2008 Audi A5 (Short Take) | Buyer Guide


A5 Is A Strong Competitor In Its Own Right

“The Audi A5 is the most beautiful car I’ve ever designed,” says Walter de’Silva, head of Volkswagen Group Design. And there is no argument that it is a gorgeous sports coupe. It drew a lot of admiring glances while I had it. My gray test car looked almost identical to the S5 that I reviewed earlier. It even wore the same 19-inch optional wheels. The only visual difference I noticed was in the grille. The S5 has a platinum color for its “egg-crate” design. The A5’s is black.

Since the A5 and the S5 are similar in many respects, I’m focusing this review on how the two differ. The feature that serves to distinguish these two Audis the most is the choice of engines. The S5 gets a 4.2-liter V-8 that pumps out 354 horsepower, and the A5 comes with a 265 hp V-6 with a displacement of 3.2 liters. The A5 accelerates to 60 in 6.1 seconds—the S5 is a second quicker. The power of the S5 comes on like thunder, but the A-5’s V-6 is no slouch either. It feels strong, and it delivers a smooth stream of power throughout the rev range.

Both cars come with a standard Quattro all-wheel drive and the choice of a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic. The A5 test car, as well as the S5 that I drove came with the manual gearbox. The shift throws were short and direct, and the clutch had a light feel and engaged smoothly.

The S5 comes with a standard sport suspension—the A5 does not. Yet, even with the less aggressive set up, it still was entertaining to drive. The car displayed good balance and sure-footedness when driven with verve. I particularly enjoyed the quick and precise steering. It provided just the right kind of feedback on narrow twisty roads. The ride was also more compliant than that of the S5 with the sport suspension.

Last but not least, there’s a major difference in price. The A5 starts at $40,675—

the S5 goes for about $10,000 more.

Snapshot Review

Sexy Styling
Potent Power Train
Sure-Footed Handling

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