The statement “a beautiful German car” is no longer an oxymoron.
This car inspires me to find a smoking jacket, brandy and a leather easy chair while regaling others with my past exploits. The Audi A5 smolders in its sophistication, smooth demeanor and wolverine-like grip on tarmac. I dare say, the Audi A5 is disarmingly handsome.
Design is the key here as Audi has built their most handsome vehicle next to the R8. Every angle is masculine, muscular and mature. The subtlety of its overall design language becomes apparent when you walk around its long, 182 inch body. Seriously, to fully appreciate this machine, you must see it in person.
Here’s the thing; for nearly 50 grand, you can purchase a BMW 335i xDrive Coupe loaded with the M Sport Package. The BMW is the athlete of the German duo with amazing road feel, whereas the Audi A5 is more mature and much more alluring to look at.
Hmmmm… Looks or talent…
There is another way to look at the Audi A5’s performance – on its own merits. As a stand alone executive 2-door, this is a buttoned down extension of its well-to-do occupant. The Audi A5 says, “I am above the pantomime that is an Audi TT; yet, I enjoy the thrill of driving.”
A thrill indeed, Audi’s ubiquitous 3.2 liter, 265 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque V6 propels the A5 from 0 to 60 in about 6 and ½ seconds. If you stomp on the brake after hitting 60, the 3835 lbs Audi A5 will come to a halt in less than 110 feet – that’s outstanding. Quarter mile times are about 14.5 seconds. All of these measurements, (including incredible cornering behavior) were accomplished while wearing winter biased tires. Mpg was acceptable at 18 combined (and I was driving rather exorbitantly).
The comfort is superb, up front. You sit deep within the A5 and outward visibility is only slightly compromised by the rear quarters. Your forward view is rewarded by a very long, sculpted hood with the upper corners of the fenders wrapped tightly over the wheels. It reminds me of the view I once had driving a 72’ Fiat Dino.
Audi’s interior is as comfortable and beautiful as always. A honey colored wood looks the business as it compliments well placed metals, leathers and chrome. There’s not a ton of storage space and the glove-box is rather useless, but it IS lined with a velvet-like material.
Rear seats feel more comfortable than those of the BMW’s 3 series coupe; there is room for 2 small adults for a short haul. Buckling children in the back is a chore and the tight width of the rear seats makes accessing the seat buckles a hassle. The back seat is best reserved for briefcases, purses and coats.
The trunk is larger than I expected with plenty of space for 2 moderately sized golf bags. There is a pass-through good for a set of skis; or, perhaps a partially folded tripod – ready at an instant to take a shot of the lusty A5 overlooking a beautiful vista.
As I stated before, this is not the thoroughbred BMW 335i Coupe (with or without xDrive). Cornering feel is slightly artificial and I struggled when becoming brave on tight bends to feel the corner through the steering. Still, with the mighty Quattro all-wheel-drive keeping me out of trouble and an easy burst of torque just a gear away, the feeling of control was not wholly elusive.
There are a few issues with this premium machine. The sunroof is only capable of a slight tilt and will not slide back. Given its sheer size, I’m sure it has to do with overlapping the roof and rear window. All the same, if I were a person of substantial means and purchased this vehicle, I would want the wind to whip through my hair-plugs. Or fill the nostrils of my new nose.
As for the MMI (Multi Media Interface) – it sucks. Sorry, but I was expecting a lot more from Audi than this thing. Simplifying my rant, imagine taking more than a minute to cycle to a proper radio station from reading your MP3 – and that’s after practice. The navigation is anything but intuitive and the placement of the entertainment buttons and interaction suffer from schizophrenia just as the original BMW iDrive system did.
Audi can do better.
The other issue is the parking brake.
Please, please, PLEASE why not let sporting folk enjoy a real parking brake? Volkswagen and Audi’s electronic parking brake is an unnecessary expense and removes a vital tool from a performance oriented driver’s wherewithal. Especially with the slick shifting 6-speed manual, a manual parking brake would please real drivers.
I can easily overlook these shortcomings the moment I get out of the A5 and stare at the subtle yet perfectly curved lines and powerful jowl. The longer I drove it, the more stares I got. These were looks of admiration and I knew it.
If you’ve seen my picture, than you understand that any vehicle which is capable of transforming an ogre to a prince warrants further scrutiny. It is gratifying on so many levels that I dare say the fifty grand is worth the price of admission. Still, for those who demand an even better quality drive, look to BMW.
On the other hand – the powerful S5 could be all the better.
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com page HERE. Photos by: N.D. Adlen