The 2021 Audi A5 models are the fun-loving variants of the Audi A4 family. Based on the compact Audi A4 sedan, the A5 Coupe, A5 Cabriolet and 5-door A5 Sportback have a dash more flair than their more mainstream sibling while still remaining an incredibly pleasant way of getting around.
By far the most practical is the hatchback A5 Sportback. While the Sportback looks great with its sleek coupe-like roofline, the A5 Coupe and A5 Cabriolet are stunning automobiles that replace what they lose in practicality with a healthy dose of style and fun.
Since the A5 was refreshed last year, 2021 is a relatively quiet year. The one exception: All 2021 Audi A5s now have a 12-volt mild-hybrid powertrain that adds 13 horsepower.
This means the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in the base A5 (a Sportback 40 TFSI Quattro model) now puts out 201 horsepower and the same 236 lb-ft of torque as last year. In the A5 45 TFSI quattro models, the engine now puts out 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque.
Drivers seeking higher performance can get it in the tempting S5 and RS 5 models. All three body styles can be had in S5 form with a 349-hp turbocharged V6, while the RS 5 – packing a twin-turbo V6 that makes a thunderous 444 hp — is available as a coupe or Sportback.
What’s New for 2021?
In addition to all 2021 Audi A5 models gaining 13 horsepower via a new alternator-based 12-volt mild hybrid system, a number of small changes have taken place within the lineup for 2021.
To begin, there’s a new base model, the A5 Sportback 40 TFSI Quattro, which is powered by the 201-horsepower version of the 4-cylinder engine. Also, several changes have been made to the available driver-assist and safety/infotainment technologies.
For instance: Wireless Apple CarPlay is standard across the lineup, and the midlevel Premium Plus trim gets adaptive cruise and lane-keep assist along with a top view camera. What’s more, heated rear seats are now standard on the Prestige, and a Black Optic Package on the Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels has 19-inch alloy wheels and high-performance summer tires. See the Audi A5 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Elegant styling
- Top-class interiors
- Refined driving dynamics
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Three body styles: coupe, convertible, hatchback
What We Don’t
- Pricey options
- No manual transmission
- Cramped back seat in coupes and convertibles
$41,800 to $74,200
All 2021 Audi A5s are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard throughout the A5 range, as is a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi recommends premium fuel. In the entry-level model, the A5 Sportback 40 TSFI Quattro, it produces 201 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates it at 25 miles per gallon city, 34 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined.
In all other A5 models, the 4-cylinder engine is bumped to 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates A5 Sportback and coupe models with this engine at 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined. A5 cabriolets earn 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined
Audi S5 models use a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 making 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This engine is connected to an 8-speed transmission. The 2021 Audi S5 Sportback and coupe are rated at 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.
The RS 5, available as a Sportback and coupe, employs a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 making 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. This engine is also paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It is estimated to earn 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined in Sportback form and 18 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined as a coupe.
Standard Features & Options
The 2021 Audi A5 and S5 come in coupe, Sportback, and convertible (cabriolet) versions and in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. The RS 5 Sportback and coupe come in a single trim. Prices shown are before the destination charge.
Premium trim (Coupe: $44,000, Sportback: $41,800, Cabriolet: $50,400) has 18-in alloy wheels, LED headlights, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and a 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles. Also standard: wireless Apple CarPlay and a 10-speaker audio system with two USB ports. The A5 Sportback has a standard power hatch, while the A5 cabriolet features a power-operated soft-top roof.
An $1,800 Convenience Package is optional on the A5 Premium. It includes an alarm, a heated steering wheel, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, and front and rear acoustic parking sensors. It also comes with a blind-spot alert and Pre Sense Rear, a system that cinches the seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof when a possible rear-end collision is sensed.
Premium Plus (Coupe: $48,900, Sportback: $46,700, Cabriolet: $55,300) adds adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, plus the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit gauges and the Convenience package that’s optional on the A5 Premium. Primary options on the A5 Premium Plus are a $1,500 Navigation package and a Black Optic package featuring black exterior trim and 19-inch alloy wheels fitted with high-performance summer tires.
