Audi A5


Debut: 2016
Maker: Audi
Predecessor: A5 (2007)



 Published on 30 Jun 2016
All rights reserved. 

New A5 is a competent Autobahn cruiser but not the car you would choose to attack back roads...


The first generation Audi A5 Coupe lasted for 9 long years but few people found it memorable. It was neither exciting to drive nor to look, which is to say Audi used to overstate its beauty. It might have a waist line sexier than what we used to see on German coupes, but the rest of the car remained more Germanic restrained than Italian emotional. Certainly no Alfa Romeo or Maserati-sexy. Now the A5 Coupe is finally renewed. Surprisingly, its shape looks much the same as before. That flowing waist line remains, as are the proportion and window openings. What Audi changed are the details, such as crisper crease lines, edgier headlamps and the new hexagonal front grille. The latter gets slimmer, wider and mounted lower. The bonnet now curves more dramatically downward to meet the grille. Frankly, these edgy elements do not gel very well with the harmonious shape, so they just serve to look different rather than to improve the aesthetic. I would be surprised if such design could last more than 5 years, let alone matching the lifespan of its predecessor.

One thing the new shape does improve is aerodynamics, which is a surprise considering the edgy elements. Its coefficient of drag drops to 0.25, beating even Mercedes C-class Coupe (0.26) thus it is the very best of the class. Audi doesn’t talk a lot about aerodynamic development, but it quietly leapfrogs Mercedes.


Engine by engine, the A5 Coupe is no quicker than its 4-door sedan sister.


Aerodynamics helps fuel efficiency, so does a lighter chassis and body. As you have predicted, the new A5 is once again built on the A4 platform – this time the lightweight MLB Evo. It uses a lot of high-strength steel and some aluminum parts – such as crash beams, front suspension tower brackets and suspension components – to save weight. The whole car is 60 kg lighter than its predecessor, pretty good considering its wheelbase is stretched by 12 mm and overall length grows 40 mm. Compare with A4, its wheelbase is 56 mm shorter, while front and rear tracks are slightly wider. Disappointingly, losing  2 doors and a couple of inches in wheelbase save only 10 to 15 kilograms, so engine by engine, the A5 Coupe is no quicker than its 4-door sedan sister.

The suspension is carried over from the A4, although it is stiffened slightly. Both the front and rear wheels ride on 5-link suspension with optional adaptive damping. Other performance features are shared with the A4 as well, such as active rear differential and (active variable-ratio) Dynamic Steering. The former is especially useful to cure the car’s inherent imbalance. It goes without saying the MLB Evo platform still has the engine mounted longitudinally north of the front axle, so it has no hope to match BMW or Jaguar for static balance. Even the use of Quattro system doesn’t help much in this respect. Lower power models employ the new fuel-saving Quattro Ultra system, which uses a multi-plate clutch to engage the rear axle only if more traction is required. Higher power models, such as the top 3.0 TDI and S5, employ Torsen C center differential for a normal torque split of 40:60 front to rear. In extreme cases this can be varied to at most 30:70 or 85:15, but you can't always get the desired bias because the Torsen is a pure mechanical and passive device.


MLB Evo platform still has the engine mounted longitudinally north of the front axle, so it has no hope to match BMW or Jaguar for static balance.


As the coupe is mechanically so close to the A4, it is not a surprise to see it drives with a similar manner, i.e. more about refinement than excitement. Compared with the last generation, its ride quality is a huge improvement, dealing well with most surfaces except the bumpiest. Noise suppression is also good. On the downside, the steering is again vague. Response of the optional Dynamic Steering is still inconsistent and unpredictable (Audi and BMW should have abandoned active steering for a mechanical variable-ratio rack like Mercedes-AMG). Handling is more predictable and secured, but neither the front-wheel-drive models nor Quattro cars can match the rear-drive BMW or Mercedes for turn-in response, throttle adjustability and driver engagement. This means the A5 is a competent Autobahn cruiser but not the car you would choose to attack back roads, because it won’t put smile on your face.

