Martin Czernowalow
4 minute read
1 Jul 2017
4:23 pm

Audi’s new A5 Coupe is a beast with a softer side

Martin Czernowalow

Car entices the driver with lots of awesome features, but that comes at a price and quite a hefty one too.

At first glance, the Audi A5 Coupe looks formidable. It’s low, sleek and somewhat angry-looking – giving off an aura of going fast even when it’s standing still.

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“It’s a beast,” I remarked to a colleague when I first laid eyes on it. And I was right – but not entirely. As fast and furious as the car might appear at first, it soon became apparent that it is just as civilised as we’d come to expect from modern German luxury cars.

The civilised part of the A5 becomes really apparent on the inside. The interior is typically Audi – classy, yet minimalist and ultra-comfortable.

With plenty of adjustment to steering wheel and seating position, it is really easy to get snug behind the wheel in one of the front leather bucket seats – with seat adjustments coming via easy-to-use buttons. This makes for a comfortable ride over long distances – as long as you are sitting in the front.

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The back – as is typical of most two-door coupes – is a bit cramped, but then this is hardly your standard family sedan.

The interior does offer some other cool features, such as the as three-zone climate control and a sleek-looking, angular dash.

Of course, one of the coolest features inside this car is the Virtual Cockpit feature, displayed in the centre of the console and can be viewed through two different modes – Classic and Infotainment Modes.

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These give the driver four main areas of information: driving information, media and on-demand information, communication and navigation.

Navigation is done via knobs and buttons on steering wheel and accessing menus and sub-menus is surprisingly easy and intuitive. However, a thorough reading of the owner’s manual is recommended.

The A5’s sat-nav system is delivered via a display that is mounted centrally on the dashboard and is controlled using a rotary dial that is situated between the front seats.

The navigation system can also be displayed on the Virtual Cockpit display, meaning that your eyes hardly ever have to leave the road.

A quick glance down at where your gauges normally are will tell you everything you need to know about where you are and where you are heading.

One of the obvious shortcomings is that the sat-nav display lacks a touch-screen function, which would make flipping through the menus even simpler. However, the rotary dial does the trick – unless you have to input the full name of your destination, then this can become somewhat tedious.

Unfortunately, the A5’s two-litre diesel engine lets it down a bit. This is where the car is perhaps a tad too civilised and not as beastly as it looks. The powerplant pushes out about 140kW of power and 400NM of torque.

This, coupled with a fairly heavy body, makes for underwhelming pull off and acceleration. The car feels a bit sluggish and there is definitely better performance to be had from other two-litre diesels on the market.

A BMW 320d comes to mind. However, the 7-speed S tronic gearbox on the test car did make for a fun ride and paddle shift on the steering wheel gave me that extra element of being “in control”.

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But all said and done, I would seriously advise looking at the bigger engine options if you are looking to get the most out of your investment. Speaking of which, this car does not come cheap.

The test car’s standard price was listed as R653 000 and it was kitted out with options to the value of an additional R175 000.

All said, that’s close to about R830 000. Perhaps it’s fair to say that there is a lot more right with the A5 then there is wrong.

It is a very comfortable ride, much easier to park and manoeuvre than its size might imply and certainly does turn heads. It was nifty enough to drive around town and reverse into tight spaces – the park assist feature with rear-facing camera certainly did the job – and sporty enough to take open up on the highway for a long cruise.

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In all, I liked the A5. I missed it after having to part with it after a week.

But would I splurge more than R800k to own one? No, I sadly wouldn’t.