Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.0L I4
Power:
211 HP / 258 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
6.2 Seconds
Top Speed:
130 MPH (limited)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,681 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
12.2 CU-FT
MPG:
20 City / 30 HWY
Preparing For A Fight



Any car tasked with taking on the BMW 3 Series has a tough road ahead of it – both in the showroom and, literally, on the road. Such is the fate the Audi A5 has faced since hitting the scene in 2008, going up against one of the most cheered and revered coupes on the market. To take on BMW's two-door titan (as well as a growing number of luxury coupes), Audi has spent every year since the A5's debut tweaking and changing it, giving the range a lineup of trims and models that has been simplified almost to perfection: Those who desire a great-looking luxury coupe with solid fuel economy can have the A5, while those who want more power can spend more money for the S5, and then, of course, there's the monstrous new-to-the-US RS5.

For 2013, changes to the A5 and its sportier derivatives have focused largely on the car's design, which is a pretty important factor since customers in this segment are likely putting style and luxury at the top of their checklists. The mildly updated A5 borrows heavily from some of the newer design cues found on other Audi models, including newly angular headlights and unmistakable LED running lamps, while other slight changes bring modest improvements to the interior and fuel economy. With a new BMW coupe hitting the scene next year (reportedly switching its name to 4 Series) and recent additions to the segment including the Cadillac CTS Coupe and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, we spent a week in the updated 2013 A5 to see if these changes will be enough to keep the five-year-old A5 relevant while going up against much younger models.
2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro side view2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro front view2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro rear view

Audi has made LED running lights into an art form.

With just a nip here and a tuck there, the A5's facelift is effective in differentiating it from the previous design without straying too far from what made the original car look so darn good in the first place, and Audi has done this with a subtlety that few other automakers can pull off. The biggest change to the car's exterior styling is a reworked front end with edgier lines around the signature single-frame grille and new headlights showing off a more angular shape. Audi has made LED running lights into an art form, and the these new headlamps make the A5 look mean day or night. To a lesser degree, the taillights have also been updated with a different internal lighting setup that also gives the car a good nighttime appearance. Our Ibis White test car sported 18-inch wheels with a sharp V-spoke layout that has a design very similar to a jet engine's turbine blades.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the A5's aggressive new exterior styling, the changes made inside this car are far more restrained. As a testament to how great this interior was back in 2008, Audi has only made small tweaks to the interior, such as a new three-spoke steering wheel, reworked gauge cluster and a more ergonomic shift lever. It remains one of the best interiors of just about any car on sale, both in terms of styling and ease of use. In a day when interiors are either cramming in too many buttons and switches or getting rid of conventional controls altogether, the A5 is surprisingly minimalistic without being confusing or complicated. Designed to be a driver's car, the cabin is obviously built around the pilot with a clean cockpit look, easy-to-see gauges and readouts, and easy-to-use controls, but the entire interior shows Audi's attention to detail with just about every surface decked out in soft-touch materials, soft leathers and real metal accents. The oversized sunroof finishes off the sporty and open atmosphere by bringing plenty of light into the cabin, but it only tilts up about an inch or so, and can't slide back.

2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro headlight2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro grille2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro wheel2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro taillight

It's good to know that the rear seats can accommodate adult passengers in reasonable comfort.

From the driver's seat, it's hard to find many faults with the A5's cabin, and those that we could dig up felt more like nitpicks. A thicker-rimmed steering wheel would be great to give the cabin a sportier vibe, and while the placement and button layout of the audio controls on non-navi-equipped models (like our tester) could take a little getting used to for people not familiar with Audi products, the operation of these controls are ultimately simple and not distracting. Even without navigation, though, the A5 still receives the same large display screen to view information for the audio system, and between this screen and the smaller digital multifunction display in the gauge cluster, it's easy for the driver to view all pertinent vehicle information.

As nice as it is to occupy the driver's seat is in the A5, the rest of the car's cabin is more of the same in terms of remarkable materials, design and even some practicality. Yes, we just said that a coupe is practical. Surprisingly, the A5 doesn't give up much in terms of headroom or legroom compared to the A4 sedan, making it possible for four adults to fit in the car. While we wouldn't want to be seated in the rear seats for a lengthy road trip, it's good to know that if needed, the rear seats can accommodate adult passengers in reasonable comfort. The trunk space of the A5 is also only just fractionally smaller than its four-door counterpart, so there is room for plenty of luggage as well.

