First Spin: 2013 Audi A5
The Audi A5 was created for the 2008 model year to fill out the automaker’s lineup. At that time, the company’s only 2-door cars (the premium-sporty/performance TT and exotic R8) sure had the performance credentials to appeal to car enthusiasts and high-end shoppers. But while many buyers lust after road-ripping sports cars, the purchase of a “grins” car such as the TT or R8 is difficult to justify, given the high price and/or lack of everyday practicality. Hence, the A5 joined the ranks. It had a certain sporty appeal, an engaging driving demeanor, and enough performance to satisfy most buyers. But, it also had somewhat usable rear seats, a relatively large trunk, and a comfortable interior. Feels like a good left-brain/right-brain compromise, huh?
Well, now the company has tweaked the A5 for the 2013 model year. The changes, compared with its predecessor, mostly center on cosmetic enhancements and new technology features. The hood, front bumper, headlights, taillights, front grille, and fog lights have been redesigned. Inside, the steering wheel, instrument cluster, and shifter have new designs. Also, new technology options are available, including voice control for cell phones and the navigation system, which, by the way, has been enhanced with data and images from Google Maps.
The Audi A5 uses a 211-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that also appears in many of the company’s vehicles, including the Allroad and A4 premium-compact cars and the A6 premium-midsize car. The A5 convertible (called Cabriolet) is available with front- or all-wheel-drive; the coupe is all-wheel-drive only. In front-wheel-drive form, the engine is mated to a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) that behaves much like an automatic. When equipped with all-wheel drive, buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. Interestingly, these are also used in the A4 and A6, as well. A5 matches the smaller 4-door A4 in fuel economy at 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and the CVT. It’s the same story with AWD and the manual (22/32) and automatic transmissions (20/30). The A6 ekes out slightly better fuel economy with the CVT (25/33), but matches the A4 and A5’s numbers with the automatic.
All A5s come in one trim level, called Premium. In lieu of additional trim levels, the A5 is offered with option packages that offer similar levels of equipment. The Premium comes standard with functional items such as a front limited-slip differential, heated power mirrors with turn signals, power sunroof on the coupe, a power-operated top and wind deflector on the convertible, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer nozzles, automatic headlights, fog lights, and alloy wheels. In the cabin, it has tri-zone automatic climate controls, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, aluminum or wood interior trim, digital-media player connection, memory-card slot, and satellite radio. All-wheel-drive models include a rear limited-slip differential as well.
Next up the line is the Premium Plus package. It adds such desired niceties as heated seats, an iPod connection, wireless cell-phone link, LED daytime running lights and taillights, and xenon headlights. The Prestige package contains everything in the Premium Plus package, but adds rear-obstacle detection, blind-spot alert, navigation system with voice recognition, rearview camera, high-end Bang and Olufsen sound system, HD Radio, and steering-linked adaptive headlights. Standalone options include sport seats, steering-wheel shift paddles for the automatic transmission, ventilated front seats, Audi Connect assistance system, MMI infotainment system, and a drive-mode selector that changes the feel of the steering, throttle response, and transmission shift programming.
We drove the 2013 Audi A5 coupe and convertible equipped with AWD and the Premium Plus package and Audi MMI Navigation Plus package during an automaker-sponsored event. How did it do while cruising the highway and carving winding mountain roads in the thin air of the Colorado mountains? See the next page to find out.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.