Powertrain is a similar story. The 190 hp 2.0TFSI Miller-cycle, 252 hp 2.0TFSI and 218 hp 3.0TDI V6 are all efficient and civilized engines but not powerful or tuneful enough to raise your pulse. Best of the bunch is the 286 hp 3.0 TDI diesel V6, which is strong, flexible and impossibly refined for a diesel engine. It gets from rest to 60 mph in only 5 seconds, although you might not feel so fast as the exhaust note is subdued. Unfortunately, the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic has a poor calibration, failing to downchange as quickly as you want in tighter turns. It is not the best application of the ZF auto.


It breathes a strong smell of luxury that you normally get in a class or two above...


The best thing is the cabin. Although the whole dashboard comes straight from A4, it is stylish and built with class-leading quality. It breathes a strong smell of luxury that you normally get in a class or two above, making BMW 4-Series feel cheap in comparison. With “virtual cockpit” instrument display opted, it also feels incredibly advanced and sophisticated. The cabin is not too spacious, but the stretched wheelbase does improve rear legroom a little, making it more tolerable to those shorter than 6 feet. That said, rear headroom remains a challenge. Access to the rear seats is also quite difficult. Further back, the boot has a class-leading volume of 465 liters and is well shaped to handle large baggage. The rear seat back is now 40/20/40-split to give easy access to the boot.

However, all these fail to lift the A5 Coupe above the level of A4. As a coupe, its styling is a bit conservative, and its powertrain and chassis do not feel sporty enough to justify the higher prices and loss of practicality.
Verdict: 
 Published on 30 Jun 2016
All rights reserved. 
Audi S5

The switch from supercharging to turbocharging does not rob the S5 any response or flexbility, but its soundtrack gets muted.


Audi no longer offers a petrol V6 to A5. If you want one, you have to upgrade to the S5. Like the recent S4, it is powered by a brand-new single-turbo 3.0-liter V6 good for 354 horsepower, and a remarkable 369 pound-foot of torque from merely 1370 rpm. The 90-degree V6 has its twin-scroll turbo mounted inside the V-valley for shorter exhaust piping hence reduced turbo lag. It is also capable to run at Miller-cycle combustion mode on part load to save fuel. Compared with BMW 440i, it is more powerful yet more frugal. 0-60 mph takes 4.5 seconds, a couple of tenths quicker than a 440i xDrive. That equals to the slightly more powerful Mercedes-AMG C43 4matic Coupe. Frankly, performance of these cars is too close to separate, so we had better to see how they feel subjectively on the road.

The new 3.0TFSI engine is responsive, flexible and refined for sure, but it lacks aural appeal and an enthusiasm at the top end to inspire keen drivers. Comparatively, the BMW straight six is more eager to spin to 7000 rpm while Mercedes’ V6 sounds far angrier on full throttle and overrun. The Audi engine leaves you a feeling that it is just too civilized and efficient. It just wants to do the job and no more. Like many Audi engines, it is effective but rather soulless.


Replacing the DCT with a torque converter automatic is a regress, especially with a calibration so flawed.


The 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox is again a disappointment. In comfort mode it is refined enough, but in dynamic mode when you are pushing the car in the twisty, you will find it is reluctant to downshift. The gearshift is also surprisingly jerky in such situations. Audi used to equip the old S5 with a good S-tronic twin-clutch box. Replacing it with this torque converter automatic is a regress, especially with a calibration so flawed.

The S5’s suspension is stiffened and lowered by 23 mm compared with lesser A5s. When rides on optional 255/35R19 tires, it provides strong grip and traction yet ride quality isn’t bad, at least with the adaptive dampers set to Comfort mode. The handling is also surefooted. There is fine body control, thanks partly to the lighter engine (it’s 14 kg lighter than the old supercharged V6). Turn-in response is sharp enough. With the active differential functioning, the car corners with precious little understeer, although it won’t adjust its balance with throttle like you do in the BMW or Mercedes. You still sense that the nose carries more weight and the handling is more oriented to security, but it is certainly more agile than the first generation S5. Sadly, the standard steering again feels numb, and the active Dynamic Steering could make it even worse with its unpredictable tightening of ratio. As a result, driving thrills are limited.


Dynamic steering tigtens its ratio unpredictably.


