Friday, November 23, 2007

Audi A5 Road Test

Audi A5

It's one of those classic pub conversations for car bores: if you could make one car from all your favourite bits of the best models, what would it have? Well, in a sense, the A5 is Audi's answer to that question.

Naturally, the best car in the world would have Audi build quality - a given with the A5, of course - but wouldn't you also like something that combined the looks of the TT with the practicality of the Audi A4? In other words, a car which had the looks of a coupe, space for four and a decent boot. As far as Audi are concerned, the result of just such a wishlist is the Audi A5: a bigger coupe than the 2+2 TT, but one which has some degree of practicality. The trouble is, does this combination lead to a car that's a jack of all trades and a master of none?

Well, starting with the positives, the A5 is every bit as classy as any other Audi. Step inside, and you can't help noticing the distinct whiff of high class - this is a car that feels genuinely expensive to the touch. However, for all that class, there's not a great deal of space. Anyone much over six feet tall will find their head brushing the roof in the front and, with the front seats pushed back (as they have to be with a couple of adults in them), there's precious little room in the back: legroom is tight and those eye-catching lines mean that headroom is far from great. In other words, although the huge boot does go some way to justifying the claims of practicality, despite Audi's claims, this is not really a full four-seater.

It's also not exactly a sports car. If you've come to an A5 looking for something with the same genes as a TT, then you'll be disappointed. The A5 is designed as a high-speed long-distance cruiser - a modern GT, if you like - and doesn't really hit the spot as a driver's car. There's just not enough feedback though the controls or any great sense of agility through the bends. That said, if you favour a more laid-back driving style, then the A5 could well be your kind of car. First, it's tremendously comfortable for the driver, with plenty of adjustment in the driving position, a layout that makes you feel immediately at home, and tremendous refinement. And, secondly, there's no shortage of performance from any of the engines, and no lack of grip from the tyres. On the contrary, you can cross country at serious speed in an A5 in complete safety. The drawback is that it probably won't set your heart racing. Overall, the A5 is very much a classic Audi: beautifully built and sensibly priced against its German rivals - in this case, the BMW 3 Series Coupe and Mercedes CLK - but not the most exciting to drive. If you like Audis, you'll like the A5, but if you're more of a BMW fan, this will do nothing to change your allegiance.
Source: reuters

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