Why current owners will like Audi's new A5 - it is more of the same, only better
John Galvin reports from Portugal
AT first glance, Audi's new A5 coupé looks quite like the outgoing model.
There's no denying the styling has undergone just a conservative update even though it's all new and based on the lighter platform from the new A4.
The front end is better resolved, with a shallower, wider grille and a subtle power dome on the bonnet - a first for Audi.
At the rear, 3D LED lights feature and there's a distinct styling line running down the side of the body.
Overall, it's an attractive looking car that will please existing owners.
The interior is pure Audi, that's to say well built and nicely laid out. It's heavily based on the A4 saloon, but higher quality materials give it a lift. There's nice stitching on the leather upholstery and the seats are supportive.
The most popular engine choice in Ireland is expected to be the familiar 2.0 litre TDI with 190bhp so this was the first variant we tried at the launch in Portugal.
Fitted with a 7spd S-tronic double clutch gearbox, there was plenty of power in all circumstances, although at higher revs, the engine could sound a bit vocal.
As standard, this version comes with front-wheel-drive. It was comfortable but lacking in excitement. The car goes exactly where it's pointed but if you're after a more exciting, dynamic package, you'll have to look elsewhere.
The power steering is now electric and the variable rate steering rack works quite well although there's not much feedback through the wheel.
If you want a more exciting drive, there's always the new S5 which is still powered by a 3.0 litre V6 petrol although it's now turbocharged, rather than supercharged. It's an entirely new design and produces 354bhp.
The S5 comes as standard with quattro four-wheel-drive; a sports differential is also fitted. You can immediately feel the rear of the car taking more of an interest in proceedings and it feels far more alive as a result.
Grip is prodigious and generally the chassis is well balanced although when it lets go, it understeers gently so it's a safe setup.
Power delivery from the V6 is strong and the S5 performs impressively in a straight line. Both the S5 and the more powerful diesels use an 8spd converter automatic instead of the twin clutch used on lesser models; gear changes are smooth and precise.
The following day, I had the chance to drive the 3.0 V6 diesel and this just might be the pick of the range.
Although my test car was the more powerful of the two V6 diesels (with 286bhp on tap), even the lesser with 218bhp to call on had power delivery that was smooth and creamy.
Prices haven't yet been finalised, but the V6 diesel is expected to be around €5,000 more than the 2.0 litre TDI.
Most buyers will use a PCP to buy their A5 so the additional monthly cost would be quite small and you'll get a much nicer car.
Audi themselves admit the A5 is more GT than sports car and that's exactly the strength of the car. It would suit high mileage drivers who value comfort but want something a little bit different.
Prices are expected to start at around €46,000 for a 1.4 litre TFSI when the car arrives in November, with the 2.0 litre TDI coming in at around €52,000.