Nine years to move from one generation to the next is a long time indeed. The debut of the first-gen A5 dates all the way back to 2007. It was a scintillating design back in the day. Compared to that, the second gen, which arrives first in coupe form in Europe, doesn’t make quite the same impact. The revolution, if at all, is hidden deep under the skin. The second-gen A5, like the all-new A4, is now based on the Volkswagen Group’s lightweight MLB Evo platform.
From the start of 2014, Marc Lichte occupied the chair of lead designer at Audi that once belonged to Wolfgang Egger. Lichte, for his part, comes to the Audi style summit with the task of differentiating the visual impact of the cars with the four rings – which are often judged (or misjudged perhaps) to be too similar to one another. Given Lichte’s past work, his particular skill to elevate the values of a brand, while also managing to pull the emotional strings of customers, should come in handy here. But if that’s the case, one may also wonder why the new A5 is so similar to the outgoing model? You see, when Lichte took his new office back in 2014, the design sheets of the future A5 were already largely frozen. Lichte expressed his ideas on the future of Audi style in the Prologue concept unveiled in November 2014. Now all he could do with the new A5 was to fine-tune its design at best. So, he redesigned and lowered the grille, making the headlights appear as if they’re higher up, and giving the shoulders a typical three-dimensional appearance. Widened wheel arches emphasize the Quattro four-wheel drive, which Audi thinks is a very important and distinctive detail.
THE A4 LURKS WITHIN
You won’t be surprised to learn that, under the hood, it has a lot in common with the all-new A4. Globally, it’ll be offered with a 2.0 TFSI motor that produces 188bhp (debuting on the A5), along with a turbo diesel (TDI) mill of the same displacement and power output. Completing the range is the 3.0 V6 TDI available in two states of tune – either 215bhp or 282bhp. A plug-in hybrid may be added to the range as well later on, since the Q7 (also based on MLB Evo platform) also has an e-Tron variant in the range. Transmission options on the new A5 include a six-speed manual, a seven-speed S tronic (dual-clutch) and an eight-speed tiptronic. Drive goes either to the front wheels, or to all four, depending on the engine/gearbox configuration. On request, Audi will equip the A5 with a sport differential and adjustable dampers. Another new feature is the new electromechanical power steering – dynamic steering is optional. The adoption of the MLB Evo platform makes it 47mm longer, going from 4,626mm to 4,673mm. Overall weight has gone down by close to 60 kilograms. Boot space has increased by ten litres, now up to 465-litres. In terms of safety and tech, the A5 comes loaded with an identical list of systems to the new A4, including semi-autonomous driving technology and cutting edge infotainment options. In fact, the interiors of the two cars are almost identical – and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is available of course. Enthusiasts looking for something more striking and sporty ought to wait for the RS5, which arrives in the second half of 2017. The regular A5 and S5 will reach dealerships in major international markets by end of 2016. We’re likely to get the S5 sometime next year, followed by the RS5 after it makes its global debut.
BETWEEN 2 AND 4 DOORS
From 2007 till now, there have been more than 750,000 A5’s delivered worldwide – over 460,000 units in Europe alone. Interestingly, Europe seems to prefer the practicality afforded by the four-door version, as opposed to the United States – where the two-door A5 Coupe is the preferred choice. In India, we were offered the four-door Sportback S5 and two-door RS5 over the past couple of years.
MORE POWER TO THE S5
Like the S4, the next generation S5 will also come powered by the new six-cylinder 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged petrol – yes, they’ve ditched the supercharger! There’s no need to complain though, since the motor delivers 349bhp – that’s 21 more horses than the outgoing version. Audi claims, with that much firepower under the hood, the S5 will be able to achieve the 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.7 seconds. Be gentle with the throttle though, and Audi says you can eek out 13.7 kilometres on a litre of petrol! Compare the S5 with its more docile sister, and it’s clear that it’s characterized by some interesting details that emphasize its dynamic attitude – both inside and out.
At first glance, telling the new model from the old one is quite a tough task. But what you don’t notice with your bare eyes is that it’s now 4cm longer, flaunts a new version of the single-frame grille, has wheel arches that are more prominent, as well as shoulder lines that make a visible three-dimensional impression. Also, LED lights now grace the front and back (Matrix LED lamps up front are optional too)
The cabin is virtually identical to the A4 – with its 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that makes up Audi’s Virtual Cockpit and 8.3-inch central display for the infotainment system
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Also read: All new Audi A5 and S5 Coupe unveiled