Redrawn lines, renewed technology and a revised engine line-up underpinned by the latest efficiency upgrades – the Audi A5 Sportback, A5 Coupé and A5 Cabriolet are moving into step with their close relatives in the A4 range with a new look, new mild hybrid drivetrains and the latest MMI touch operating concept. At the top of the Coupe and Sportback ranks new S5 variants also come on stream using TDI power for the first time and combining this with an electric powered compressor and mild hybrid drive based around a 48-volt main electrical system.
Sporty look: the exterior design
Elements of the new design language from the full-size class characterise the aesthetics of the updated Audi A5. The exterior has been significantly revised, with the front end, in particular, delivering considerably more visual impact. The Singleframe with the honeycomb grille is wider and flatter, and above it ventilation slits reference the classic Audi Sport quattro from 1984. A bold blade forms the lower edge of the bumper, which features larger air inlets. A new sill provides for a slimmer appearance when viewed from the side, while at the rear a diffuser insert with trapezoidal tailpipes makes the car appear wider.
Customers will have a choice of 12 paint finishes for their A5, including the new shade district green, metallic, and all body and engine variants in the A5 product line will roll off the assembly line with LED headlights as standard equipment. Audi will also offer Matrix LED headlights and Matrix LED headlights with laser light and dynamic light sequencing, both combined with dynamic front and rear indicators, depending on version.
Horizontal lines also dominate the interior of the latest A5 models. The large MMI touch display, the control centre of the new operating system, is the focal point of the instrument panel and angled slightly toward the driver. Based on the third-generation modular infotainment platform MIB 3, it offers a user experience similar to a contemporary smartphone via a 10.1-inch touch display with acoustic feedback which replaces the rotary pushbutton used in previous models. Its graphics are clean and crisply rendered and its menu structure reflects the expectations of the user. Its MMI search function is based on free text input and returns relevant hits very rapidly, and it also responds via natural-language voice control.
The top of the line MMI navigation plus infotainment control centre will be a standard feature of all A5 models in the UK. It incorporates new functions which make navigation even more straightforward, including the ability to suggest routes based on routes previously driven. Audi connect infotainment services are installed on an upgradable three-month subscription basis, bringing numerous web-based features such as up-to-the-minute news, Google Earth mapping and Street View and flight, weather, traffic and fuel pricing information. The Audi connect plus portfolio includes a host of additional Car-to-X services taking advantage of the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet. They include online traffic sign and hazard information, an on-street parking search function and newly introduced traffic light information functionality, which Audi launched in Ingolstadt this July. It connects the car to the city’s central computer that controls the traffic lights.
The all-digital Audi virtual cockpit plus is another standard feature of the latest UK A5 models that underscores their impressive technological emphasis. The driver can operate the 12.3-inch display with full HD resolution using the multifunction steering wheel with a choice of three views. A head-up display that projects important information into the driver’s direct field of view is also optionally available.
Powerful, sophisticated, efficient: the drive system
The updated Audi A5 models will be available in Europe with a range of TFSI and TDI engines with outputs ranging from 163PS to 347PS. All engines satisfy the limits of the Euro 6d-temp emissions standard.
At market introduction, four A5 engine variants will be equipped with a mild hybrid system (MHEV). A belt alternator starter, which is connected to the crankshaft, recovers energy during deceleration and stores this in a compact lithium-ion battery. With the four-cylinder engines, the MHEV system is integrated into the 12-volt electrical system, while the S TDI models use a new 48-volt main electrical system. In the S5 TDI, for example, Audi measurements indicate that this electrification can reduce fuel consumption in everyday operation by up to 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres by means of recuperation or shutting down the engine when the driver lifts off of the accelerator. The start-stop range also now begins at speeds of 13mph and below, contributing to these savings, while restarts are quicker and smoother.
All A5 models are equipped with an automatic transmission, either a seven-speed S tronic or an eight-speed tiptronic. The three most powerful engines in the range work with quattro drive as standard and the system is also available as an option for the mid-range units.
Agility with comfort: the suspension
The suspension in all A5 models has been tuned with an underlying emphasis on comfort but also an appropriately sporting bias. A tauter sport suspension and a suspension with controlled damping are also available depending on version. The latter is integrated into the Audi drive select dynamic handling system which is a standard feature of all UK A5 models, as are the steering, automatic transmission and engine management. Drivers can choose between five Audi drive select profiles to determine how these components work together.
Hefty torque: the Audi S5 TDI
700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of torque and output of 347PS are the headline figures for the new V6 diesel engine at the heart of the updated Audi S5 Sportback and S5 Coupé. The 3.0 TDI offers brawny pulling power, impressive refinement and long range capability, thanks in part to its MHEV system and the electric powered compressor, which supports the turbocharger. Both S TDI models accelerate from 0 to 62mph in under 5 seconds and can touch an electronically limited top speed of 155mph where conditions allow.
An eight-speed tiptronic and permanent quattro all-wheel drive transfer the power in the S5 Sportback and S5 Coupé, and it is marshalled by taut S sport suspension which is also available with the option of damper control. Inside and out, a host of design details point to the unique position of the S TDI models – from the four round exhaust tailpipes to the S mode in the standard Audi virtual cockpit.
Open-air driving: the Audi A5 Cabriolet
Like every open-top Audi, the A5 Cabriolet has a classic fabric top. It is an acoustic hood and opens fully automatically in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. Targeted reinforcements provide for a highly rigid body. With the top up, the boot of the four-seater has a volume of 370 litres with the split rear seat backs in place.