With the A5, Audi marries style and luxury in a way that has helped grow the brand from also-ran to real contender. For 2018, the A5 lineup grows with a new Sportback variant that aims to capture the beauty of the A7 on a smaller, compact scale. It joins the A5 coupe and convertible.
The A5 Sportback isn’t all that’s new for 2018. The whole lineup has been redesigned, getting a new platform, new engines, updated styling, more tech, and new safety features.
The result is an A5 that is better than ever. It retains its aura as a style leader both inside and out, but now stands out for improved power and handling, a high-tech digital instrument cluster, and the new, more practical Sportback body style. With those strengths, we rate the A5 a 7.2. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The A5 shares its running gear with the A4 sedan and Q5 crossover. All A5s come with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, though the coupe has the Quattro Ultra system, which can disconnect the rear axle to save fuel.
Sportier variants called S5 (in all body styles) and RS 5 (offered only as a coupe) are available as well, but we review them separately.
The A5 has one engine. It is a turbocharged 252-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 mated to either a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission or a 6-speed manual (the latter only in coupes). The A5 doesn’t want for power, with a 0-60 mph time under six seconds, and it cruises in relaxed comfort. Fuel economy is good, too, at 27 mpg combined.
The engine has moved farther back in the chassis and the car has cut a bit of weight, helping to improve handling. It’s a sportier car this time around, but the S5 and RS 5 are for those who want a true grand tourer (in the case of the S5) or even a track car (the RS 5). Even at the A5 level, though, a Drive Select system lets drivers harden or soften the edges.
Audi gives the A5 more active safety gear for 2018, adding forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, and active lane control.
All A5s are well equipped, with features such as leather seats, automatic climate control, Audi’s MMI infotainment system, and ambient interior lighting. Options include navigation, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi’s high-tech virtual cockpit digital instrument cluster, adaptive dampers, and 4G LTE data services with a wi-fi hotspot.