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27 Feb 2009

If Apple build wheels: Audi A5

Audi's first four-seater coupe since 1996, the majestic looking A5's new entry model looks to have this segment sewn up.

BMW calls the X6 a SUV-Coupe. Mercedes Benz calls their CLS a four door Coupe. So what is a coupe? Shouldn't a coupe be a low slung car with just two doors? Dicey. These days, a straight forward answer is not possible anymore.

Regardless of the number of doors or the height, a coupe should stand out on the roads and the car parks among the sea of bland sedans and hatchbacks. Arresting every passerbys' attention with sharp features and smart proportions. Exactly like this week's feature coupe, the Audi A5 2.0 TFSI.

Do not be fooled to think that the A5 coupe is actually a chopped down version of the big selling A4 sedan. Hardly, as the head of design for the entire Volkswagen Group, Walter De'Sliva has cleverly flattened the roof and added sensual curves to the body, easily Audi's most beautiful new car for this decade so far.

In place of a 1.8 turbo, a bigger 2.0 turbo engine takes place as the entry model for Audi's only true four-seater coupe in the rapidly expanding range, gaining 41 horsepower in the process. All Singapore bound A5 2.0 TFSI are front wheel drive only.

By not equipping the A5 2.0 TFSI with Audi's famed Quattro (four-wheel drive), torque steer is evident under hard acceleration from a standstill. However, once on the move, the 2.0 turbocharged engine with 211 horsepower is smooth and adequate with a fruitful sounding exhaust note as well. There is actually more torque from the 2.0 TFSI at 350 NM compared to the more expensive 3.2 FSI A5 (which looks like a suspect among the range now).

Audi's multitronic gearbox is being employed here, that is Audi speak for CVT (Continously Variable Transmission) gearbox. Clearly one of the best examples out there in the market now, as there is none of that irritating retarded acceleration feel that is commonly associated with such gearboxes.

Judging by the A5's appearance, this is not intended to be an outright sports coupe. To be fair, it does drive well, but just not in a hardcore sporty manner. Words like refined and cultured will serve the A5's driving characteristics well. Perhaps it makes sense not to bring in the Quattro version for the 2.0 TFSI, as there is plenty of grip available; there is never a dip in security and composure.

Big bumps do not faze the A5's ride. However, small road irregulations does filter into the cabin. The previously tested top of the range, S5 does have a better sorted out ride despite wearing bigger 19" alloys. The 2.0 TFSI makes do with 18" alloys, but it certainly fills up the wheel arches with conviction.

Audi's premium interior experience is still evident here and will easily trounce any rival. A pity to find somewhat flimsy lower door pockets and plastic door handles. Comparing to the $70K dearer S5, the entry model's omission of goodies like the walls shifting Bang and Olufsen sound system, the huge tilt only roof, but none missed more than Audi's MMI (Multimedia Interface). The need to stretch to reach the grouped controls on on the central console can be distracting for drivers.

Entry to the rear seats is fast and easy; however, there are issues with the space on offer here at the rear. The back of the front seats have cut-outs for additional knee room for the rear passengers, but headroom at the rear is unkind for passengers above 1.8 metres tall. Then again, who buys a coupe if ferrying that many people is your motoring priority?

The local launch for Mercedes Benz's new E-Class coupe is at least six months away and BMW's 3-series coupe dressed in retired Chris Bangle's fussy lines looks dated. The competent Audi A5 2.0 TFSI priced at a reasonable $173K has arrived at the top with ease. If Apple builds a car, it will be right on the dollar, just like the Audi A5.

Audi A5 2.0TFSI
Engine1,970cc 4 cylinder 16V, turbocharged
Transmission Multitronic
Wheels Driven Front
Max. Power 211BHP @4300rpm
Max. Torque 350NM @1500rpm
0-100 km/h 6.9 secs
Top speed240 km/h
Fuel Economy6.6L/100km (combined cycle)
CO2 Emissions154g/km (Euro IV compliant)
Dimensions (L x W x H)/Weight


Price with COE*$173,000

*Prices quoted are indicative of prices in Singapore. Please contact your local distributor for prices in your country.

Check out this week's AutoClub Newsletter for our picks on coupes.

Related Articles:
Heat Seeking Device: Audi S5


1. 2009-02-27 17:30  
The car is rather big, & with only 211bhp, can it really do 0-100km/h in 6.9sec? But it can muster up 350NM of torque at a lowly 1500rpm though. Why dun they give it the 265bhp 2.0i Turbo engine from the S3? Small cc, big turbo power, good for Singapore.
2. 2009-02-27 17:43  
Nice! This is the best coup in the segment. Can't wait to read about the Cabriolet...

as to the competition: "retired Chris Bangle's fussy lines" sums it up perfectly, just don't assume his successor will drag BMW out of the styling mess...

and Mercedes is obviously trying to fool us into thinking the CLK successor is actually an E class - just by badging... still, at least it will get a soft-top convertible, like Audi...
3. 2009-02-27 23:47  
The side profile of the car isn't as stunning as a "coupe" should be. But, heck, still a good one! It's AUDI after all!
5. 2009-02-28 04:24  
Well, personally I saw this FAB couple (PLU, obviously) at Orchard Cali (SG) with a A5 3.2 Quattro this morning.

I would love to see if they can still be SMUG if they see the new A5 2.0 TFSI!!

But nonetheless, a BMW coupe wont make me look longer at them at all!!

6. 2009-02-28 07:32  
@wheelz - the 3.2 certainly isn't any faster than the 2.0 TFSI, but don't forget how useful quattro all-wheel-drive will be in the next blizzard hitting singapore! ;-)

Fab guys will prevail regardless of their wheels though... the other day, the hottest guys were spotted in a CLC :D
7. 2009-03-03 21:13  
I've seen the A5 in the flesh and I must say it looks better than in the photos - the curves and proportions make it look very elegant and sophisticated, unlike the BMW's which looks like it's trying too hard to be noticed. The yet-to-be-launched E-class coupe which purportedly uses the E class platform (as opposed to a C-class platform in the outgoing CLK) is yet another ugly and ill-proportioned Merc. Have you seen photos of its front - what a mess of curves and lines! Compared with the Merc and BMW, the A5 has got real presence.
I don't believe that the 3.2 is slower than the 2.0 TSFI - a very reliable car mag gives the 2.0 TFSI 0-100kmh at 7.8s, the 3.2 V6 FSI Quattro at 6.6s and the S% (my preference) at 5.1s



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