2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro interior2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro front seats2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro rear seats2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro sunroof

This transmission is one of the best automatics used by the Volkswagen Group in terms of shift points and response.

Speaking of space, we know there is enough room underhood for a V8, but since 2011, the standard engine for the A5 has been the 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged, direct-injected inline four-cylinder that helps balance power and fuel economy. The engine's 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque are sent to the ground using Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, and our tester came with the company's optional eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. For hardcore enthusiasts about to cry foul that we didn't test the six-speed manual gearbox, just remember that the A5 Cabrio comes in standard trim with front-wheel drive that offers a Continuously Variable Transmission as an option. On top of that, this transmission is one of the best automatics used by the Volkswagen Group in terms of shift points and response, and for a sportier feel, it's easy enough to just knock the shift lever into Sport mode for a bit more excitement. Thanks to plenty of low-end of torque, the A5 is still a lot of fun to drive, even in Standard mode.

That being said, the A5 isn't the fastest or quickest car in its class, but it is very well-balanced, which is improved upon in 2013 with a new electric power-assisted steering system that helps make the car both more sporty and fuel efficient. On the driving side of things, the steering response of this new EPAS system is just about perfect, giving good feedback at speed without feeling too heavy at lower speeds. As for fuel economy, out tester with the eight-speed auto improved its EPA estimate on the highway up to 30 miles per gallon (+1 mpg compared to the 2012 A5), though oddly enough it's decreased by the same amount in the city with a rating of 20 mpg. During our week with the A5 2.0T, we generally saw around 25 mpg in mixed driving when avoiding Sport mode.

2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro engine

Regardless of how it's used, the A5 definitely doesn't look or feel its age.

Strong fuel economy is nice, but the name of the game has always been balance when it comes to the A5, and the 2013 model still delivers. In addition to the new power steering, the A5's engine, transmission and braking system all operate in a manner that doesn't feel too sports-car jerky or luxury-car numb. Even the actual balance of the car feels perfectly distributed from front to rear, even though Audi doesn't actually list the A5's weight distribution. Despite weighing a couple hundred pounds more than a comparable 3 Series Coupe, the A5 might be its closest handling rival thanks to a wider stance (both its track and width are about three inches wider) and standard all-wheel drive. The A5 does, however, weigh about 400 pounds less than a comparable Cadillac CTS Coupe and around 150 pounds less than an Infiniti G37x Coupe. On paper, Audi claims the car's acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour is 6.2 seconds, which is far from quick these days, but between the lag-free turbo engine and quick-shifting transmission, the A5 doesn't disappoint. Besides, if it's off-the-line performance you seek, Audi dealers will gladly show you to the S5 or RS5.

Many people perceive the A5 as a sporty car, but it still has all of the qualities that we expect from Audi luxury, such as a smooth ride and quiet interior. We can't remember the last time a car with frameless windows was as quiet as the A5, and between the compliant suspension and comfortable seats, this car would feel good whether being driven on a winding back road or long highway. Regardless of how it's used, though, the A5 definitely doesn't look or feel its age.

2013 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro rear 3/4 view

Audi's restyled A5 is a complete package.

It's hard to believe that the Audi A5 is already five years old – an age when most cars are approaching a complete redesign – but Audi's new styling cues ensure that it's still one of the best-looking luxury coupes on the market. On top of its styling, the Quattro-equipped A5 also has a lower starting price than its all-wheel-drive competitors, and with an as-tested price $43,635, we were even a little surprised that our tester wound up a couple grand lower than comparably equipped versions of the G37x Coupe, 328i xDrive and CTS Coupe AWD (Benz's C250 Coupe does not offer all-wheel drive) – no easy feat for a German car going up against American and Japanese rivals.

