Audi A5 (2007-2016) review – engine and gearbox
Audi’s big A5 coupé is more genteel GT than hard-charging driver’s choice
Choose wisely when specifying your A5, as one wrong move might lead you to ownership of the Multitronic automatic. It’s one of three gearbox choices in the A5, with a seven-speed twin-clutch auto offered on the quattro models and a six-speed manual on both front- and four-wheel drive cars.
An easy tip is that the Multitronic is only available in front-wheel drive form, though that’s not the reason we’d favour the other transmissions over it. Like all CVTs, and despite Audi’s best efforts with stepped ratios (as many as eight), it seeks out revs and holds them if you ask for anything more than moderate acceleration. That’s fine in an inexpensive city car, but utterly ruins any perception of prestige in the A5.
The six-speed manual isn’t the sharpest gearbox out there, but neither does it overly detract from the driving experience. It’s a bit light across the gate and hurrying it results in some inaccuracy, but the ratios are sensibly judged and the clutch is light enough, too. The seven-speed S tronic automatic is arguably the best suited transmission to the A5; quick and smooth in its shifts, it’s particularly well-suited to the 3.0-litre TDI V6 quattro.
The engine choices, like the transmissions, follow the Audi norm. So there are a couple of turbocharged petrol options of 1.8- and 2.0-litre capacities badged TFSI. The 1.8 develops 168bhp and 236lb ft of torque from 1400- to 3700rpm, the 2.0-litre TFSI only gaining 22lb ft of torque, developed from 1500- to 4200rpm - power output for the 2.0-litre is 221bhp.
The diesels broadly exhibit a similar pattern, with all but that 3.0-litre V6 TDI quattro flagship offering torque output of 280lb ft. The entry 2.0 TDI Ultra actually shares the same 295lb ft output as the front-wheel drive 3.0 V6 TDI Multitronic, though not over quite the spread of revs. Power for that Ultra model is 160bhp, down from the 174bhp of the other 2.0-litre TDIs, and that front-drive 3.0 V6 TDI has just 201bhp.