Audi A5 (2007-2016) review – ride and handling
Audi’s big A5 coupé is more genteel GT than hard-charging driver’s choice
Approach the A5 with the expectation that it’ll be able to offer the sort of fine driving appeal of rivals like BMW’s 4 Series and you’ll be disappointed. The front- and four-wheel drive drivetrains aren’t able to match its rear-wheel drive alternatives for engagement and adjustability. Several suspension choices are offered, though the standard set-up is only available on entry-level SE trim, S line getting Sports Suspension, which drops the A5 by 20mm over that SE specification for a more purposeful stance.
There’s a noticeable deterioration in comfort with that drop in ride height, as it comes with stiffer spring and damper rates. There’s the opportunity to lower it a further 10mm by going for the S line Sports Suspension, which firms things up even more. It’s an option that, despite being free on S line and Black Edition Plus models, isn’t worth ticking, as the negligible improvement in sharpness is negated by the compromises you have to accept in ride quality.
Opt for Audi Drive Select in conjunction with Damper Control and there’s the choice of choosing your preferred setting. Given the best all-round option is comfort then it’s arguably not worth the additional cost. Another Drive Select option leaving off is Dynamic Steering, as it only adds another layer of artificial response to the steering.
That standard steering isn’t the more informative, nor is the A5’s nose the sharpest to turn in. The handling errs on the side of caution, understeer being the chassis’ defining feature in both front-and all-wheel drive models. Adding the optional quattro Sport Differential (to the 241bhp TDI V6 or S5 only) does imbue the A5 with more rear bias, making it a must-tick option (even at £620) if you’re after a remotely interesting A5 to drive.