And more than just a pretty face, Audi's restyled A5 is a complete package offering up to a 32-mpg highway rating (when you opt for the manual transmission), entertaining driving dynamics and a full range of models that satisfies a full spectrum of driving styles. While this entry-level A5 trim won't likely knock the upcoming 4 Series Coupe from its destined throne just yet, or out-accelerate V6-powered models like the CTS and Infiniti G37, it's meant to look good and drive better, and it does both exceptionally well.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 117 Comments
      ferps
      • 2 Years Ago
      The one thing that bothers me about the refreshed A5 and S5: where did the great wheel styles go? The A5's 19" Y-design wheel is gone, and the S5's split 5-spoke is gone. Why replace them with these much homelier choices, Audi?
      Lachmund
      • 2 Years Ago
      i always thought this white metallic is the perfect colour for the a5...gorgeous
        Agilis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lachmund
        The metallic white used by Audi is Glacier White Metallic.
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      AB/Jeffrey, can we have a comparo of this, the BMW 3 coupe, Infiniti, etc.? Even if you just give us this vs. the 3 (aka "soon to be 4") I'd be really really interested to see what you think. I've driven both 9ver somewhat long distances (5+ hours) and I love them for different reasons. I love looking at the A5 (inside and out) much more and it does have a nice ride quality. However, the 328 just eats up road.
        jeffreynross
        • 2 Years Ago
        @telm12345
        that's a great idea! i'll pass it along
        约更
        • 2 Years Ago
        @telm12345
        Hahaha, You should see me on a snowy road in the Alps, overtaking those helpless BMWs sliding backwards down the hill, while my Quattro is eating snow...
      Evan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I leased a 2012 Audi TT last December and it's been absolutely flawless, so I'm not sure where all the comments about reliability are coming from. It's been exceptional and definitely has some punch to it (especially when shifted into "sport" mode.) The A5 doesn't photograph well but in person, the proportions, stance and road presence are breathtaking. It's a classic design that still looks great even in its 5th model year. Excited that I'll be turning in the TT soon and will probably get this or wait for the A3 sedan to come out later next year.
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Evan
        No offense, but a statement of reliability based on a car that is at most 2 years old isnt a very good sample size.
          Evan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Matt
          Matt...good point! ha ha. 12K completely trouble-free miles. But in comparison, I went through transmissions on my Honda Accord and Mazda6 (both were factory recalls, I didn't kill them, I swear!) I can handle little problems here and there, but a transmission after 20K miles? Really? All I know is that I'm happy with the Audi so far and will likely go with another one over a BMW next time. That's saying a lot because I think the new 3 and 5-series are gorgeous.
        mxrz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Evan
        The A5 doesn't photograph well... Really? http://maxx.wolltech.com/AFive/
        theharpyeagle
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Evan
        If Matt wasn't impressed, then what about this - 2009 A4, 80,000 km, absolutely trouble free (touching wood now). And original brake pads (which I can't fathom).
          kcroc10077
          • 2 Years Ago
          @theharpyeagle
          That's not really impressive. 3 year old car with 50k miles. How 'bout this... 1996 Jetta GLX 230,000+ miles --had some issues (window regulators I'm looking at you) but engine is as strong as ever. How I'd love a return to the VR6 for the GLI and Golf R. Or how about this.. 2001 Acura MDX 189,000+ miles. Only issue has been a EGR valve which Acura extended the warranty on. Or this... 2008 M3...other than normal maintenance no issues to report. One More---Green Trek mountain bike...after repeated beatings and many miles gear shift housing has broken.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Haaaawt, fap fap fap!
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        Awwww, I just noticed the 130mph limited top speed. That's a deal breaker, as I'd end up being late to work half the time due to that limitation.
          Dayv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ducman69
          Software-limited, I think. Defeatable with after-market software (as is the warranty, mind you).
      Matthew Simmons
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love the design inside and out, they are simple and elegant.
      Adrian Elliot
      • 2 Years Ago
      To those complaining about a "small" engine for a car of this price: For some premium car buyers, efficiency is luxury, and I'd rather not be required to fill my tank as often as the larger Audi V6 and V8 engines necessitate.
      4gasem
      • 2 Years Ago
      That engine is WITHOUT DOUBT under rated from Audi. No way a 3681 pound car with AWD can hit 60 that quickly with so few HP and TQ. Still a beautiful car...
        TheLeadFoot
        • 2 Years Ago
        @4gasem
        100% correct. I just reviewed one of these and it's very fast. It feels like they underrated the engine by about 50hp...almost absurd. Still beautiful. It's a design that has way more presence in person than in photos because of it's extreme width.
          4gasem
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TheLeadFoot