Yes, the high-quality interior is attractive, but you won’t lose much sense of occasion in a Mercedes C-class coupe. What the S5 lacks, like its exterior design suggested, is imagination and passion. Mid-size coupes might be an old-school breed – and its buyers are certainly getting older – but if they look also old and conservative, how can they lure buyers from the usual performance saloons and wagons? In this respect, 4-Series and C-class Coupe do much better.
Verdict:
 Published on 3 Nov 2016
All rights reserved. 
A5 / S5 Sportback

More stylish and better built than BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe, but less so to drive.


The idea of “four-door coupe” was introduced by Mercedes CLS-class 12 years ago. Since then many premium car manufacturers found it a good way to expand their product portfolios at little cost. Audi joined the game with the last generation A5 Sportback. It was the crossover between A4 saloon and A5 coupe, merging the practicality of the former and the beauty of the latter. The new A5 Sportback follows the same formula. It shares the underpinnings of the A4, including its long, 2824 mm wheelbase, hence proper rear-seat accommodation. Meanwhile, the lower, wider and sportier front grille and the signature flowing waist line of the A5 coupe are carried over to the Sportback. It also sports a large tailgate to distinguish itself from the A4 and make it easier to load luggage. It looks quite stylish, certainly more so than the rivalling BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe, although the front and rear end design could be more imaginative.

The fact that the Sportback uses marginally wider tracks than the sedan does not make a huge difference to handling. This car still drives well in most occasions, with abundance of traction from the 40:60 Quattro system, a tight body control from the sport mode of adaptive dampers, a pretty responsive turn-in from the new electrical power steering and a ride that is finally comfortable enough. That said, over sharp ridges and sudden potholes it still transmits more shocks to your seat of the pants than either the BMW 4-Series or Mercedes C-class, blame to the fact that the nose-heavy nature of the Audi needs stiffer springs to keep pitch and dive in check. The same inherent problem also robs its steering of true communication, especially on-center. The electronic-controlled Sport differential is supposed to introduce torque vectoring to the rear wheels and bring some more fun, but the effect is too subtle. This car still understeers near the limit of its adhesion, thus power slide remains a dream. All these limitations mean the A5 Sportback is ultimately less engaging and interesting to drive than its BMW and Mercedes rivals.


This car still understeers near the limit of its adhesion, thus power slide remains a dream...


As the engine lineup mirrors that of the A4 and A5 range, it does not disappoint. The entry-level petrol, 2.0 TFSI engine with 252 hp combines good power, response and refinement. The 190 hp 2.0 TDI diesel is not bad either. Range-topping 3.0 TDI V6 is a heavy diesel engine that could hamper turn-in response, steering feedback and ride quality further, but the engine itself is strong, smooth, quiet and hugely flexible. On the S5 variant, the new single-turbo 3-liter V6 is even more powerful at 354 hp and 369 lbft of torque. Its throttle response isn’t quite as sharp as the old supercharged V6, but everything else trumps the latter. The 8-speed automatic gearbox it uses is smooth and intelligent, though the S tronic twin-clutch box on less powerful models is more responsive.

On highway, apart from the noticeable wind noise generated from door mirrors, the cabin is extremely quiet, thanks to the 0.26 Cd as well as good NVH suppression. The cabin itself is practically the same as A4, with the same high-quality dashboard, high-tech “Virtual Cockpit” instrumentation and classy switchgears that only Mercedes C-class could be comparable. Predictably, the lower and curvier roof line robs some headroom, so the rear seats are not designed for those taller than 6 feet. Legroom, however, is plenty, thanks to the long wheelbase. At the back, the tailgate is electrically operated for convenience. The boot has been enlarged slightly to 480 liters. It can be extended to 1300 liters with the rear seat folded. However, if you use it as a load carrier, you can only pray for a shooting brake variant. No, Audi won’t do that to damage its beautiful lines. Mercedes might.
Verdict:
A5 Sportback:

S5 Sportback:
 Published on 27 Jun 2017
All rights reserved. 
Audi RS5


A lot faster and greener, but not necessarily better to drive.


The last generation RS5 was hampered by its excessive mass and an inert chassis, but it had an excellent engine and twin-clutch gearbox to save the game. Yes, the R8-sourced 4.2-liter V8 was capable of revving to an incredible 8500 rpm and releasing 450 horsepower. Its enthusiasm for rev and emotional sound became unique to the class when BMW M4 and Mercedes C63 Coupe abandoned naturally aspirated V8s. Unfortunately, the new RS5 follows the lesser S5 to turn to a turbocharged V6 – in the name of reduced emission. Will that change put the car into an inferior position again? Let’s see.

