Audi’s best selling ever coupe has been replaced after a historically long production run.
Jonathan Smith attends the new A5 Coupe’s world premiere at Ingolstadt, Germany.
Ten years ago the wraps came off the first Audi A5 Coupe – the car style guru Walter de Silva called ‘his most beautiful design ever’.
Manufacturing began in 2007 and the Coupe has been with us ever since with scarcely a tweak to its elegant shape. That’s a nine-year lifespan in a world where most car makers are replacing or facelifting models every four to five years.
But now we are about to start a new era as the second generation A5 is unveiled.
In true Audi style, next year’s version is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The theory, which is difficult to argue with, is based on the cliché: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Well, while the original design still looks balanced, sleek and even quite fresh, the technology that surrounds it, and the platform it sits on has inevitably grown old and become outdated.
Unsurprisingly, the latest car is immediately recognisable as an A5 despite every panel being new. But it is distinguished by a much bolder nose dominated by Audi’s familiar single frame grille, more aggressive contours and restyled hindquarters.
Based on the A4 business express saloon, which was introduced just a year ago, the new A5 uses a similar lightweight platform which, as well as boosting the economy through its fat-free diet, introduces a new level of athleticism into the car’s road behaviour.
While the old model handled safely and predictably it could never win praise for its sensitivity or subtle dynamics. So the omens are good for its replacement.
Although the Coupe is the pathfinder, expect a full array of models to follow led by a convertible next January, and a five-door Sportback soon afterwards.
The new Coupe will hit UK showrooms in November when there will be two TFSI petrol engines and three TDI diesel units with power ranging from 187bhp to 350 bhp for the V6 turbocharged S5. Prices are expected to be marginally increased.
Outputs are up by 17pc on average and fuel efficiency is boosted to 22pc across the lineup. As before four-wheel drive quattro systems and fuel-sipping Ultra technology will be available.
The cabin, now slightly larger thanks to a 12mm stretch in wheelbase, benefits from a makeover and now includes Audi’s clever virtual cockpit which displays the sat-nav in a binnacle directly in front of the driver.
Front and rear headroom has been noticeably improved despite the A5’s overall height being slightly reduced. Legroom in the back is also more generous, and the traditional rear boot can now hold 465litres, 10litres up on the old car.
The steel body is 60kilos lighter which plays a part in improving fuel consumption, as does the slippery shape with a 0.25cd factor, a best in class.
The in-house design is intended to modernise and update without losing the A5’s identity. The clam shell bonnet with sharp cut lines, the deeper, lower and wider hexagonal grille, and distinctive LED headlights largely succeed in distinguishing it.
At the rear, restyling has made it more muscular-looking with new tail lights and a subtle diffuser. A high-set brake light illuminates across the width of the back screen. And a wave shaped shoulder line sweeps along the side with pronounced bulges over the wheel arches emphasising the coupe’s performance-led character.
As you’d expect, the new model incorporates all the latest tech including Apple CarPlay and android auto. Pay extra and you can have a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Bestseller in the UK is expected to be the 2.0TDI, and the quickest version will be the S5 which sees its power rise 20bhp to 350bhp, giving it a sprint time to 62mph in just 4.7sec. However, the 2.0litre petrol TFSI unit could be the dark horse that proves particularly popular for its refinement and frugality.
There will undoubtedly be customers oblivious to the nuances of design and unaware of the tight shut lines that make the replacement A5 rather special. But few would dispute that Coupe’s status as an elegant and affordable grand tourer remains intact.
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