          Yeah... That's A LOT of weight with a lot of unsprung weight to get moving that quickly. Not to mention that many people are making considerably more HP from the same displacement engine. BMW and Ford to name a couple...
        RodRAEG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @4gasem
        Why? It's got plenty of torque for off the line grunt and an 8-speed tiptronic which shifts faster than any human. Seems about right to me. Lighter cars with similar power output and awd have the same or faster acceleration from what I've seen.
      activex101
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi continues to make some of the most boring cars in existence. Look at that thing. It's a blob. No exiting lines. No sense of purpose. It almost looks like a Toyota grocery getter. The only luxury company that gets bigger yawns is Lexus.
        约更
        • 2 Years Ago
        @activex101
        Audi design looks timeless beautiful over several decades. Look at an 5 year old BMW X5, an old E Class or even worse, aged american Car design, looks **** ugly after a few years, Audi not.
          Lachmund
          • 2 Years Ago
          @约更
          true dat
          CJ_313
          • 2 Years Ago
          @约更
          @ 约更: Even the orginal BMW X5 still looks great today. And "aged american car designs?" That was a very broad statement. Please keep your bias to yourself.
      kcroc10077
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are so many people butt hurt because some want and expect more power from a luxury sport coupe. If you don't fine but why does that translate into piss and vinegar towards others who don't share that opinion. Remember when the V-6 Mustang had 200 hp (by the way that's similar to the A5's power figure, just sayin)? I wouldn't buy that Mustang because I expect more from a pony car. If others wanted it, well its their money to spend. Same thing applies here. If you want to spend that type of money because its an Audi well feel free. I'll hold or better yet get a CPO S5.
        superchan7
        • 2 Years Ago
        @kcroc10077
        Remember when the Mustang GT had 210 hp coming from a V8?
      Fernando
      • 2 Years Ago
      You would have to be on some serious drugs to pay for $43K for a 210HP 4cyl Audi. You can go buy a lot more car for that kind of money and not deal with crap Audi reliability. I would even consider buying a top end Hyundai in this era of Autos before this thing. But to each his own right? 130mph (limited) yeah limited to what that engine can do.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Fernando
        Yea why would anyone buy this when you can get a 420hp Mustang for $10k less. /sarcasm
          jtav2002
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          I wasn't knocking the Mustang I was knocking the people who would compare a car like this, to that. Being a coupe and X price point doesn't automatically make a car a competitor. Personally I wouldn't buy any Audi unless I could pony up the cash for at least an S model. But I'd venture to guess a lot of people looking at 3 series coupes and 5 series Audi's, etc. more often than not are not going to cross shop with the Mustang, regardless of the fit and finish. Same way if someone wants an M3, they're probably not going to care they could save some cash and get a GT500.
          libertedelacroix
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          Sorry Nick, but truly spoken like a mustang owner. Has Ford come a long way? Absolutely. Although, a long way from some of the worst products is not saying much. Hyundai/Kia have gone ALOT farther than Ford, and the Genesis sedan has an interior just as nice as my Audi. However, the Audi still is leagues above anything Ford has produced.
          约更
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          Compare a Mustang to an Audi is like comparing filet steak with a Big Mac
          NickDG
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          I have a 2013 Mustang GT Premium and the fit and finish is excellent. Sticker was 38K and with 420HP it's a steal. Ford has come a long way with the Mustang which now allows it to compete with these underpowered and overpriced luxury coupes.
          Fernando
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          It's funny how you automatically assume I am a Mustang owner. Nope wrong. But I would buy an Inifiniti or Lexus any day of the week over Audi's over priced under reliable crap. Just a smart consumer that's all.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Fernando
        Yup, horsepower is everything. Who cares about luxury, confort, handling and all these stupids other things. I NEED OVERCOMPENSATION NOW!!!!!
          Fernando
          • 2 Years Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          I'm not saying that I am just saying $43K is a lot of money for a 4 banger. You can get a Infiniti G37x that has the exact same features as this take away the 4 circles on the hood, for $10K less. I personally would go that route being a smarter consumer that's all. I personally feel that if you are in the market for a luxury coupe then it should have more then 211hp and a 4cyl engine come on that's just a slap in the face at that price point.
          Fernando
          • 2 Years Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          Oh yeah and the G37x is 330HP that's over 100 HP more for $10K less. Man those are some expensive circles on that grill.
      Dvanos
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow for $43k, that engine bay looks sort of cheap like it's from a VW.
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