In Depth

Audi A5 and RS5: Specs, prices and reviews

Faster four-door RS5 Sportback is spotted testing before Frankfurt debut

Audi has an all-new A5 model for 2017, a large, two-door coupe based on the Audi A4 and boasting a refreshed – although only evolutionary – design.

Featuring five new engines and a high-end interior, the A5 continues the Audi formula with a handful of tweaks. Here are all the details and what the experts think.

Design

Audi has given its second generation A5 an evolutionary refresh, placing the car in line with the new Audi A4. While it still uses many of the styling elements of its predecessor, the overall look is sharper and more purposeful.

The front grille sits lower but is wider than on previous incarnations and is flanked by bigger, more aggressive vents in the front bumper, feeding into a new bonnet with more muscular creases running down it and new headlights.

Sharper creases run down the sides, with a noticeable lip running the length of the shoulder line. Around the back sit thinner taillights, inspired by the A4. New construction techniques means that overall, the new A5 is 132lbs lighter.

The faster, S5 version gets even bigger intakes at the front and a rear diffuser at the back.

On the inside, Evo says the A5's cabin is vastly similar to the one you'll find in the A4 and uses the same high quality materials. It makes use of the same wide, chunky, layered dashboard with the horizontal design theme running through it, while an 8.3ins display sits on top the centre console. Audi's 12.3ins Virtual Cockpit display is also an option.

Engines

Audi will launch the A5 coupe with five engine options: two petrols and three diesels.

Petrols kick off with Audi's turbocharged 2.0-litre TFSI four cylinder, producing 187bhp. Audi is yet to spell out its full engine range in detail, but Autocar says a more powerful, 248bhp petrol engine is set to join the line-up.

As for the diesels, the magazine says a 2.0-litre with 187bhp will be offered alongside two 3.0-litre V6 choices, in 215bhp and 268bhp states of tune.

As for the range-topping S5, it gets a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol producing 349bhp. It takes 4.7secs to do 0-62mph and top speed is limited to 155mph.

RS5 Sportback

Those looking for a fast four-door version of the A5 may be in luck. According to AutoExpress, Audi is expected to unveil a hardcore RS5 Sportback at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show. 

Spy shots posted by the magazine show what appears to be a regular four-door A5 Sportback, but closer inspection reveals small wheel arch extensions and two large oval exhausts that are synonymous with the RS performance brand. 

The development mule also sports a set of RS alloy wheels and a carbon fibre diffuser taken from the two-door version. 

It will be powered by the 444bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine of the regular RS5, reports Autocar. However, the "heavier Sportback" is expected to have a slightly slower zero to 62mph figure than the coupe's time of 3.9secs. 

The RS5 Sportback will also get "a rear-biased quattro all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic gearbox", says Evo

It also says Audi looks set to take the wraps off the RS5 Sportback at Frankfurt, with prices expected to enter just above the coupe's £62,000.

RS5 coupe

It's been nearly seven years since Audi launched its hardcore RS5 coupe as a direct competitor to the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG. 

Now a new model has been seen at the Geneva Motor Show, due to go on sale this summer for €80,900 (£70,900). 

The updated RS5 has a significant redesign over its predecessor, including sharper angles around the front bumper and flared wheel arches for a muscular look. It also has a large twin-exhaust layout and diffuser insert, mirroring other models in the RS range. 

An all-new 2.9-litre biturbo petrol V6 engine replaces the 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 motor and while it matches the outgoing car's 444bhp power output, torque has been boosted to 442lb-ft - a hefty 125lb-ft more. 

It's also economical, with AutoExpress reporting the V6 can achieve an average 32.5mpg and 197g/km of CO2 emissions, "partly thanks to a lower kerb weight", which drops by 132lbs on the previous model to 3,649lbs. 

The RS5 gets Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system, paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There's also a "different suspension setup", says CarBuyer, which improves "handling and comfort".

Official UK prices and options will be revealed closer to the RS5's launch in June 2017.

Reviews

Auto Express describes the new A5 as "predictable but impressive", praising its high quality interior and "calm, refined and cultured" demeanour when cruising.

Like the A4, the steering can "feel a little vague" and the Quattro four-wheel drive model "majors on grip" rather than driver engagement, the magazine adds.

What Car? agrees, saying the A5 excels in cabin quality and comfort, but lacks the sportiness of some of its rivals and "could be little more exciting to drive".

The site continues that the three-litre diesel engine with four-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic gearbox is both powerful at low revs and well refined, making the sportier S5 petrol engine "seem unnecessary".

It will be difficult to spot the A5 coupe from other models in the range as "this is Audi's most subtle styling update on record", says Top Gear. However, exporting the interior over from its A4 saloon sibling is "not a bad thing" and it is very well equipped. 

The V6 version feels "really nose heavy" and isn't particularly good to drive compared with the BMW 4-Series, the website adds, and while the four-cylinder version is "more agile and responsive", its controls "maintain all the alacrity of an Xbox handset". 

"The A5 occupies a rather awkward middle ground" between the comfort of the Mercedes C Class and the level of driver engagement offered by the 4-Series coupe, says CarBuyer. It handles well on "slightly uneven tarmac", but potholes and bumps can "deliver a whopping great thwack". 

Its 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine and quattro four-wheel drive system are "smooth and occasionally startlingly rapid" when paired with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, it adds. Plus the motor is also very quiet, so "you'll hardly ever know" it's on when pottering around. 

A5 Sportback Reviews

The four-door Sportback shares a lot of its architecture with its two-door coupe sibling, although it is slightly longer to house the extra doors and has a sloped roofline that incorporates a hatchback-style boot lid. 

These modifications have made it easier for passengers to access the vehicle, says AutoExpress, but there isn't a "huge amount of headroom or legroom" over the coupe. It does, however, have a "practical" 480-litre boot, but an Audi A4 Avant will offer "more versatility". 

The front-wheel drive A5 Sportback handles almost as well as its all-wheel drive Quattro sibling, the mag adds, with little body roll when entering corners while the steering has "the right amount of weight to it". However, AutoExpress concludes, buyers looking for a more engaging experience would be better off with the "fun to drive" BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe.

Autocar agrees, but does say the faster Quattro S5 variant is "a very fine choice". It handles well over "toughed-up British B-roads" and the ride quality is "composed and unflustered", adds the mag. 

The driving environment is equally as impressive, thanks to 8.3ins touchscreen with built-in DAB radio and two USB inputs, Autocar continues, adding that the S5 Sportback also offers an array of standard "comfort and safety" features, so there's no need to "plunder the options list".

Prices

The A5 Coupe is available now, with a four-door Sportback version coming later this year and a spring release for convertible versions. Prices start from £30,700, with the 349bhp S5 commanding a five-figure premium starting at £47,000.

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