New Car Review

2016 Audi A5: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 Audi A5 is a car on the edge, but not in a good way. Audi's image is usually of cars with plenty of cutting-edge technology in all areas, such as safety, driving dynamics and convenience features. But the 2016 A5 is on the edge of extinction.

As a compact coupe or convertible (known as a cabriolet), the A5 is based on the current A4, which is being completely renewed for the 2017 model year. A new A5 is also coming down the line.

The A5 is still a looker, and its quality remains high, but the ways in which this generation shows its age is in terms of equipment. There's no USB port, for example. And the only advanced safety feature on offer is a blind spot monitoring system. Everyone else has moved on.

Its 2.0T turbocharged inline 4-cylinder is still a decent engine, but 220 horsepower isn't that much these days. In the classy world of luxury 2-doors, most motors offer considerably more. Audi also has the performance-oriented S5 (reviewed separately) with a supercharged V6, but that doesn't come cheap.

Now might be the right time to snag a great deal on an A5. At least you'll have timeless styling and excellent construction on your side.

What's New for 2016?

There's no Prestige trim this year, so the range-topping level is the Premium Plus, which gets the Bang & Olufsen audio system as standard. But the optional collision-mitigation system is no longer available. Every version now has the previously optional S Line Appearance package as standard. The base Premium trim is now legible for the Audi connect system that turns the car into a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot and includes various Google applications, such as Google Earth for navigation functions.

What We Like

Beautiful styling; top-class interior; refined driving dynamics; standard all-wheel drive for the coupe

What We Don't

Engine lacking in power and efficiency; cabriolet has a soft-top, rather than a retractable hardtop; no USB port

How Much?

$41,425-$51,125

Fuel Economy

All A5 models feature Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system and a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The coupe has either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic, while the cabriolet comes only with the 8-speed automatic.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fuel economy for the coupe with the manual transmission is 22 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined. The automatic version returns 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined. The cabriolet achieves 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Audi A5 Coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) come in Premium and Premium Plus trim levels.

The Premium Coupe ($41,425) and Cabriolet ($48,825) have 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, sporty S Line exterior trim, LED running lights and taillights, fog lights, a panoramic sunroof (coupe only), a power-operated vinyl roof (cabriolet only), leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control (rear passengers get their own controls), power front seats with driver-lumbar adjustment, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth (phone only), iPod integration, Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system with a dash-mounted control knob, a 6.5-in display and a 10-speaker audio system with auxiliary input, an SD-card reader and satellite radio.

The Premium Plus Coupe ($43,725) and Cabriolet ($51,125) add auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry/starting, heated front seats with driver memory functions and a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system (14 speakers in the coupe; 12 speakers in the cabriolet).

Some Premium Plus features are available in the Premium as options. Other extras include 19-in wheels, adaptive cruise control and a comprehensive Sport package. This includes sport front seats, a sport-tuned suspension, shift paddles for automatic-transmission cars and the drive select system, which gives the driver electronic adjustments for steering effort, automatic-transmission programming and throttle response.

Available exclusively on Premium Plus Cabriolet models is a Comfort package, which adds seat-mounted neck heating vents and ventilated front seats. Premium Plus (Coupe and Cabriolet) also offers a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a blind spot monitoring system.

Safety

The Audi A5 comes with standard stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. The coupe has six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain), while the cabriolet has four airbags (front and front-side).

The A5 has not been crash-tested in the United States.

Behind the Wheel

The driving position is decidedly low-slung, but the standard front seats are unexpectedly plain, offering little in the way of lateral support. We expect more in a European sport/luxury coupe. The Sport package's upgraded front seats are a big improvement, though, providing side support along with excellent long-distance comfort. However, only Premium Plus models are eligible for this upgrade.

Unlike in the A4, the door-mounted armrests in the A5 curve back far enough to support the elbows of taller drivers.

The cabriolet might well be the slowest premium convertible on the market, providing only adequate power for standard passing and merging maneuvers. Much the same could be said for the coupe, although it does offer a 6-speed manual that provides greater driver involvement. Ultimately, there's no getting around the engine's modest output. The A5 looks as if it has a talent for speed, but the turbo 4-cylinder runs out of puff too soon.

Handling is perfectly fine in standard form and excellent with the Sport package's sport-tuned suspension, while the ride remains supple, unless you have the optional 19-in wheels (which we wouldn't advise). On the highway, the A5 feels completely stable, tracking straight with no vibration at any speed. Road and wind noises are more noticeable in the cabriolet, but it remains peaceful by soft-top standards. Overall, the A5 is a pleasure to drive. Only the power deficit holds it back.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW 4 Series -- Available as a coupe or a convertible with a retractable hardtop, the 4 Series is really the one.

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class -- Both coupe and cabriolet variants of the new-generation C-Class are about to be launched.

2016 Lexus RC -- A newcomer to the scene, the RC is only available as a coupe right now but comes with plenty of standard equipment and top-notch build quality.

Used BMW M3 (2008-2013) -- A lightly used, V8-powered 414-hp M3 may be acquired for the price of a new A5.

Autotrader's Advice

Now's the time to be aggressive when negotiating a deal. The ideal choice would be the cabriolet, since that car is more about sun-soaked fun with a premium vibe than outright driving ability.

Find an Audi A5 for sale

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Used 2016 Audi A5 2.0T Premium Plus quattro Cpe
Used 2016 Audi A5
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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Audi A5 2.0T Premium Plus quattro
Used 2016 Audi A5
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Audi A5: New Car Review - Autotrader