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HomeDRIVENROAD TESTEDAUDI A5 2.0 TDI SPORT S TRONIC

AUDI A5 2.0 TDI SPORT S TRONIC

Being sharper to drive, sleeker looking, and all with low CO2 emissions, the 2.0-litre TDI version of the second-generation A5 deserves every success in the business coupé market. BERNIE HELLBERG spent a few days with Audi’s most sensible bahnstormer.

It might not look it, but after a decade on sale, Audi has replaced the curvy A5 Coupé with this all-new Audi A5. The Coupé has always been a fine looking machine with its sweeping, signature “tornado line” and extended bonnet. Audi designers have built on the successful foundation of this design by keeping the car’s very distinctive shoulder line pronounced over the wheel arches, emphasising its quattro heritage.

OUR TEST

Although the A5 range launch earlier this year with two 2.0-litre turbo petrol variants, the range sweet spot is, in our opinion the four-cylinder 2.0 TDI derivative, of which we had the front-wheel-drive Sport version on test.

In standard guise the 2.0 TDI will set you back R619,000, while our test car has a base price of R653,000, adding Sport line trim to the already gorgeous A5. Although the turbodiesels offer the same power output (140 kW) as their petrol counterparts, maximum power is available from 3,800 r/min, versus 4,200 r/min in the petrol applications. The turbodiesels’ huge 400 Nm torque number is also available from a low 1,750 r/min, giving the TDI versions real grunt under hard acceleration.

THE DRIVE

We’d best describe the 2.0-litre TDI engine as smooth and refined, and achingly quiet. Top speed is a claimed 238 km/h, with the zero to 100 km/h run taken care of in just 7.7 seconds. However combine this with a 60 kg weight loss plan and 107 g/km provisional emissions, and a 4.2-l/100 km fuel consumption figure might be achievable. During our test, we managed no lower than 5.3-l/100 km.

The engine is also sublimely well-matched to the slick-shifting revised version of the seven-speed automatic box – which offers smooth, quick changes.

We had no problem with those Walter de Silva penned coupé lines, but the drive of the first-generation A5 Coupé was, with due respect, average. Thankfully, like the A4 before it, the new A5 gets the same suite of upgrades to help driver appeal. The A5 is now built on the same MLB evo platform and benefits from sharper, new electromechanical steering.

Then there’s the tidy handling; our A5 was fitted with optional adaptive damping, which depending on the mode has a minimising effect on any conceivable body roll.

THE LOOK

Outside, the new A5 looks familiar, but different. The biggest change between the first and second-generation cars has to be with the front-end design. Present is the expected Audi family grille, but it is lower, larger and wider. There’s more of a curve to the now standard xenon headlights and bonnet. In fact, the bonnet is particularly curvy. At the side, Audi has kept the A5 Mk1’s distinctive and curvy shoulder line, but there’s now 3D definition, plus small chrome details on the front wings and the A4-like floating edge where the bonnet meets the front wings. The back is the most conventional part of the A5’s new design, but the 3D-like design of the rear lights is rather neat.

The interior design borrows much of its style from the latest A4, but is none the worse for that. The Virtual Cockpit system – an R8,500 option that was fitted to our car – is likely the most innovative instrumentation system available at this level. Not only is it fast, sharp, and super smooth, but also comprehensive and exceedingly user-friendly.

INSIDE STORY

As is the norm from the Ingolstadt carmaker, the new Audi A5’s interior features the usual attractive premium feel and is supremely comfortable. Seats, while firm and supportive, are lusciously comfortable, and should do well over long distances.

It might not look like it, but the new A5 is built on a wheelbase that’s 17 mm longer than before. That might not sound like much, but along with 26 mm more shoulder room and 12 mm more headroom, it makes a world of difference to the A5’s interior. There is also an additional 10 litres of luggage space over the previous generation car.

It is worth noting that the new A5 has more standard equipment than before. Xenon headlamps are worked into the base price, the Audi Drive Select (previously only available as an option), and the latest connectivity system. That’s on top of other kit such as cruise control, keyless start, three-zone climate control, 18” alloys, and a decent 10-speaker sound system.

While there is more standard spec than before, it remains necessary to add some optional items if you want anything more than the basics.

Our car was additionally fitted with equipment including electric front seats with memory function (R20,310), which is standard on rivals including the recently launched Mercedes-Benz E 220 Coupé. MMI navigation is a R20,000 additional cost, while a basic smartphone interface system will set you back R4,950.

It’s not necessary to go quite as far as Audi has with our test car in terms of adding optional extras – total of R175,420 on our test unit – but bare this in mind when you go shopping for new wheels.

LAST WORD

The new A5 might be a keener drive, but rivals such as the BMW 4 Series feel sportier. That’s perfectly fine though, if you use the A5 for relaxed highway cruising and expect your car to do more than charge from point A to point B. It is a tasteful and refined animal with wholesome qualities that will certainly age with grace.

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