ITS SEX IS ON FIRE
2016 Audi A5 Coupe
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Jul 5, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story and photography by John Grafman
The truth be told, media wags have some preconceived notions of what a car is going to be like long before we set a foot inside it just like everybody else. Quick, slow, agile, or wallowing, we all associate certain behaviors with particular cars. But the trick is, keeping in mind that anything is possible.
Enter the Audi A5 Coupe. Several years ago, a spin around Sonoma—both on and off track—left a very positive impression of the coupe. The big motor got this Audi moving, and it was plenty competent; albeit not as agile as the R8 we were actually there to review.
Based on these prior experiences, our expectation is the 2016 A5 will gobble up the streets here in Malibu, Calabasas, and the San Fernando Valley, like Joey Chestnut eats hot dogs.
Starting off, the vibrant Brilliant Red paint is enough to get anyone’s attention alive or dead, including the local authorities. Generally, the law doesn’t buy the “in the name of journalism” excuse. So, proceeding with one eye on the rear view mirror isn’t a half bad idea.
Perhaps being paranoid wouldn’t be necessary if the German/Hungarian Audi 2.0T engine wasn’t such an engineering marvel. Without putting too fine a point on it, just try to find a better 2.0-liter power plant, I dare you. Hell, I double-dog dare you! Well, maybe there is something out there, but it isn’t on my radar yet.
This 220 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque, inline four-cylinder sings delightfully, and feels like the precision instrument that it is. Audi has created an ultra-suave, small engine that also delivers power so smoothly that it’s easy to confuse this with a six, or eight-cylinder. And then the turbo kicks in! The turbocharging comes on both early and eagerly. Audi did their homework.
The four also provides reasonable EPA estimated highway fuel economy of 32 highway, although city comes in at slightly disappointing 22 MPG.
So, let’s see what we got. Sexy car? Check. Red paint? Check. Beautiful engine? Double-check.
This even has a manual six-speed transmission. This has all the right stuff, right? At this point we’re thinking this is a full-on sports car. Fasten your seat belts, this is where the story takes a weird turn.
It seems the A-Team was working hard pulling all-nighters on the motor, because the manual didn’t get any love. The clutch provides some feel, but not that of the clutch engaging or disengaging. No, it simply feels lightweight, and very spring. This feels like a leg workout machine for a seven-year old kid. One wonders, do these engineers understand what a performance machine should feel like?
As for the steering feel, ditto. This electro-mechanical speed sensitive system irons out the road feel and has too much boost. Synthetic is probably the best way to put it. Just where is the sensitivity?
Fortunately, while pushing the A5 around twisty hills the suspension regains our confidence in the coupe. The optional Sport Package provides the sport suspension and the nifty Audi Drive Select, allowing the driver the chose the level of aggression that fits his or her mood.
Of course, the much-discussed Quattro all-wheel drive both pushes and pulls on each corner like an ace. The Quattro system not only performs as advertised, it builds trust.
Hard braking didn’t seem to phase the Audi, or caused any perceived imbalance. The Sport Plus Package on this model includes 19” wheels and sticky Pirelli P Zero summer tires.
That package also includes a rather overly styled three-spoke multi-function steering wheel. The large flat bottom, and overly sculpted surfaces make for better handholds, but it doesn’t allow the wheel to spin smoothly through the hand. Nonetheless, the multi-function control makes life a breeze, and allows the drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
Maybe the most frustrating aspect is the seating. I truly like these seats. The design and material is for the most part up to the expectations one has of an Audi. But, no matter how much adjusting of the steering column and the 10-way power seats, the position never seems correct. I’d be the first admit, my stature is about as far away a tall German as it gets. Nevertheless, did anyone sit in this under six-feet tall before this left the design studio? Even when retracted, the adjustable front thigh support is still too long unless you happen to Michael Phelps or LeBron James.
For those that are vertically challenged this is a problem. Move the seat forward to get comfortable with the pedals, and then the header is in your face. Move the seat downward to dodge the low roof and windshield angle, and then the positioning to the shifter is way off. The seats move in every which-way, but the hard points don’t move. In the end, finding a compromised seating position is the only solution.
Seating aside, I really came into this thinking this was a ‘bahn-burning sports car. It took several days to get over my earlier assessment. I was judging this based my earlier experience years ago with a completely different powertrain.
With an open mind it became evident what this really is, a top of the line personal transport. The A5 embraces a low effort clutch and steering, smooth and quiet powertrain, and the Audi MMI offers plenty of driver infotainment. Plus, the tight build quality and structure, along with soundproofing, make this a very civilized cocoon. Couple this with the Bluetooth phone connectivity and this becomes an executive office on wheels.
One of the favored features is the satellite radio with “precognition”. As with other Audis, this will let the occupants know what’s playing on the other stations before actually engaging that channel. So, if you’re not a Justin Bieber or Pharrell Williams fan? No problem, no accidental and embarrassing encounters.
Standard features include the incredible Audi Xenon Plus Headlights. These turn night into day exceptionally well. Consumers would gladly pay extra for these gems.
Also standard is the panoramic sunroof. While impressive, this only pops up, and doesn’t retract. That can be a bit frustrating on a summer day, but it’s far from the worst sin.
The Audi A5 Coupe is chock full of goodness and tech, but all of these included features that are extra other cars do take a toll on the A5 base price. The get-in price is an even $40K, and the added sport and technology packages bring this up to $48,625 in this model.
This coupe can be driven with pleasure endlessly from L.A. to destinations unknown. Jaunts to Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, San Diego and San Francisco are no problem. Besides, nine times out of ten, most normal humans are using their daily driver for commuting to and from work, getting groceries, dry cleaning, and hops to chichi restaurants. It isn’t setting new lap records between the house and the local 7-11.
Driving hard and fast isn’t an after-thought in this configuration, it just isn’t the priority. This won’t be the most favored A5 model to tear up the roads and canyons, but this would certainly be one that’s very livable day in and day out with the bonus of being able to still provide a fun drive. Think of the A5 as a GT light.
So, when it comes to this Audi perhaps our parents were right after all. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
For more information about Audi products, go to www.audiusa.com
Name of vehicle:
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T Quattro (manual)
$48,625 (as tested)
2.0 Liter, four cylinder, DOHC, Audi Valvelift system on exhaust valves, fuel injected, turbocharged, cast iron block, aluminum head,
EPA mileage estimates (miles per gallon)
Horsepower: 220 @ 4,450 rpm
Torque: 258 lb.-ft @ 01,500 rpm
Front engine / all-wheel drive
Transmission type: Six-speed manual Suspension Front: Independent five-link with stabilizer bar Rear: Independent trapezoidal multilink Wheels and tires Front: 9” X 19” Rotor-design, titanium finish, 255/35/19 Summer tires Rear: 9” X 19” Rotor-design, titanium finish, 255/35/19 Summer tires Brakes Front: ventilated rotors, 12.6” diameter Rear: Solid rotors,11.8” diameter Overall length: 182.1” Overall width: 79.5” with mirrors, 73” w/o Overall height: 54” Curb weight (lbs.): 3,583 0-60 mph: 6.3 sec Top speed: 130 mph Link opened into new tab: formulad.com/schedule/results