New Audi A5 40 TFSI 2020 review
The Audi A5 40 TFSI gets mild-hybrid tech, but has it added to the four-seat coupe’s appeal?
The Audi A5 oozes premium appeal and is packed with plenty of tech. It’s surefooted and composed on the road, too, but this isn’t a two-door coupé that has driver appeal at its core; it’s not all that exciting to drive, and the large wheels on this S line model have a negative impact on comfort on British roads, but the revised 2.0-litre engine combines decent performance with sensible running costs.
As far as variety goes, Audi’s updated A5 range is about as expansive as it gets. Whether you want two doors or four, a coupe or a cabriolet, a performance diesel or a petrol engine, the choice is yours.
The version we’re trying here, the A5 Coupe 40 TFSI, is far from the most potent combination, but it is one that will account for a big slice of UK sales. This two-door, four-seat model sits at the lower end of the line-up but still comes in at £41,830, before options, in popular S line trim.
It’s powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that develops 187bhp and 320Nm of torque. As standard, it’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which drives this sleek coupé through the front wheels.
As part of the updates, Audi has also added a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to improve efficiency. It includes a belt-driven alternator that harvests energy under braking and stores it in a small lithium-ion battery.
The system works away behind the scenes without any disruption to the driving experience. You only notice it’s there when you lift off the throttle at a cruising speed and the engine is able to drop down to idle, allowing you to cover some distance without using unnecessary fuel.
This is the only major mechanical tweak on this updated A5 40 TFSI, so like before, the 2.0-litre motor remains punchy and refined. Audi says 0-62mph takes 7.3 seconds, which is brisk enough, and the engine really gets into its stride above 2,500rpm. The seven-speed gearbox slurs gear changes nicely but it doesn’t like to be rushed if you ask for quick downshifts using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. A more laid-back approach suits the A5’s character.
While there’s decent punch from the engine and plenty of bite from the front end, there’s not a huge amount of fun to be had driving the A5. It’s easy and predictable to drive quickly, but the steering is numb, while the chassis is set up more for stability and composure than fun and adjustability.
The ride is more of a weak point; the car’s large 19-inch wheels, which are fitted as standard, have a tendency to sniff out potholes. In combination with the S line’s stiffened and lowered suspension, it means this is not the most comfortable cruiser over the UK’s rutted roads.
However, image is perhaps one of the biggest factors when it comes to cars like the A5, so it’s a sacrifice that many buyers may be willing to make. Another will be practicality, because although there are two rear seats, they are on the cramped side.
You can squeeze adults into the second row, but kneeroom is virtually non-existent, and even average-sized passengers will feel their head rubbing against the roofline. Getting in and out is no easy task either, due to the restricted movement of the front seat. Given the A5 certainly isn’t a small car, some buyers are likely to be left a little disappointed with the amount of space they’ll find in the back.
There’ll be fewer complaints when it comes to the boot capacity, which is among the largest in its class, at 450 litres.
In our test car’s S line trim, there’s also an abundance of standard kit, such as Audi’s still-brilliant 12.3-inch digital cockpit and a new 10.1-inch infotainment system, plus matrix LED headlamps, three-zone climate control and cruise control.
The biggest update inside is the refreshed infotainment layout. Audi has removed the control wheel from the centre console and made the 10.1-inch display touchscreen-only. It feels like a backwards step, in truth, and the space that was occupied by the control wheel itself now features a small and rather odd-looking storage bin.
|Audi A5 Coupé 40 TFSI S line
|2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
|Seven-speed dual-clutch auto, front-wheel drive