What Car? says...
It’s best to think of the Audi A5 Coupé as a sleeker-looking but less practical version of the A4 saloon. That's not meant to sound dismissive – after all, the A4 is a former What Car? Car of the Year, so it's a fantastic starting point for a coupé.
What do you gain by having a higher number in the car's name but fewer doors? Well, that depends which A5 you go for.
As well as the two-door, four-seat Coupé we're looking at in this review, Audi also makes the wind-in-your hair Cabriolet and a four-door version, called the Sportback. Alternatively, if it's outrageous performance you want, there are also rapid S5 and RS5 versions.
The truth is, no matter which A5 you buy, it comes with the promise of a fantastic interior, silky smooth engines and decent level of equipment (just like the Audi A4 it’s based on).
It’s not all plain sailing for the Audi A5 Coupé, though. It has a tough job on its hands if it wants to beat the incredibly impressive BMW 4 Series and the Mercedes C-Class Coupé. So how does it stack up against those equally swoopy-looking alternatives, and where does the A5 stand out?
Over the next few pages of this review, we'll tell you everything you need to know, including which of the range of engines you should choose, and which trim levels make the most sense.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Audi says it has intentionally made the A5 sportier than the A4 because that’s what buyers expect from a coupé. The truth is, though, you’d be better off with a BMW 4 Series if you're looking for driving thrills.
The A5’s steering is precise, but it never really involves you in the process of going round corners, which is a pity given how much fun the smaller Audi TT Coupé is to drive. Mind you, the A5 grips the road well and there’s little body roll through bends – especially on models equipped with sports suspension.
Sports suspension comes as standard on S line and Black Edition trims, and while the set-up isn't bone-shakingly firm, you certainly feel bumps as they pass beneath the car. That doesn't particularly suit the A5's otherwise relaxed demeanour, and is one of the reasons we reckon entry-level Sport trim is the one to go for – it sits on softer ‘Comfort Dynamic’ suspension.
If you go for the outlandishly expensive Vorsprung trim, you get the option of stiffening or softening the suspension at your whim. When you choose the softest setting, you'll enjoy similar levels of comfort to that of Sport trim, but after making a much bigger hole in your bank balance. Whichever suspension you choose, the A5 doesn’t soak up potholes quite as adroitly as the A4.
The entry-level 148bhp 35 TFSI (0-62mph in 9.1sec) needs to be worked fairly hard to build speed in a hurry. That's why we prefer the 201bhp 40 TFSI, which is our pick of the range. It provides a considerable performance boost over the 35 TFSI without pushing up running costs too much (0-62mph takes 7.2sec – about the same as the BMW 4 Series in 420i form).
If you’d like something with a little more power, there’s the four-wheel drive 261bhp 45 TFSI. Somewhat disappointingly, it doesn’t feel much quicker from behind the wheel, despite a claimed 0-62mph of 5.6 seconds. If performance is your thing, we’d point you towards the Audi S5 and the spectacularly rapid Audi RS5.
As for diesel engines, there's a choice of two, both 2.0 litres: the 35 TDI and 40 TDI. The former offers 161bhp, front-wheel drive and a 0-62mph sprint of 8.2sec. The latter packs 187bhp, gets four-wheel drive as standard and manages the same sprint in 6.9sec. The 40 TDI is really smooth for a diesel and plenty punchy enough, although the petrols are even quieter.
In other respects, the A5 is a peaceful cruiser, with hardly any wind noise to disturb the peace. Some road noise is noticeable over coarse surfaces, but it's kept to an acceptable level if you steer clear of the enormous 20in alloys you get with Black Edition and Vorsprung trims.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Audi is renowned for classy, minimalist interiors that are exquisitely finished, and the A5 Coupé doesn’t disappoint. Everything you touch feels classy and rock solid, and it beats the Mercedes C-Class Coupé for quality.
The driving position is tough to fault too, with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment and a comfortable driver's seat that provides plenty of upper-back support, plus four-way electric adjustable lumbar support as standard. Big, clearly marked buttons and dials make it easy to adjust the automatic air-conditioning, which also comes as standard on every trim.
Sat-nav comes as standard on all trims, as does Audi's Virtual Cockpit – a 12.3in screen that sits behind the steering wheel where you'd normally expect to find analogue instrument dials. It's really useful, putting lots of important information – including your speed and fuel economy plus music playlists and navigation instructions – right in front of your eyes.
