Driven: 2008 Audi A5
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2014.
By Mike Meredith of MSN Autos
Out on the street, Audi’s elegant and sporty A5 coupe draws a lot of attention with a distinctive style punctuated by haunting LED running lights. Being a coupe, the A5 will always be somewhat of a niche vehicle, but like wearing designer clothing, it feels great to be seen in this car.
Audi has been setting the benchmark for interior design for a number of years, and the A5 will advance Audi’s reputation for exterior styling as well. Described by Walter de’Silva, head of Volkswagen Group Design, as “the most beautiful car I have ever designed,” the new A5 takes its styling cues from the Nuvolari quattro concept car, including the trademark trapezoidal grille and thick C-pillar.
Although a true 4-seater — with a surprising level of room for two adults in the rear seats — the A5 is really a personal car for those who don’t need to accommodate four occupants all the time. The cockpit wraps around the driver, with the ensconced instruments and center stack oriented towards the pilot. High-quality materials, uniquely sculpted shapes and metal trim give the elegant interior a high-tech flare. Audi’s MMI system controls audio and navigation functions, and welcome are dedicated climate and redundant audio controls on the center stack.
It’s tempting to lust for the S5 version’s V8, but the A5’s direct-injected 265-horsepower 3.2-liter V6 produces plenty of power over a broad rpm range. Especially when paired with the 6-speed manual transmission, the A5 can be hustled. Both the clutch and shifter are smooth and precise, but the 6-speed Tiptronic automatic is recommended for stop-and-go traffic.
For spirited driving or in slippery conditions, the optional quattro all-wheel-drive system automatically distributes up to 40 percent of the torque to the front axle, but maintains a rear-bias for a performance-oriented feel. The quattro option makes the A5 even more attractive as an all-season, all-climate vehicle.