Engine and gearbox
The engine meat of the A5 line-up, be it in two-door coupe or five-door Sportback form is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel producing 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Even if the trend today is to give diesel a kicking this engine and the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is expected to make up the bulk of A5 sales.
It’s a smooth unit and masks the fact it’s a diesel incredible well, with next to no clatter at start up and remaining whisper quiet when up and running.
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The heart of the diesel’s performance is in the mi-range from 2-4000rpm, where the torque sweels and rushes you along. The optional seven-speed gearbox does a great job of being in the right gear at the right time but it’s constantly working to do so. Change gear yourself with the paddles and you soon get bored of flicking your fingers to keep the engine on the boil.
Better then to make the switch to the 2.0 TFSI petrol engine. The hard numbers are 249bhp and 273lb ft available from 1600rom - that’s diesel engine levels of peak torque rpm. With the standard seven-speed double clutch gearbox the A5 will reach 60mph in under six seconds (Audi claims 6.0 seconds) and through the mid range it not only feels quicker than the diesel but is faster by up to two seconds between 30-70mph. And, as it’s not a diesel, it continues to rev beyond 5000rpm providing a wider operating window from which to extract the performance on offer.
As well as being quicker than the diesel and a far nicer engine to engage with and work harder, it’s also more refined, quieter and more responsive to throttle inputs with less of a delay when you leave the gearbox in auto and ask it to kick down.
The lower-powered petrol and diesel models are all mated to a six-speed manual ‘box as standard, while the higher-powered 2.0 petrol and the 3.0 TDI have the seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic box out of the factory. It’s an option on the other engines.
For the S5, the seven-speed dual-clutch box is ditched in favour of an eight-speed ZF torque converter.
Quattro all-wheel-drive is an option across the engine range, and comes as standard on higher-powered cars. It does add cost, but you’d pay just as much extra for a BMW 4-series with xDrive or a Mercedes C-class Coupe with 4MATIC.
The engine range pretty much mirrors the likes of the BMW 4-series for the most part, but notable by its absence is a high-powered diesel option. The 4-series is available with a 255bhp or 309bhp straight-six diesel, while the A5 stops at 215bhp. The S5 and A5 compete favourably with the higher-powered 440i and M4, though.