engine (at least, the 45 TFSI we drove on launch) is capable without being ridiculous. 

The end result is a predictably competent drive experience, with the A5 delivering in the areas it should, largely before you even notice. 

Audi has done a stellar job of making the A5 feel connected to the road below it. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured) Audi has done a stellar job of making the A5 feel connected to the road below it. (45 TFSI Cabriolet variant pictured)

The only downside to all of that, though, is that the experience is so predictable, that there are few surprises, positive or negative, thrown in. It can leave you feeling slightly disconnected from the experience, rather than truly engaged.

Now, a disclaimer, we spent limited time in the A5 on launch, so we'll wait until we get it in the CarsGuide garage before making a final verdict. But I'd be surprised if we liked it any less over a longer period.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

Standard safety kit includes eight airbags, parking sensors front and rear, a 360-degree parking camera, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, rear cross-traffic alert, exit warning, and lane keep assist and lane change assist, along with a bevy of airbags, with the A5 range still wearing a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

All Audi's are covered by a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with servicing required every 12 months or 15,000km.

You can pre-pay your service costs for three or five years, which will set you back $1800 for three years or $2820 for five years.

Verdict

Predictably stylish, predictably competent, predictably comfortable. In fact, that predictability is among its only downsides. In short, the updated A5 might not move the needle all that much, but it didn't need much moving in the first place. 

EXPERT RATING
7.5
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety7
Ownership7
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$71,900

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data
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