2013 Audi A5 2.0T CoupePosted on October 29th, 2012
Sport coupe gets restyled plus technology updates
By Nina Russin
The Audi A5 and S5 are the automaker’s B-segment performance coupes and cabriolets, aimed at the heart of the luxury market. As Audi seeks to increase its footprint within the segment, its stylish two-door cars become strategic lynchpins.
The automaker’s strategy is to improve fuel economy and interior versatility, while maintaining its very high bar for performance and design. The base 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged engine averages up to 32 miles-per-gallon on the highway according to the EPA, while maintaining the strong acceleration the brand is known for. A six-speed manual transmission on the test car is crisp and responsive, giving the driver ultimate control over how that power is put to use.
While sport coupes aren’t the first type of vehicles which come to mind when addressing active lifestyles, the A5’s fold-flat rear seats enable the driver to extend the cargo floor for skis, snowboards and other large items. Navigation now includes access to Google maps. Audi connect, which comes with the navigation option, turns the car’s interior into a mobile hotspot.
Pricing begins at $37,850, excluding the $895 destination charge. An option package upgrades the test car to a premium plus model by adding automatic dimming mirrors with compass and heaters (side mirrors only), Bluetooth interface, heated front seats with driver’s seat memory and xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and tail lamps ($3550).
Navigation with Audi connect, rearview camera and Bluetooth streaming audio costs $3050. Other options on the test car include 19-inch wheels with summer tires ($800); sport seats with power lumbar and sport suspension ($750); and polished exhaust tips ($140); bringing the final MSRP to $47,035.
The 2013 A5 acquires Audi’s new design language, including a redesigned grille, bumper, splitter and front air intakes, new headlamps and LED running lamps. From the front, the Ibis white test car with its blacked-out grille looks very much like a civilized panther, dressed up in a tux.
Buyers can also opt for redesigned LED tail lamps. Inside, designers revamped the instrument cluster, and added new upholstery choices. Buyers of the S5 can also opt for a three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Test drive in southern Arizona
This week I drove the A5 around Phoenix’s east valley including surface streets and freeways before heading into the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. I expected the A5 to perform well on the two-lane Bush Highway east of town, but was pleasantly surprised by how easy the clutch was to live with in thick traffic.
Audi’s electro-mechanical steering system now only saves weight under the hood, but offers the driver exceptional feedback at all speeds. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops peak torque, 258 foot-pounds, at speeds as low as 1500 rpm for robust low-end acceleration. The coupe accelerates from zero-to-sixty in 7.2 seconds, according to the manufacturer.
The A5 is as intuitive a car as I have ever driven. It literally reads the driver’s instincts.
The manual transmission has enough range within the gears to prevent the driver from having to shift constantly in traffic. Standard quattro all-wheel drive automatically sends engine power to the wheels with the best traction to improve handling on rain and snow-covered road. It also enhances cornering at speed by preventing the wheels from breaking free.
Visibility around the perimeter is good. I had no problems monitoring traffic in adjacent lanes on the freeway. The rearview camera not only eliminates blind spots in back of the car; it makes it much easier for the driver to monitor cross-traffic behind the vehicle in parking lots.
Xenon headlamps on the test car made for excellent visibility at night. On some poorly lit streets in the neighborhood, they made it much easier to see pedestrians.
The four-wheel independent suspension includes a five-link design up front with stabilizer bars. Sport tuning enhances the system’s performance during aggressive cornering and helps the chassis recover from dips and pitchy hills.
Ventilated disc brakes up front and solid discs in the back stop the A5 in a firm, linear fashion.
Audi has done an excellent job of putting all his necessities at the driver’s fingertips, without cluttering up the center console or instrument panel. Both the center stack screen and instrument panel are easy to rear in a variety of lighting conditions. A standard sunroof opens up the interior with ambient light.
A mouse device controls climate and infotainment options. For anyone who has used a personal computer, it’s intuitive to operate. A rotary knob on the steering wheel makes it easy to adjust audio volume while driving.
The short-throw shift lever allows the driver to flick through the gears. An electronic parking brake saves a lot of interior space as compared to a mechanical lever, and ensures that the driver applies enough pressure to make the device engage properly.
As much as Germans hate cupholders, they have conceded to the fact that Americans won’t buy cars without them. The A5 has bottle holders in the front doors and a large enough cupholder in the center console to hold a 20-ounce water bottle.
As someone with periodic lower lumbar problems, I’m a sucker for adjustable lumbar controls. I found the driver’s seat quite comfortable for the two-hour test drive. Controls on the top of the seatback move it forward and out of the way for passengers entering and exiting the back seats.
There isn’t an abundance of legroom in back, nor headroom due to the roof’s sharp rake. But small adults should be comfortable. Vents behind the center console circulate air through the back of the cabin.
The Audi A5 comes with front, side and side curtain, driver and front passenger knee airbags, antilock brakes, vehicle stability control and all-wheel drive.
Audi’s factory warranty includes complimentary first scheduled maintenance and four years of roadside assistance. Audi builds the A5 at its Ingolstadt, Germany assembly plant.
Like: A beautiful sport coupe with excellent performance, good gas mileage and a high level of standard safety features.
Model: A5 2.0T Coupe quattro manual
Base price: $37,850
As tested: $47,035
Horsepower: 211 Hp @ 4300 rpm
Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. @ 1500 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 7.2 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy:* 22/32 mpg city/highway
Comment: *The manufacturer recommends the use of premium unleaded gasoline.
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