• 2018-Audi-A5-Coupe

Road Test: 2018 Audi A5 Coupe

Try Something Different

Audi is famous for its fine sedans, and they’ve more recently added a line of popular crossover vehicles. The A5, however, is a coupe, occupying a slightly sportier segment in the lineup. This next-generation (2018) model just received significant updates, too, on a new chassis.

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The growing “Singleframe” grill

While Audis have been conservatively updated over the years, its general proportions historically are clean and balanced. Over the last several years, larger and larger grills and more edges have become more part of the company’s design language.

Despite some sharply defined details, the new 2018 Audi A5 has a pleasing upward curve on the rear fenders, with muscular haunches giving more liveliness to the design. The hood wears sharp creases as it points down to the fiercely rendered “eyes” and a wider, flatter “Singleframe” grill. As per today’s style book, vents under the headlight pods give a more mechanical, race car feel. You can order up optional LED or matrix LED headlamps with dynamic turn signals, too.  

The Shining Place

Where Audis especially shine is in their interiors. This one is no different. With the new model’s longer wheelbase, the interior offers more room. The aluminum trim glistens throughout and assembly and materials remain first-rate.

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A Virtual Cockpit adds to dash enhancements

The electronic Virtual Cockpit delights with its realistic, but artificially generated instrument panel. Its high-resolution 12.3-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) display can be configured in two ways with a push of a button. It’s fun to watch the dials shrink and slide to the sides to display vehicle information.

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All the controls are at your right hand

As usual, you control what’s on your center console screen with a dial on the floor console. You can get used to this way of interaction. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto give you access to your apps and conveniences like hands-free texting (it’s legal) while underway.

So many nice touches. A rimless rearview mirror sits between the reading lamps, which turn on as your hand nears them. Strip lights under the door speakers and on the console add ambiance at night. The trunk offers four chrome tiedowns and a netted storage area on each side.

Any Engine You Want–As Long As It’s a 2.0L Turbo

In the U.S., your engine choice is single–a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder that puts out 252 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque. Good news–you can select either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic with no price difference. My tester came with the automatic, which is the way most buyers in America are likely to take it. In Germany, there are several diesel engine options, which we are not likely to ever see on this side of the Atlantic.

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One engine to rule the Americas

This compact turbo powerplant takes the 3,549-pound 2018 Audi A5 from zero-to-60 in a respectable 5.7 seconds. And there’s plenty of entertainment as the firm suspension and crisp steering give you a feeling of lightness and control. The new A5 is 132.2 pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the use of advanced materials and lightweight design.

EPA numbers, for a sporty car, are quite good: 24 mpg city/34 highway/27 combined. I averaged 24.8 mpg, but in an example of how you drive making a difference, my final 18-mile commute netted 30.2 mpg. That puts the 2018 Audi A5 squarely in our AWD 30 MPG Club. The green scores are 5 for Smog and 6 for Greenhouse Gas–about average for an internal combustion engine.

Standard Features & Options

Of course, the 2018 Audi A5 has Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system to effortlessly provide more safety and performance. There’s a long list of standard safety features, from eight airbags to Pre-sense, which can help detect cornering and stationary vehicles and pedestrians, warn the drive and initiate emergency braking. You’d expect no less.

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A few new creases–no wrinkles

Like so many cars in this segment, the standard package is well-equipped already, but you can easily load it up. My Glacier White Metallic tester ($575 for that special paint) included the Premium Plus Package ($3,000), with heated mirrors and seats, SiriusXM, a parking assistance system and much more. The Navigation Package ($2,600) includes navigation plus the Virtual Cockpit. The S-line sport package ($1,250) injects sportiness and exclusivity with 18-inch alloy wheels, unique S-line bumpers, fender badges, sill blades and a sport suspension.

But wait, there’s more! My car also included a sensational Bang & Olufsen audio system with 3D sound ($950) and an upgrade to the S-line 19-inch wheel package ($800). Do the math, and a car with a base prices of $42,800 comes to $52,950 with destination charge and all those packages.

Audi has been on a roll for quite a while, with sales numbers increasing month-to-month for years. Although some of the simplicity of the design is lost, the mixture of driver-oriented performance features and the exquisite quality of assembly and components add up to a compelling package in the 2018 Audi A5. Although coupes are a minority today, it shows that the four-ring marque is serious about providing a range of choices. But minivans or pickup trucks are coming.

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

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About Author: Steve Schaefer

Steve Schaefer has written a weekly automotive column for 26 years, testing more than 1,250 cars. Now, he’s focusing on EVs and hybrids. Steve remembers the joy of riding in his father’s Austin-Healey. After discovering the August, 1963 issue of Motor Trend, he became entranced with the annual model change, and began stalking dealers’ back lots to catch the new models as they rolled off the transporter. Coming from a family that owned three Corvairs, Steve was one of the first Saturn buyers, earning him a prominent spot in their 1994 product catalogue. To continue the GM tradition, Steve now has a Chevrolet Bolt EV. Steve is a founding member of the Western Automotive Journalists. Recently, Steve became a Climate Reality Leader, trained by Al Gore, and is focused on moving to EVs and 100% renewable energy. Read his EV/hybrid blog at stevegoesgreen.com.

4 thoughts on “Road Test: 2018 Audi A5 Coupe

  1. Sachin Sawhney
    May 29, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    What a beautiful car but I would still go with a Tesla. When I do compare say the Model 3 on sites like zappyride.com and autoblog.com there is no comparison. Tesla beats Audi on the cost front!

    • May 30, 2018 at 1:10 am

      @Sachin, You may be right on paper, but you can buy an A5 and drive it off the lot right now; a Model 3 could be a two-year wait (and remember, the tax credit will be gone at that point). Not arguing about merits, here, but practicality. What’s your response? –ed.

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