And because design is the reason buyers choose coupes, Audi says it had to be stunning. Based on the styling cues seen first in the Nuvolari quattro concept from 2003's show-car circuit, the A5 and the companion sport model, the S5, are two-door coupes with a muscular, almost American silhouette.
Inside, the A5's cabin is driver-focused like that in the A6 sedan. Keyless entry and an integral Multi Media Interface (MMI) -- generally our favorite of the mouse-controller systems from Germany - are some of the technological spiffs bundled in the cockpit.
Behind its skin, the 182.3-inch-long A5 cruises along with a stiff body structure and an independent suspension front and rear. The front suspension is a five-link design mounted to a subframe for rigidity and quietness. The rear suspension is a trapezoidal multi-link setup.
A range of engines will power the front-drive A5, which will also come with a quattro all-wheel-drive option. The top engine is a 3.2-liter direct-injection V-6 with 265 hp. Audi says the engine, when teamed with a six-speed manual, will push the A5 to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph.
A direct-injection turbocharged 1.8-liter four will also be offered. The 170-hp engine will be available from the fall of 2007, Audi says.
In Europe, two diesels also will be offered. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel makes 240 hp. A 190-hp, 2.7-liter turbodiesel V-6 also will be available.
All A5 coupes will come with standard 17-inch wheels, the Audi MMI system, a CD player, a power trunklid, keyless entry and an electromechanical parking brake. Options will include dynamic cornering headlights, three-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, a DVD navigation system, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system with 500 watts of power and 14 speakers.
For fans with more distinct tastes, an S-line package will be offered. The A5 S-line will wear crisper bumpers and a new front end, sport seats, leather trim inside and dash trim in aluminum, Piano Black, or Vavona wood, and 18-inch wheels.
The ultimate A5 coupe will be the S5, which will be launched at the same time as the standard versions. The S5 will be powered by a 354-horsepower V-8 capable of a 5.1-second sprint to 62 mph. Running gear will include a six-speed manual, quattro all-wheel drive, and a tuned suspension coupled to high-performance brakes with black calipers. A choice of interior trim - carbon fiber, steel, aluminum, or wood - will be paired with 18-inch, 40-series treads and xenon headlights.
In Europe the A5 and S5 will go on sale in the summer. U.S. deliveries are expected to begin by the end of the year.