This is the new Audi A5. A car that's based on the same platform as the new A4. But if the latter is your well-to-do, sharply dressed analyst at a finance firm hired for a song, the A5 is the rockstar in the same firm. All the A4s want to be the A5. As for the A6s, well, they just envy the A5 for its flamboyance.
So as you might have guessed - though the numeric part in the name is a straight giveaway - the A5 sits between the A4 and the A6, be it price or size. But Audi believes that unlike the even numbered cars, the A5 will mostly be an impulse purchase; a desire really to buy something that stands out.
And stand out the A5 most definitely does. With its pumped up hood, it's coupe like silhouette, and emotive headlamp design, it calls for attention. We love the design of the wheels too.
Now the A5 might be based in the A4, but it is visually longer. And as specs suggest, it also sits on a longer wheelbase. It sits closer to the ground too, which on instances meant we had to be extra careful over poor roads and speed breakers, just so we don't damage its good looking low door sills.
At the back, it's typically Audi. Tail lamps run into the boot lid; there isn't too much going on in terms of lines; and you can trace its roots back to the A4 when viewed from the rear.
If you have been in an A4 or even the new Q7 for that matter, the A5 will feel familiar. Like the Lannisters from Game of Thrones. The Lannisters have their golden hair, great looks and taut bodies, while the new Audis - at least on the inside - have that awesome full colour instrument binnacle, the never-ending aircon vents, and of course, outstanding quality.
The huge plus for the A5 meanwhile, is the visibility. With its slim A-pillar and surprisingly high seating, the view upfront is unrestricted. It also has good, comfy and spacious seats and apart from the gearshifter everything turns, feels and responds like a well-engineered item.
And, it’s loaded with equipment; but then that’s something you'd expect from a Rs 50 lakhs or thereabouts luxury car. It gets three-zone climate control, high-end MMI system, scratchpad, sunroof, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, parking sensors with a reversing camera, driving modes and the regular suite of safety tech.
Space wise, there's good room for four and their luggage and with that hatchback like opening, stuffing bags, suitcases or possibly golf bags comes easy as well. If there's something we didn't like, it is the ingress and egress. It was a little too low for our no-gym, non-yoga lazy bodies.
The new A5 can only be had with one engine-gearbox combo. You get a 2-litre, four cylinder diesel with near 190bhp and smile inducing 400Nm of peak torque. And it is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic.
The engine itself is fantastic. It's quiet, strong and as unobtrusive as money in the bank. The best bit - unless you drive with the throttle pinned to the floor, you'd be hard pressed to tell if this is in fact a diesel engine.
As for the gearbox, it works best in Comfort mode. The gearshifts are quick, seamless and early. It goes well with the relaxed nature of the car. You can turn up the volume by switching to Dynamic. The throttle response gets perkier, the gearshifts get a little more pronounced, and the steering weighs up too, though a bit too artificially for our liking.
Nothing changes on the suspension front, no matter what mode you select. So the ride is always calm, the occupants are well insulated, and it refuses to wallow or crash into anything. We won't term the ride as plush, but it is well judged so one can spend long hours in the car without feeling uncomfortable or irritable.
As far as handling goes, the A5 is as planted as an A380 over Pacific skies. Sure, you can feel some undulations, hear a bit of tyre noise, and get mildly rocked about in the A5, but it never feels anything but solid even in the high hundreds.
Now this one is a front wheel drive car and with that sort of torque, it's bound to get into some understeer come hard cornering. Now to be honest, Jaipur didn't provide us with the opportunity to test Audi's claim about the A5's smart diff that gets rid of the whole understeering saga, but given the lack of torque steer, we are inclined to believe Audi here.
|Variant||2.0 TDI Ultra|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||190 @ 3800-4200|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400 @ 1750-3000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||54|
|Tyre size||245/40 R18|
|Three-zone climate control||Yes|
|High-end MMI system||Yes|
|Parking sensors with a reversing camera||Yes|
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Model||A5 Sportback||3 Series GT|
|Variant||2.0 TDI Ultra||320d Luxury Line|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||190 @ 3800-4200||188 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400 @ 1750-3000||400 @ 1750|
|Gears||Seven-speed DSG||Eight-speed auto|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||54||57|
|Tyre size||245/40 R18||225/50 R18|
We quite like the A5 and can completely understand why one would want to skip the A4 and go straight for this sportback. It's good looking; easy and yet fun to drive; and it has that luxury flavour one so needs when spending around Rs 50 lakhs. It's only competition meanwhile, is the BMW 3 Series GT, which retails between Rs 42 to RS 48 lakhs.
Pictures: Kapil Angane