Ride and handling
The A5 is equipped with passive dampers as standard with active systems optional with both engines. Having tried both, the active dampers get the best from the A5’s chassis.
With the passive setup it’s a little two-dimensional, and the benefits of the weight Audi has chased out of the car’s MLB Evo platform are hard to find. While body control is measured and precise and grip plentiful, it’s a little flat when it comes to using the available performance. The steering is precise and alert, but lacks feedback and any useful chat from the front wheels.
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However, Audi’s active chassis heightens the damping, feedback and engagement levels. The rewards of the car’s weight loss are a lot easier to explore. In Dynamic mode, the dampers are too firm for UK roads, but leave it in Auto and the A5 feels natural and within its limits when being hustled along. It’s no S5, which has a greater level of feedback and interaction, but for what will be considered a ‘regular’ car the A5 offers a genuine alternative to a 4-series, so long as you pick your spec wisely.
On more mundane journeys and with the dampers in comfort mode the ride is pliant and controlled without constantly fidgeting and struggling to settle. It’s the same if the S Line suspension and 19-inch wheels are fitted. In short, spend your money on the active dampers and forgo the virtual cockpit.
The quattro system is unobtrusive and you need to be on a loose surface doing your best Walter Rohrl impression if you’re to notice the speed of the torque split between front and rear axles. What this means on the road is a good balance and an almost complete eradication of understeer.