The next-generation Audi A5, built on Audi’s new MLB platform, is set to debut in a couple of weeks and will be coincide with a celebration at the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt. The upcoming Audi A5 is highly anticipated, as the new Audi A4 was met with outstanding reviews. However, the current-generation of the A5 seems to have been forgotten a bit, so we thought we’d drive it once again before it’s gone.
The current generation Audi A5 is a good car. It still looks beautiful all these years later, its cabin is still fantastically well built and it still performs admirably. However, after driving it again having driven its newer competitors, it does feel very long in the tooth and due for a replacement.
The first thing you notice stepping into the Audi A5 is its technology. It’s dated, and I mean really dated. The new MMI system, Virtual Cockpit and overall design in modern Audis makes the current A5 look and feel ancient by comparison. Having said that, it’s still an attractive cabin that’s ergonomic and comfortable. But it’s got nothing on the new Audi A4’s wonderful cockpit.
Start up the familiar 2.0 liter turbocharged TFSI four-cylinder engine and it comes to life with a quite whir. It’s never been the best sounding engine on the planet, but it’s still not bad and still silky smooth. It’s 220 hp is also still quite punchy, even by modern standards, although it cannot compare to the new 252 hp 2.0 TFSI of the brand-new A4. But it’s more than enough to be fun and I had no issues performing passing maneuvers. The ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic is as brilliant as ever and the shifts are perfectly smooth and sharp and arrive exactly when you ask for them, via the steering wheel mounted paddles.
The current Audi A5 can still properly handle, too. While it loses a bit of sharpness to its modern rivals, such as the BMW 4 Series and Cadillac ATS Coupe, it’s still a great handling car with loads of grip, thanks to its Quattro all-wheel drive. Understeer was kept at a minimum and its limits are very high for the segment. However, its steering is quite artificial feeling and not very confidence inspiring. It also has a very strange feel to it as it returns to center. Audi really improved the steering on the new A4, so we’re expecting the same to happen for the new A5, as the steering was easily the worst part of the current car’s handling dynamics.
Overall, the current-generation Audi A5 is a good car, one with surprisingly good driving dynamics and a good little engine all packaged into a coupe that is still one of the best looking cars on the road. However, it feels old and just cannot keep up with its competition, in terms of interior quality, technology and driving dynamics. If you’re in the market for a coupe and absolutely must have an Audi, the brand-new TT is probably the better bet, but if you want an A5 you should probably wait until next year when the new one hits showrooms.