Coupes used to be a more plentiful subset of cars, but as cars become a smaller subset of vehicles the coupe appears closer and closer to extinction.
But Audi, for one, is committed to the segment and its A5 Coupe is a good example of how much pleasure can be derived from a coupe. It looks sharp, and melds sporty handling and power with a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive, which Audi calls quattro.
The A5 does everything well, but is not a racer, nor a true family car, unless your little ones are in booster seats and can latch themselves in, or big enough to not need a booster, yet not too long-legged. Rear seat room is fairly cramped.
The silver test car ($575 extra for the paint job) came with Audi’s stout 2.0-liter turbo I4 that creates a spirited, if not rambunctious, 252 horsepower and 273 ft.-lbs. of torque. Turbo lag is non-existent, in fact, I looked under the hood to make sure there was a turbo. The power here comes on so smoothly and in such a linear manner that it’s not obvious that all this boost is from a turbo.
Audi’s 7-speed S tronic automatic seems to mate perfectly with the turbo too. Shifts are minor blips along the way as the tranny shifts to maximize power without ever feeling like it’s going to slap you back in the seat as you run up to highway speeds.
Handling is decidedly sporty, but always with a little wheel play. This is not as responsive as last week’s Alfa Romeo Giulia, but is fairly quick and fun. All-wheel drive means all the power is delivered to the wheels with the most grip too, so the car feels well connected to the pavement, even when our summer monsoons sweep through.
The four drive modes, dynamic, individual, automatic and comfort, mainly seem to affect the shift points. Steering effort does firm some in dynamic and individual, but ride feels the same in all. I’d like to feel more of a difference between each drive mode.
For that matter, ride is firm and sporty, which is fine most of the time but can become a bit too firm on sharp bumps. Some folks may find this too firm.
Note too that the drive mode buttons are on the lower portion of the center stack, behind the shift lever. I’d prefer them on the console for ease of access, plus these were rather small and took the driver’s full attention to make sure to hit the proper up or down selector arrows.
Braking is absolutely top notch too.
Audi’s dash though is well laid out with easy-to-use controls and buttons. While there’s a fancy ($950) Bang and Olufsen stereo with 3D sound, I was most impressed with the eight channel selection buttons on the console. Rare that cars offer these anymore. Plus they were touch sensitive so if you held your finger over a button it would tell you on screen the channel you were about to select. Cool! The screen is large and resembles an iPad laid sideways atop the dash. The screen was extremely clear and easy on the eyes.
The black leather seats here also are comfortable and supportive, somewhat racy, but not overly so. The front seats also are heated, but not cooled and there’s no heated steering wheel. I like that there’s a silver support bar that powers forward to help driver or passenger reach their seat belt. It then powers back once the seatbelt is fastened.
Trim is brushed metal to give the interior a sparkling jeweled look and there’s a giant sunroof overhead with power shade. The manual tilt/telescope steering wheel is thick leather and has the usual controls on the hub, plus a separate cruise control lever behind the wheel. I particularly like the thumb rollers on the wheel’s hub for adjusting radio volume and trip computer screens.
Overhead is a large sunroof with power shade, and the sun visors slide.
Audi adds a premium package for $3,000 that includes heated power-folding outside mirrors, an alarm system with motion sensors, the heated seats with 2 button driver seat memory, LED headlights and sensors to help you park and back up.
This one also added the S line sport package for $1,250. It upgrades the wheels, puts in the well contoured sport seats with power lumbar, and adds a sport suspension, the reason ride is so firm. The package also adds S line trim features, which I could take or leave.
What I’d really like to leave behind though was a noticeable rattle in the car’s tail end. Big bumps stirred it every time. Don’t expect that in a luxury model.
Gas mileage was mediocre too. I managed 24.7 mpg while the EPA rates this at 24 mpg city and 34 highway. Figuring I split my driving between the two I’d expect something along the line of 27.5 mpg. The car does include a stop-start system to save fuel though.
Which brings us to price. This model lists at $42,800 and adds a $975 delivery fee. All the extras here pushed this Audi to $52,950. If you can avoid all the goodies this is nicely priced for a luxury sport coupe.
FAST STATS: 2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T quattro
Hits: Good power, smooth tranny, handsome sport sedan with sporty handling. Nice dash layout with easy-to-use controls and buttons, plus 8-radio channel buttons on console, heated seats, big sunroof and comfy supportive seats. Also 4 drive modes and AWD.
Misses: Sporty ride could be too firm for some, plus drive mode select buttons are small and on lower center stack, not console. Rattle in the rear end, no heated steering wheel, nor cooled seats.
Made in: Ingolstadt, Germany
Engine: 2.0-liter, turbo I4, 252 hp
Transmission: 7-speed S tronic automatic
Weight: 3,605 lbs.
Length: 184.0 in.
Wheelbase: 108.8 in.
Cargo: 11.6 cu.ft.
MPG: 24/34 (EPA)
MPG: 24.7 (tested)
Base Price: $42,800
Invoice: $40,779 (includes delivery)
Florett silver metallic, $575
Premium Plus package (heated power-folding auto-dim exterior mirrors, alarm system with motion sensors, Sirius/XM 3-mon. sub, Audi advanced key, Audi connect care, heated 10-way power front seats w/driver memory, LED headlights, parking system plus, Audi side assist w/pre-sense rear), $3,000
Navigation package (MMI nav w MMI touch, Audi connect prime & plus, visual cockpit), $2,600
S line sport package (18-inch 5-arm-star design wheels w/all-season tires, front sport seats w/4-way power lumbar, illuminated S line door sills, S line bumpers, badging, sill blades, and sport suspension), $1,250
Bang & Olufsen sound system w/3D sound, $950
19-inch S line wheel package (19-inch 5-parallel–spoke wheels and summer tires), $800
Test Vehicle: $52,950
Sources: Audi, www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage