► New 2016 Audi A5 unveiled
► Revamped styling, new tech
► Latest S5 packs 349bhp V6
The all-new Audi A5 and S5 are lighter, faster, more efficient, with greater passenger room and all the technology you’d expect from a modern Audi. But the coupe market is partially driven by appearance, and it’s difficult to say that Audi’s latest offering is actually better looking.
In fact, at first glance, the new A5 seems to have traded some of its individual presence for a silhouette that seems entirely too reminiscent of the Audi A4 – a car with which it shares it’s ‘B9’ internal model designation and underlying platform. But then it was always going to be a tricky job replacing the car that former design boss Walter de Silva always described as his ‘masterpiece.’
Are you saying Audi’s fluffed it?
First impressions aren’t that impressive. But you do rapidly begin to notice there are some interesting changes here – and at least you aren’t likely to confuse the new A5 with its predecessor, an accusation that’s all too often levelled at other Audi models.
For example, the front end features a much lower, wider grille that’s pushed far further forward, giving the nose a roundness that’s almost reminiscent of the TT – an impression that’s enhanced by the similarity between the two models’ daytime running light signature.
The bonnet above this is heavily creased at the edges and features a ‘power dome’ in the middle – the first time Audi has ever used this kind of styling device (and it is a device – there’s no mammoth V8 hidden under there). These two elements, previewed on Audi’s recent Prologue concepts, combine to give the front of the A5 a very spare look – a little like all the fat has been sucked away from the muscle, leaving it highly ‘cut’ like a body builder.
A similar trick is employed at the sides, which seem to swell out over the wheel arches but are sucked in at the middle, visually lowering the cabin. The new A5’s rear shoulders aren’t as strong, but you’ll notice the door mirrors have moved from the A-pillar – better for aero and acoustics, apparently.
Speaking of aerodynamics, the new A5 has a drag coefficient of just 0.25 – the best in its segment. Sharp edges at the rear emphasise the aerodynamics, while the S5 gains a tiny lip spoiler to help the back stay planted at speed. The diffuser is purely for show, however, helping to visually narrow the rump of the car.
Still not as striking as the old A5 though, is it?
No. It seems a little heavy handed in places, too. The S5 we saw seemed to have tiny wheels (they were 19-inch alloys…) and looked like it could do with being about an inch lower over them. Still, we like a comfortable ride, right?
More appealing details include the way the polished aluminium trim gets thicker towards the C-pillar, while the big fat pillar itself is said to have ‘what we call a perfect Quattro proportion’ according to Audi. The aluminium accent that bridges the gap from the front wing to the door helps disguise the bonnet shut lines, which are unusually square; the bonnet itself requires a complex four-lever hinge to clear the bodywork – and Audi has taken advantage of the way this moves up and forward to put the washer bottle inside the front wing, just like in a Mk1 TT.
Hit me with some stats…
The new A5 will be sold with a five-strong engine range initially – two TFSI turbo petrols and three TDI turbodiesels. Power outputs range from 187bhp and 282bhp, and these engines are up to 17% more powerful – while also being up to 22% more efficient – than their predecessors.
Further performance and efficiency boosts come in the form of kerbweights that are up to 60kg less than before. Front-wheel drive and Quattro variants will be offered, and you’ve a choice between six-speed manual and seven-speed S tronic transmissions, with an eight-speed auto standard on the 282bhp 3.0-litre TDI and the S5.
The S5 gets the same all-new 349bhp 3.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol as the latest S4, with single turbocharger mounted inside the V alongside the catalytic converter. Other efficiency boosting tricks include a three-stage warm-up cycle (no water circulation -> cylinder head only -> everything else), but we’re more interested in the 4.7sec 0-62mph time.
What’s the new A5 like on the inside?
Little to write home about visually – the dashboard is identical to the the latest A4 (although because the car is wider, the door tops have wider shoulders). You can have the Virtual Cockpit display if you want to option it, too, and there is a stacked line-up of optional safety kit, as you’d expect.
Dimensionally, an extra 12mm in the wheelbase means there’s fractionally more room for passengers; even if adults are still best leaving their legs at home if travelling in the rear, head room isn’t too bad if you’ve got modest hair.
For those who need to know, the boot is 10 litres bigger than before, and at 465 litres total it offers more storage space than both the BMW 4-series and the Mercedes-Benz C-class – by 95 and 65 litres respectively.
When do the new Audi A5 and S5 go on sale, and what will they cost?
The first part is easy – both the new A5 and the new S5 are set to launch in the UK in November 2016. The price won’t be revealed until closer to this time, however we have been told that it’s unlikely to change that much over the existing model – which currently starts at £31,910 for an S line model.
As before, A5 Sportback and A5 Cabriolet models are set to follow. Expect to see the former at the end of this year, the latter some time in the next.
Read more about the current Audi A5 here