Audi A5 S Line review

Sharp styling and excellent build quality mark out the Audi A5 S line, but be aware of the stiff suspension

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The standard 17-inch wheels look a bit small but move up to the Audi A5 S line and the bigger rims, lower suspension and bold bodykit help make the car look much more stylish. If you go for the softer standard suspension (a no-cost option) it's our pick of the range.

The Audi A5 S line is available in Coupe, Cabriolet and five-door Sportback body styles, and it offers sporty looks and stiffer suspension than the standard model, in a similar way to BMW’s M Sport trim level.The coupe is stylish and relatively practical, and is an interesting alternative to the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class Coupe. Under the skin, the A5 is based on the same running gear as the Audi A4, so there are a wide range of engines on offer, from efficient diesels to high-power petrols.The A5 still looks fresh and modern, thanks to a mid-life facelift in 2012, which added sharper LED running lights up front. The sharp looks help it to stand out from the crowd (if not from the rest of the Audi range), with a crease running down the side of the car into the sleek headlights at the front. How good the car looks varies according to the trim level, but S line cars add lowered sports suspension and a more aggressive bodykit to help them stand out.Material quality is top-notch, while standard equipment on S line cars includes climate control, leather sports seats, xenon lights, cruise control and DAB radio.On the road, the Audi A5 can’t compete with the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series when it comes to driving. Even with sports suspension, the Audi doesn’t feel as sharp or responsive, and its steering feedback is more artificial. Quattro four-wheel drive models deliver loads of grip and body control is excellent.The best engine to go for is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel - it's strong, refined at idle and makes a pleasingly subdued hum higher in the revs. The dual-clutch S tronic auto serves up fast shifts and decent manual control via steering wheel paddles. S line cars gets 18-inch wheels and stiffer suspension, which means the ride is pretty firm, although Audi offers softer suspension as a no-cost option.The Audi A5 hasn’t been crash tested, but the Audi A4 on which it’s based was awarded the full five stars from Euro NCAP. Standard safety features include front, passenger and curtain airbags, while the Cabriolet features hoops that pop up in the event of the car rolling over. There’s also the option to add active safety kit like lane departure warning, blind spot warning and adaptive cruise control.The Audi A5 Coupe has a decent boot and reasonable back seat space for two, but if you want a practical coupe, then the five-door Sportback is a better bet. It has a hatchback rear and seating for three in the back, although the rear of the A5 doesn't feel massively spacious thanks to the sloping roofline, and in models with tinted windows it can feel a bit dingy in the back.

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