Audi A4 loses the rear doors, gains some style and becomes the A5
The new Audi A4 is light, economical and practical, but that won't be enough for some people. Enter the A5 Coupe, which drops the back doors and cranks up the style on Audi's midsize stalwart. There's no doubting it's a handsome car, but there's more to this high-tech coupe than a pretty face.
Just like the A4 it's based on, the new A5 is light. The body alone is 60 kg (132 lb) lighter than before, thanks to a clever mix of hot-formed steel, cold-formed steel and aluminum. That plays a part in reducing the old car's 1,500 kg (3,307 lb) curb weight, as do new suspension components.
It's also slicker than the outgoing car's body, with a drag coefficient of just 0.25. According to Audi, that makes it more aerodynamically efficient than the BMW 4 Series, Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Lexus RC.
Lightness will also improve the A5's handling. Audi's engineers tried to give the car a dual personality, aiming for a coupe that's rock-solid on an autobahn blast, but still able to get up on its toes and dance on the Stelvio Pass. One of the ways they've tried to do it is with variable electromechanical steering, which adjusts its weight based on how fast you're going.
That sounds good in theory, but considering Audi struggled to extract huge amounts of steering feel from a traditional hydraulic power steering setup, we'll have to wait and see if the A5's electric system actually delivers "highly precise road feedback" though.
In keeping with the variable, adjustable, bi-polar character of the car, there's also an optional adjustable suspension system that lets you tailor the damping through the integrated Drive Select system.
Under the hood, there will be five different engines available from launch, most of which can be coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox or VW group's ubiquitous seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. There will be three diesel motors on offer, and two turbocharged petrol motors, with power outputs ranging between 140 kW (190 hp) and 210 kW (286 hp).
We're most interested in the S5, though, with its turbocharged 260 kW (354 hp) 3.0-liter V6 punching out 15 kW (21 hp) more than the last version could manage. All that power is put to the all four wheels through an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox for a 4.7 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph).
Opening a door reveals an interior that, just like every Audi interior of the past decade, looks immaculately finished. It's largely unchanged from the A4's cabin, which means you get the same broad, sweeping dashboard and Virtual Cockpit. It's not quite as visually exciting as the Lexus RC's interior, but that's never really been the point with an Audi cabin.
As you'd expect of a German luxury car, there are plenty of options available on the new A5. Audi offers up cross-traffic alerts, automatic emergency braking, cruise control that supports stop-start traffic and parking assistance, although what's standard and what's optional will depend on where you live.
Pricing is yet to be revealed.
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