There are arguments who led the development of the new 90-degree twin-turbo V6. Some said Porsche and some said Audi. Porsche introduced it to the Panamera 4S first last year, but remember, it is based on the single-turbo unit on the earlier Audi S4, so both stories could be true to some extent. It goes without saying the V6 is part of the modular V6/V8 family serving both brands as well as future Bentleys. In the Panamera 4S, it develops 440 hp and 406 lbft of torque with a maximum boost pressure of 1.4 bar. Audi does not reveal the turbo boost of its own version, but I suppose it should be higher still, not just because the engine produces 450 horsepower but the most important it makes 442 pound-foot of torque. Compared with the outgoing V8, its horsepower is the same, while peak torque is a massive 125 lbft stronger! Moreover, that is delivered continuously from 1900 to 5000 rpm, whereas the V8 made its peak torque from 4000 to 6000 rpm. In other words, performance is a lot more accessible. As a result, the new car’s 0-60 mph takes only 3.8 seconds, a huge leap from the last gen’s 4.4 seconds. Meanwhile, top speed is still capped at 174 mph if you opt for performance pack.



While it is capable to rev to 6700 rpm, there is no reward to go beyond 5700 rpm because the engine has already delivered its best.


Compared with the S5 engine, the chief difference is the use of twin-turbochargers, of course. They still sit inside the V-valley to shorten connection, reducing turbo lag as well as speeding up warming, hence cleaner cold-start emission. The higher boost pressure means compression ratio has to be scaled back from the S5’s 11.2:1 to 10.0:1. This also necessitates the stroke to be reduced from 89 to 86mm, dropping the engine capacity to 2.9 liters. Again, to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emission, the engine is configured to run in Miller cycle under part load and Otto cycle for full load. The switchover is implemented by using the second set of cam lobes of the intake Valvelift mechanism, which enables earlier intake valve closure. Overall, CO2 emission is cut by 17 percent from the V8. Another benefit is that the V6 is 31 kg lighter than the V8, which relieves the burden at the nose and help taming understeer of the old car.

In reality, the new engine does feel strong and responsive, especially its mid-range thrust. It is easily quicker than the old car because you don’t need to downshift or to wait for rev to pile up, but on the flipside it feels less exciting to exploit. In fact, it feels and sounds flat, not even the subtle pops and crackles deliberately added on overrun can do much to negate its dull manner. While it is capable to rev to 6700 rpm, there is no reward to go beyond 5700 rpm because the engine has already delivered its best. That’s a huge difference from the old V8, which might be slower but a lot more enthusiastic to rev and to sing. Compared with rivals, AMG’s 4-liter V8 is massively more emotional, and even the M4’s straight six sounds angrier and more willing. Comparatively, the Audi V6 feels more like a torquey and refined diesel.

The gearbox doesn’t help either. As the old 7-speed S tronic twin-clutch cannot withstand the increased torque, it has to change to the popular ZF 8-speed automatic that Audi/Porsche calls Tiptronic (Porsche has an 8-speed PDK that will easily do the job, but it does not fit the Quattro layout). The torque converter auto is certainly even more refined, with seamless gearshift and hardly detectable lag, but such a refinement actually robs it the drama brought by the more mechanical-feeling DCT. It shifts the RS5 further away from its fire-breathing rivals, and closer to the territory of conventional grand tourers. 


Ride quality and agility improved, but ultimately understeer is still its mother tongue.


The rest of the car is more predictable. Like the rest of the A5/S5 range, its lighter construction lets the RS5 undercuts its predecessor by 70 kg, although at 1655 kg it is still nothing to be proud of. You may save a further 3 kg by opting for a carbon-fiber roof or a dozen kilos by specifying ceramic brakes, but they are too costly for this class. The Quattro system uses crown-gear center differential thus its normal torque split is 40:60 front to rear. The suspension is set 10mm lower than that of the S5 accompanied with slightly stiffer setup. The footwork becomes massive 275/30 rubbers on 20-inch wheels. Other cost options include active rear differential (must have), active dynamic steering (must not!) and Dynamic Ride Control suspension which links diagonal wheels hydraulically to reduce pitch and roll (a worthwhile spending, considering the Audi still has more mass at the nose than usual cars).

