Audi A5/S5 Coupe

Superbly styled, and better to drive

JOHN CAREY

FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE

FREQUENTLY – and justly – Audi is praised for the precision and beauty of its interiors. Now, with the new A5/S5 Coupe, hymns to Ingolstadt’s mastery of metal will need to be composed.

To run a finger along the join between the four-seater’s clamshell bonnet and its front guards is to encounter pressed perfection. The curving gap never varies, all the way from the uppermost outer corner of the headlight to the door shutline at the base of its A-pillar. From some angles the gap is invisible, seeming to merge seamlessly into the distinctive wave-shaped shoulder line – styling DNA inherited from the previous model – that runs the length of the car.

Yet this is just one detail to be savoured. Compared with the visually bland A4, the A5 coupe is a richly detailed and lusciously proportioned feast for the eyes.

With the local launch so far off (first half of 2017), Audi Australia has not yet finalised the line-up, but it’s likely the slow-selling 2.0-litre turbo-diesel will be dropped and a 140kW front-drive 2.0TFSI will become the entry point. There will be a 3.0TDI V6 quattro, but the choice between 160kW and 210kW outputs is yet to be made.

The S5 Coupe, equipped with the same turbo V6, eight-speed auto and quattro drivetrain as the S4 sedan and Avant, will top the line-up at launch, and a much more affordable 2.0TFSI quattro is a certainty.

External dimensions are little changed and, while slight increases in cabin length and shoulder room are welcome, rearseat headroom remains tight.

The instrument panel and centre console are straight from the A4, which is no shortcoming, especially when optioned with Audi’s superb Virtual Cockpit instrument display. This is a profoundly impressive interior.

There’s a gruff but not unpleasant exhaust growl from the 2.0TFSI quattro’s 185kW turbo-petrol four-cylinder, which doesn’t lack for torque and revs out willingly. The ride is acceptable on Portuguese roads, but may prove a shade too brusque on our often second-rate blacktop, while the handling is grippy and nicely balanced.

Strangely, the supposedly sportier S5 Coupe has a more rounded ride. And with 260kW on tap, acceleration is in a different league. Audi’s new turbo 3.0-litre V6 is refined and torque-rich, and the car’s chassis has the quattroenhanced grip and handling finesse to make the most of it.

With dynamics and performance to go with those looks, the S5 Coupe is undoubtedly destined to become the most desirable version of Audi’s lovely new two-door. pressive uff haust attro’s

PLUS & MINUS

Stiff ride of regular A5 Coupe; rear seat headroom Exterior design; interior quality; performance of S5 variant Setting new standards Standard equipment will be Standard equipment will be better than the current A5.

Audi has made a number of across-the-board upgrades that go into everything rolling off the Ingolstadt production line. These include front seatbelt feeder mechanisms, Audi’s Drive Select system, LED rear lights and xenon headlights (with different grades of LED headlights either standard or optional, depending on model).

Model Engine Max power Audi S5 Coupe 2995cc V6 (90°), dohc, 24v, turbo 260kW @ 5400-6400rpm Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale 500Nm @ 1370-4500rpm 8-speed automatic 1615kg 4.7sec (claimed) 7.4L/100km (EU) $125,000 (estimated) First half 2017