Used car tests

Used Audi A5 (Mk1, 2007-2016) review

With efficient engines and attractive design, the Audi A5 is a stylish two-door coupe to rival the new BMW 4 Series

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Superb build quality
  • Attractive design
  • Efficient engines
  • Not as much fun to drive as the BMW 4 Series
  • Cramped in rear
  • Must choose the right spec

Verdict

While Audis of this vintage were often criticised for their disappointing dynamics, the A5 was better; it is still very enjoyable to drive, as well as great to look at and well built. Opt for a car with the optional Sport package and the handling is even better, but comfort is adversely affected, so try before you buy. Indeed, before you buy any A5 you need to make sure it has the right engine, gearbox, wheels and suspension. Get it wrong and you might wonder what all the fuss is about, but get it right and the chances are you’ll want to keep your A5 forever.

Which one should I buy?

  • Best Audi A5 for equipment: 2.0 TDI Black Edition
  • Best Audi A5 for fuel economy: 2.0 TDI Ultra SE
  • Best Audi A5 for performance: RS5

The 3.0 TDI has four-wheel drive as standard, but these cars can be costly to run. The best all-rounder is the 2.0 TDI, which is economical, torquey and smooth. The 2.7 TDI offers a half-way house but is available only with the CVT auto gearbox.

At launch, the entry-level A5 came with 17-inch alloys, a space-saver spare wheel, leather trim, 10-speaker hi-fi, xenon headlights, three-zone climate control, rear parking sensors plus electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors. The Sport added lower, stiffer suspension, more supportive seats and 18-inch wheels. Leather, the 10-speaker audio system and tri-zone climate were later dropped from entry-level cars and reserved for the SE, launched in spring 2009. 

What are the alternatives?

The BMW 3 Series isn’t any roomier than the A5, but it’s better to drive. Build quality is superb and engine choices are wide-ranging; there’s also a choice of coupe or coupe-cabriolet bodystyles. The Mercedes E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet offer excellent build quality and some superb engines, with refinement and reliability.

These German cars are costly to buy and run, especially if you purchase something with a high spec. If your budget won’t stretch to this there are a couple of more left-field choices; the Peugeot 407 and Renault Laguna Coupes don’t have the Audi’s cachet, cabin or quality, but they’re great value, unusual and worth a look.

Mercedes C-Class Coupe vs Audi A5

On paper, the Mercedes C-Class Coupe looked destined to win this battle. However, despite its upmarket cabin and smart styling, the Mercedes was let down by its engines, which allowed the Audi A5 to grab victory. We applauded its engines, low running costs and grippy chassis. Read the full test here...

BMW 5 Series GT vs Range Rover Sport vs Audi A5 Sportback vs Infiniti EX 37 G

BMW 530d GT Vs. Audi A5 Sportback

This is an interesting one, because the Audi A5 Sportback was the only car to beat the BMW 5 Series GT. While both the Range Rover Sport and Infiniti EX 37 GT were found wanting, the Audi’s punchy performance and low running costs edged it ahead of its German rival. Read the full test here...

Audi A5 Sportback vs VW Passat CC

The Audi A5 Sportback also won this battle of the German coupes, but by the narrowest of margins. We liked the Passat’s curves, ride quality and low cost, but it couldn’t match the Audi’s practicality, low emissions and strong residuals. Read the full test here...

Most Popular

“Mid-sized electric cars are way beyond the financial reach of most mums and dads”
Opinion - electric car prices
Opinion

“Mid-sized electric cars are way beyond the financial reach of most mums and dads”

Mike Rutherford thinks the industry needs to face the fact that a lot of people can’t afford a brand new factory-fresh car
16 May 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
28 Apr 2022
Tipo 184: on the road in the Mazda MX-5 based kit car
Tipo 184 kit car front
Features

Tipo 184: on the road in the Mazda MX-5 based kit car

Inspired by classic Grand Prix racing cars, Darren Collins has created a model that faithfully recreates the originals, but with a twist - it’s actual…
11 May 2022