Prestige (Coupe $53,450, Sportback: $52,400, Cabriolet: $61,150) brings a navigation system, heated rear seats, a head-up display, Matrix-design LED headlight, onboard Wi-Fi and a Bang & Olufsen stereo with 19 speakers.
Sport suspension is a $250 option an all A5s, and side-impact rear airbags can be ordered for $350. We suspect many A5 Cabriolets will be ordered with a luxury package that includes neck-level warm air vents and a heated steering wheel.
In S5 models (Coupe $52,500, Sportback: $52,500, Cabriolet: $60,600), the Premium trim adds Matrix-design LED headlights, and the Cabriolet variant has Nappa seats. Otherwise, their trim-by-trim features are similar to the standard A5 models.
At the top of the food chain, the high-performance Audi RS 5 Sportback and coupe (both $74,200), include a twin-turbo V6, sport rear differential, 19-in wheels, RS sport suspension, and 12-way front seats with massage function.
Options – like the RS 5 itself – are pricey and include upgraded suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, sport exhaust, carbon engine cover, increased top speed to 174 mph, and Nappa leather interior.
For the record, a standard Audi A4 sedan has a 13 cubic foot trunk. The A5 Coupe’s is 11.6 cu ft, while the A5 Cabriolet’s is only 9.3. But in the A5 Sportback, there’s 21.8 cu ft. of luggage area, and that increases to 35 cu ft when the rear seat is folded.
The A5 comes with basic active safety features like forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning.
At the Premium Plus trim level, the 2021 Audi A5 now comes standard with adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. The A5 Coupe and A5 Sportback have eight airbags (front, front side, front knee and side curtain), while the A5 Cabriolet has six airbags and pop-up rollover protection.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the A5 Coupe and A5 Sportback top overall ratings of five stars, with four stars for front-impact protection and five for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has made the A5 Coupe a Top Safety Pick+ after the car earned the top score of Good in all the major categories.
Behind the Wheel
Rear passenger space in the A5 Coupe is better than some might expect. An average adult male can sit comfortably behind a driver of the same height. And although the A5 Sportback is even better, tall folks will still prefer to sit in the front seats.
In typical Audi fashion, the A5’s front seats feel firm at first but become more comfortable as the miles pass. Cabin quality is upscale, while the interior design might best be described as handsomely uncluttered.
The A5 Coupe and A5 Sportback can be relaxing when the mood dictates, but they can frolic on twisty roads when asked. Acceleration is pleasantly brisk. Gearshifts are smooth. And although the ride quality is comfortable, the suspension responds with beautifully damped ride motions when the A5 is being pushed to its cornering limits. While the electric-assist steering has been criticized in the past for a lack of feel, we have no problems with its weight and response.
Where the standard A5 lineup is quick with 0-60 mph times as low as 5.3 seconds, S5 models are downright fast. An S5 coupe, for example, nails that in just 4.4 seconds and feels even tighter in the corners.
For buyers with an even bigger budget and real craving for power, the RS 5 is another beast entirely. With 444 hp at your disposal, you can rip from 0-60 mph in as little as 3.7 seconds. Keep in mind these high-performance Audis have a stiffer suspension that results in stick-to-the-pavement cornering but a rougher ride overall.
Other Cars to Consider
2021 Lexus RC — A comfortable rear-wheel-drive coupe that boasts generous standard equipment and fantastic build quality.
2020 Ford Mustang — Call us crazy, but a Mustang GT might be more fun than an A5 Cabriolet on Route 1 north out of San Francisco. Easier on the wallet, too.
Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe/cabriolet — The previous- generation E-Class coupes and cabrios have timeless styling and bigger engines. Check out the Mercedes-Benz certified pre-owned (CPO) program.
The buyer who wants an Audi A5 Sportback is not the person seeking an A5 Coupe or A5 Cabriolet. And therein lies the beauty of this versatile A5 chassis, which brings good looks, outstanding refinement and excellent technology to three very different vehicles. Whichever one is in your sights, we’d recommend a Premium Plus model for its digital gauges and adaptive cruise control. Find an Audi A5 for sale