2012 A5 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A5 are stylish coupes and convertibles featuring luxurious cabins and that handling precision that goes with Audi quattro all-wheel drive. The same goes for the high-performance Audi S5.
The A5 and S5 were launched as 2008 models. There are no significant changes for the 2012 model year. Some new wheel designs have been added and there have been some minor changes to the packaging of standard features and options.
Audi A5 and S5 are grand touring cars designed to cover lots of ground at high speed while coddling two occupants. The rear seats are for the occasional adult passengers or for bringing kids along. The A5 involves the driver physically, audibly, and mentally though never to the point of making it a chore or less than inviting. The Audi S5 can be hustled down virtually any road at a good clip. These are substantial cars, however, so they don't behave like small, lightweight sports cars.
The A5 looks distinctive and is very attractive from any angle, with flowing curves bringing musculature to sleek, aerodynamic forms and arresting light patterns. Viewed from behind there's a chance of mistaking an A5 for a British GT, but from any other angle it's unmistakably Audi.
Audi interiors have been racking up awards for a long time and the A5 is in the same mold. It has the features expected, good ergonomics, a central interface system that won't drive you to cursing, and it's all assembled to a high standard using appropriate materials. Despite the standard all-wheel drive on most models it also has reasonable trunk space, so you can enjoy a road trip without sending clubs and luggage FedEx.
The Audi A5 delivers confidence and luxury in a package not likely to be seen at every intersection. The Audi S5 delivers more performance and luxury, which comes at a higher price, yet it still represents a decent value among high-performance coupes.
Audi A5 competes primarily with BMW 3 Series coupes and convertibles, Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupes and convertibles, and the Infiniti G37 coupe. Audi S5 offers capabilities that it might also be shopped against the Jaguar XK or Porsche 911. All of these are fine cars, but only the 911 can match the S5 with the availability of all-wheel drive, and with the Porsche it comes at a substantially higher price. Quattro all-wheel drive comes standard on all A5 models except one convertible.
The Audi A5 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. EPA fuel economy numbers for the Audi A5 Coupe with the four-cylinder engine, manual gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive are 21/31 mpg City/Highway. For the Audi A5 Cabriolet with the four-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive, the figures are 22/30 mpg. Automatic quattros get an EPA-rated 21/29 mpg.
The Audi S5 Cabriolet is powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with S-tronic 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The supercharged V6 has 333 horsepower, 325 pound-feet of torque on tap and a quick-shifting automated manual gearbox for performance. The federal government rates the S5 at 17/26 mpg.
The Audi S5 Coupe uses a high-revving 4.2-liter V8, with 354 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, essentially a milder version of the engine in the Audi R8 mid-engine sports car. The S5 coupe uses a 6-speed automatic or manual gearbox, the latter the quickest of all S5 models. Fuel economy from the V8 is an EPA-estimated 16/24 mpg with the automatic, 14/22 mpg with the manual gearbox.
The Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T Premium ($37,100) has the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine, quattro all-wheel drive, and 6-speed manual gearbox or 8-speed automatic ($38,300). The Audi A5 Cabriolet with front-wheel drive and CVT ($42,600) and the A5 Cabriolet quattro 6-speed automatic ($44,700) also use the 2.0T engine. Audi uses the name Tiptronic for conventional automatic transmissions and S tronic for dual-clutch automated transmissions. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
The 2012 Audi A5 line comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
Premium trim includes leather upholstery, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter, climate control, power front seats, 50/50 split-fold rear seat with pass-through, tilt/telescoping steering column, aluminum cabin trim, moonroof, trip computer, AM/FM/CD/satellite/SD-card 180-watt 10-speaker stereo, fog lights, heated windshield washers, cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels and power windows/locks/heated mirrors. The Cabriolet model adds the fabric folding top with heated glass rear window and wind blocker, and keeps the split folding rear seat. Premium options include Bluetooth/HomeLink/iPod cabling ($1000), heated front seats ($450), cinnamon-brown Milano leather ($1,000), and walnut wood trim ($350). Metallic paint is $475 for any A5/S5.
Premium Plus ($3,900) adds to a Premium bi-Xenon headlights with LED running lights, LED tail lamps, three-zone automatic climate control, driver memory system, heated front seats, iPod interface, Bluetooth, HomeLink garage-door opener, and auto-dimming heated exterior mirrors. Premium Plus options include HDD-navigation with DVD player and HD radio, ($2,000); Sport package ($1,000) with three-spoke steering wheel, sport seats with lumbar, sports suspension; Bang & Olufsen sound system ($850); 19-inch wheels ($800); advanced key ($550) rear park sensors ($550) and walnut wood trim ($350). Cabriolets also offer a Comfort package ($2,400) with heated and ventilated Milano leather sport seats with lumbar and a neck-level heating system.
Prestige trim ($5,300 over Premium Plus) adds to the Premium Plus package with advanced key system, navigation with voice control, color-information screen, rear park sensors and camera, adaptive headlamps, blind spot warning and a Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker, 505-watt sound system. Prestige options are the 18-icnh wheel sport package ($1,000); S line package ($1,500) with 19-inch wheels/performance tires, black leather/alcantara sport seats, S line specific cabin trim and bodywork; Audi drive select ($2,950); adaptive cruise control and collision-mitigation braking ($2,100); power rear window sunshade ($300); wood trim; and the Cabriolet Comfort package.
Audi S5 Coupe uses 4.2-liter V8 and is available with a 6-speed manual transmission ($53,900 plus federal gas guzzler tax $1300) or 6-speed automatic ($55,100). Larger brakes and firmer suspension are among the mechanical upgrades for the high-performance S models.
Premium Plus is the standard S5 spec, with the equipment of an A5 of that grade plus 19-inch wheels and high-performance tires, sports suspension, S5 sport seats in Nappa leather and aluminum door sill inserts as standard. Options include navigation; sports rear differential ($1100); wheels; Alcantara seat inserts; Bang & Olufsen sound system; and cabin trim of carbon atlas, gray birch, stainless mesh and piano black lacquer. Prestige ($6300) adds the features outlined in A5 coupe Prestige. Prestige model options include those directly above that are not standard. Also available for S5 Prestige: Audi driver select ($3,950) with adaptive damping, dynamic steering, sports rear differential; Audi side assist; adaptive cruise control; and power rear sunshade.
Audi S5 Cabriolet Premium Plus ($59,300) and Prestige ($65,600) are fitted with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and 7-speed S tronic transmission. The S5 Cabriolet is equipped much like the S5 coupe with the convertible’s extras.
Safety gear that comes standard on all A5 and S5 models consists of two-stage driver and adaptive passenger frontal airbags, front knee airbags, front side-impact airbags, active headrests, electronic stability control, ABS, EBD and tire-pressure monitors. All except one A5 Cabriolet come with all-wheel drive. The coupes also have side-curtain airbags and LATCH child-seat anchors in back.