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Used test: Audi A5 Coupé vs Mercedes E-Class Coupé

Buy one of these upmarket coupés from Audi and Mercedes used and you could save up to £20,000 on the price, but which should you have on your driveway?...

Audi A5 Coupe vs Mercedes C-Class Coupe

The Contenders

Audi A5 Coupé  3.0 TDI 218 quattro Sport

List price when new £39,885
Price today  £20,000*
Available from 2016-present

Our half-price A5 may have the large V6 engine and four-wheel drive, but it's still as efficient as the four-cylinder Mercedes

Mercedes E-Class Coupé E220d AMG Line

List price when new  £40,135
Price today £25,000*
Available from 2016-present

Undeniably handsome and boasting plenty of interior space, the E-Class is a seriously desirable coupé

*Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

By their very nature, a premium-brand coupé is going to cost you a lot of money. You'll have to dig deep if you want something with an upmarket badge that offers the effortless performance, luxurious interior and reasonable room for passengers and luggage you'd expect from such a car. 

However, there is a way to save yourself splashing out a fortune, and that's to buy one used. Here, we've lined up two of the best, but both are nearing four years old, and will set you back nearly half the cost of what they cost new. Both are packed with state-of-the-art infotainment gadgets, offer hot hatch levels of straight-line performance and are capable of at least 60mpg.

Audi A5 Coupe

In the über-luxurious corner is the Mercedes E-Class Coupé. This E-Class, in four-cylinder E 220 d form, finds itself in the firing line of the smaller yet more powerful Audi A5 Coupé. With a plush interior, smooth V6 diesel engine and a confidence-inspiring four-wheel drive system, the A5 should make for tough opposition.


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

The E-Class is the more glamorous of our duo. So it might come as something of a surprise to learn that the A5 offers far greater refinement at lower speeds.

Thumb the A5’s starter button and its 215bhp 3.0-litre diesel V6 stirs into life with a muted hum. Thanks to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox, the A5 effortlessly gains speed. Only a gentle squeeze of your right foot is required to breeze up to motorway speeds, but put your foot down hard away from a standstill and you’ll be doing 62mph in less than 6.5sec.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

The 191bhp E-Class is far from sluggish but can’t whisk you up to speed as quickly as the A5 can, and its four-cylinder diesel engine sounds comparatively gruff – especially when you’re pottering around town. Thankfully, things improve once you pick up speed, with the engine quietening down and its nine-speed automatic gearbox doing a stellar job of blurring gearshifts, as long as you aren’t in a hurry.

You can try to take control of gearshifts using paddles on the back of the steering wheel, but there’s little benefit in doing so in the E-Class, because the car often overrides your commands. The A5’s gearbox, on the other hand, reacts more obediently to your requests, although it isn’t perfect, sometimes dithering when you ask for a quick getaway in automatic mode.

New Audi A5 Coupe vs new Mercedes E-Class Coupe

The A5 is the more agile car on twisty country roads, swaying about far less than the portlier E-Class. Neither demonstrates what you’d call entertaining handling, but the A5’s combination of accurate steering, tight body control and four-wheel drive traction makes it surprisingly quick point to point – whatever the weather. The E-Class, on the other hand, doesn’t appreciate being asked to change direction quickly and its more artificial-feeling steering – which gets quicker the more lock you apply – fails to fill you with confidence.

However, the E-Class claws back some points when it comes to ride comfort. On the standard Agility Control suspension set-up of our test car, it soaks up speed bumps and larger undulations very effectively, although expansion joints and potholes tend to send nasty shudders through the car. The A5 is always firmer (sports suspension is standard in Sport specification), so you feel more minor ripples as they pass beneath you, but actually it’s the more controlled of the two over really beaten-up surfaces.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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