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Auto Express Coupe Battle: Audi A5 vs Infiniti Q60 vs Lexus RC

It’s amazing what competition does to change the opinion of a car. When compared with the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, the Audi A5 often finishes behind at least one of its competitors. However, in a test which features only its two Japanese rivals, the Audi A5 soars.

The Audi A5 Coupe is a very good car that excels in nearly every single automotive test category. However, it can come off a bit clinical when compared to some of its more exciting rivals. Despite that, it’s a solid sports coupe and still very fun to drive. But when compared to what Lexus and Infiniti offer, the Audi A5 looks like a champion.

In this Auto Express three-way test, the Infiniti Q60 2.0T Premium lands in last place and honestly deserves the flak it gets. It looks sharp and exciting, if a bit sloppy, and has a relatively handsome interior but that’s where its positives stop. Its engine is the weakest of the bunch, with only 209 hp, which is less than the old B7 Audi A4 2.0T from over a decade ago. It’s also slower than the B7 A4, getting from 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds. It also comes with an ancient seven-speed automatic transmission that Nissan has been using since the 370Z first launched in 2009.

While the powertrain tech is ancient by today’s standards, Infiniti actually tried to push the technological envelope with its steering system. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked. Infiniti tried to develop a sort of steer-by-wire active steering system, which means that the steering wheel isn’t always actually physically connected to the steering rack. While Infiniti is working on this to advance the capabilities of autonomous driving tech, it currently comes off as completely lifeless and even scary on opposite lock. That is a killer of a sports car and makes the posh Datsun place last.

In second place is the Lexus RC 300h F Sport. While the Lexus RC Coupe is actually a pretty good driving car, it’s hampered in this test by being a hybrid. That makes it slow and heavy and is packed with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) rather than the ubiquitous ZF eight-speed Auto Lexus typically uses. Despite that, it’s actually more enjoyable to drive than the Infiniti.

Its 220 hp from its 2.5 liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain allows it to get from 0-60 mph in 8.3 seconds. That’s slow but understandably so, as this coupe was designed more for fuel economy rather than performance. What’s more disappointing about its powertrain is the CVT, which is sluggish to respond and too often puts the engine in its droning spot. However, its steering is far better than the Infiniti and its interior is incredibly well built. The Lexus RC Coupe has its charms, just don’t get the hybrid.

That leaves the Audi A5 Coupe in first place by a huge margin. The A5 is better than its other two competitors in every single respect. It looks better than the other two, has an interior that blows the other two out of the water and is far better to drive. On paper, it destroys the other two. The Audi A5 Coupe’s 2.0 liter turbocharged TFSI engine makes 252 hp and, when mated to its standard seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, gets from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds. Its powertrain is also far more high-tech, with its engine making its torque from 1,600 rpm which provides ample thrust regardless of where the rev needle is pointing. And its dual-clutch gearbox is from this century, firing off rapid shifts.

When it comes to driving dynamics, the Audi A5 has better steering than the other two, which allows it to be sharper and more dynamic. Its Quattro all-wheel drive also provides far more grip than the other two cars, allowing to to achieve higher cornering speeds. Despite the S-Line sport package equipped to AE’s test car, it rode better as well.

All in all, the Audi A5 Coupe is a great sports coupe that only lacks in dynamics when compared to the very best rear-wheel drive coupes in the business.

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Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.