When this generation of A5 was launched back in 2016, all versions had a fantastically easy-to-use infotainment system, which you operated by twisting and pressing a rotary controller between the front seats. As part of the A5's facelift in early 2020, Audi decided to move to a touchscreen interface.
As touchscreens go, it's relatively well designed, with an intuitive operating system. There's no doubt, though, that it's more distracting to use when you're driving than the older system – or indeed the infotainment systems in the rival BMW 4 Series and C-Class Coupé.
You get plenty of standard gadgetry, though, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, wireless phone-charging and a DAB radio. It's worth considering the optional Comfort & Sound Pack (standard on Vorsprung trim) if you enjoy listening to tunes on the move, because it gets you a great-sounding Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Clearly, you're unlikely to consider a coupé if space is your top priority, but the Audi A5 Coupé isn’t as impractical as you might imagine. A couple of six-footers will fit in the back, for example, although they’ll have to slouch to keep their heads from brushing against the ceiling.
There's plenty of front space too. Even if you’re extremely tall, you’re unlikely to have any complaints about how far your seat slides back or how much room there is above your head.
Officially, there’s more boot space than in a BMW 4 Series or Mercedes C-Class Coupé and, while the differences are small, the A5’s load bay is certainly usefully more square-shaped than those of its key rivals. Rear seats that split and fold 40/20/40 are standard. When they're down, there's just a gentle slope in the floor of the extended load bay.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
With our recommended 40 TFSI engine fitted, the Audi A5 Coupé is priced roughly on a par with an equivalent BMW 4 Series, while a like-for-like Mercedes C-Class Coupé will cost you a little more. Unsurprisingly, the A5 commands a small premium over an equivalent A4 saloon, but the difference isn't huge.
For those looking to run an A5 as a company car, CO2 emissions will be just as important. There's relatively good news on that front: the most efficient diesel (the 35 TDI in entry-level Sport trim) pumps out as little as 125g/km. However, the 40 TFSI petrol engine is slightly cheaper and not that much less efficient, so that will still be a better choice for many company car drivers.
Even entry-level Sport trim comes with 18in alloy wheels, LED headlights, climate control and cruise control. Meanwhile, bigger alloy wheels, sports suspension, more aggressive styling and part-leather seats are among the additions when you step up to S line or Black Edition trim.
Rounding off the range are the stupendously lavish Vorsprung models, but these are too expensive to recommend.
As a brand, Audi finished 18th out of 30 manufacturers in our 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey. That's above Volkswagen (20th) and Mercedes (22nd), but below Kia (9th) and BMW (13th). Fortunately, the A5 Coupé appears to be one of Audi's more dependable models.
As for safety, all versions of the A5 Coupé come with low-speed automatic emergency braking (AEB). The optional Tour Pack (standard on range-topping Vorsprung trim) adds high-speed emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, lane-keeping assistance and various other active safety aids.
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Audi has a less than stellar record in our annual What Car? Reliability Survey and came 18th out of 30 car makers in 2021. However, the A5 Coupé was one of the manufacturer’s better performing models, earning an impressive 95.8% reliability score the same year. Read more here
No version of the Audi A5 Coupé can run on electric power alone, even for short distances, but it does feature mild-hybrid technology. That gives the engine some electrical assistance under hard acceleration, reducing the strain on it and improving efficiency. Read more here
The Audi A5 Coupé’s 201bhp 40 TFSI petrol engine strikes the best balance between performance, affordability and running costs. Plus, there’s no need to go beyond the well-equipped S line – the cheapest trim the 40 TFSI engine is available with. Read more here
The Audi A5 Coupé in entry-level Sport trim comes with lots of standard equipment, including LED headlights, climate and cruise control, a digital instrument display and built-in sat-nav. S line gives you sportier styling, bigger alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension and a wider choice of engines. Read more here
The Audi A5 Coupé’s infotainment touchscreen is more distracting to use on the move than the physical control dial in the BMW 4 Series Coupé. Audi’s system does have intuitive menus and quick responses, though. You can operate many functions using buttons on the steering wheel linked to the Virtual Cockpit digital driver display. Read more here
The Audi A5 Coupé’s boot capacity is 455 litres – slightly smaller than in the Audi A4 saloon (which the A5 is based on). It’s a practical square shape, and beats the 440 litres you get in the BMW 4 Series Coupé. Read more here
|RRP price range||£41,870 - £59,375|
|Number of trims (see all)||3|
|Number of engines (see all)||5|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||diesel, petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||37.7 - 58.9|
|Available doors options||2|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£2,548 / £4,313|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£5,095 / £8,625|