On the road, the new car is noticeably more comfortable than last time. Its ride quality is very good in Comfort mode. The cabin is quiet, very well insulated from road and wind noise, and the engine is inherently quiet in cruising. Select Dynamic mode and the suspension gets stiffer, but still acceptable on normal motorways. Its GT manner is stronger than ever.

Meanwhile, with DRC suspension it also controls its body motion tightly. The car corners with a composed manner. Traction and grip offered by Quattro is predictably plentiful. The steering still lacks feel, but with a lighter nose the RS5 feels more agile to steer. Ultimately, it runs into understeer more readily than the rear-drive M4 or C63. While its rivals can adjust attack angles with throttle, the all-wheel-drive Audi is inert. All you can do is to back off and wait for the understeer to diminish. Such a lack of mid-corner adjustability means it still fails to thrill keen drivers. It might be a quicker A-to-B car, but not the most enjoyable in the process. Coupling to a civilized powertrain, the new RS5 is more about luxury performance than ultimate excitement. Then again, a Mercedes E400 Coupe seems to do the luxury thing better while looking more graceful. Does the market has space for such a niche product?
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
A5 Coupe
2.0TFSI Quattro

2016
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque + aluminum
Mainly steel
4673 / 1846 / 1371 mm
2764 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
252 hp
273 lbft
7-speed twin-clutch
F: 5-link
R: 5-link
Adaptive damping
245/40R18
1500 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.5 (c) / 5.0*
13.2*
A5 Coupe
3.0TDI Quattro

2016
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque + aluminum
Mainly steel
4673 / 1846 / 1371 mm
2764 mm
V6, 90-degree, diesel
2967 cc
DOHC 24 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
286 hp
457 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: 5-link
R: 5-link
Adaptive damping
245/40R18
1645 kg (est)
155 mph (limited)
5.0 (c)
-
S5 Coupe
2016
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque + aluminum
Mainly steel
4692 / 1846 / 1368 mm
2765 mm
V6, 90-degree, Miller/Otto-cycle
2995 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
354 hp / 5400-6400 rpm
369 lbft / 1370-4500 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: 5-link
R: 5-link
Adaptive damping
255/35YR19
1615 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.5 (c) / 4.3*
10.9*




Performance tested by: *C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
A5 Sportback
2.0TFSI Quattro

2016
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque + aluminum
Mainly steel
4733 / 1843 / 1386 mm
2824 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
252 hp
273 lbft
7-speed twin-clutch
F: 5-link
R: 5-link
Adaptive damping
245/40R18
1535 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.7 (c) / 5.7**
15.1**
A5 Sportback
3.0TDI Quattro

2016
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque + aluminum
Mainly steel
4733 / 1843 / 1386 mm
2824 mm
V6, 90-degree, diesel
2967 cc
DOHC 24 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
286 hp
457 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: 5-link
R: 5-link
Adaptive damping
245/40R18
1690 kg (est)
155 mph (limited)
5.1 (est)
-
S5 Sportback
2016
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque + aluminum
Mainly steel
4752 / 1843 / 1384 mm
2824 mm
V6, 90-degree, Miller/Otto-cycle
2995 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
354 hp / 5400-6400 rpm
369 lbft / 1370-4500 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: 5-link
R: 5-link
Adaptive damping
255/35YR19
1660 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.5 (c)
-




Performance tested by: **Autocar





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
RS5 Coupe
2017
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque + aluminum
Mainly steel
4723 / 1861 / 1360 mm
2765 mm
V6, 90-degree, Miller/Otto-cycle
2894 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT, VVL
Twin-turbo
DI
450 hp / 5700-6700 rpm
442 lbft / 1900-5000 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: 5-link
R: 5-link
Adaptive damping, DRC
275/30ZR20
1655 kg
174 mph (limited)
3.8 (c)
-


















































Performance tested by: -





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A5 Coupe


S5 Coupe


RS5 Coupe


A5 Sportback


S5 Sportback



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