2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T Quattro S Tronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis



If we’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it’s that the sequel is treacherous territory.

While famous follow-ups like Godfather 2 and even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, come to mind, the 2.0 movie has a bad reputation – and it boils down to where do we go from here?

And if you look at the first-run Audi A5 Coupe, (some say coo-pay) you’ve got to feel for the folks at Audi. Penned by famed designer Walter de Silva, he called it “the most beautiful car I have ever built”. And you can see his point. It was stunning – and underneath, a wonderful car as well.

So, uh no pressure there…

Has Audi created another classic, or are we looking at Porky’s 2?

Thank goodness, they got the looks right. Audi didn’t stray too far in the design of the new A5 – it’s instantly recognizable as the beautifully-penned 2-door we know and love. That said, it’s also been brought forward, with tightened lines that make it look athletic and modern.

Audi calls their design philosophy “invisible intent” with shapes that signify underlying abilities – a wide stance that speaks to stability, and flared fenders that hint at Quattro all wheel drive dynamics. The wave-design shoulder line is notably more defined – like well-toned muscle.

While this kind of design fluff often times sounds like wacky tobacco verbiage, in this case, it works. Our Glacier White Metallic tester always got a smile from us as we walked up first thing in the morning, and always got a double-take as we walked away.

Simply, elegance defined.

Inside – well, it gets even better.

Audi interiors are known for their tasteful design, upscale accommodations, and advanced technology, and the A5 brings it’s A-game. (Which is, sort of appropriate)

The materials and assembly are beautifully done, and the wing design dash feels modern and fresh. There’s the typical Audi seriousness about things, and it feels that the driver is of the utmost importance.

One bummer, our tester was not equipped with Audi’s excellent sport seats, but the standard seats are multi-adjustable and comfy.

And it really is a treat for the driver, with an immense amount of technology at hand. It starts with the available Audi Virtual Cockpit, which showed up first on these shores in the TT coupe. By creating a fully digital, 12.3-inch information cluster where the gauges used to live, you’re served up all the information you need from navigation, using Google Earth or Google Street View, which looks awesome. Audio and phone info can also be pulled up.

We especially like how you can shrink down the speedo and tachometer display when you need to see other info, and the click them up to regular size when you’re done. A nice surprise, there is also a center stack, tablet-style display as well, so you can move info around, and have more than one source of info at a time.

And if that’s not enough, there’s also a handy heads up display, with useful stuff, including directions, vehicle speed, and Traffic Sign Recognition – it even tells you about school and construction zones – to help keep you safe and within the speed limit.

Accessing all this is Audi’s familiar MMI touch control, with a large rotatable disc, with handwriting-recognition technology, and convenient flipper and push buttons. The best part is how simple and intuitive it is to use.

And just so your passengers won’t feel left out, there’s even a WiFi hotspot, with up to 4G LTE connectivity for up to eight passenger devices!

Ok, fun times for the passengers, but how about the driver?

Well, if you liked the original, you’ll love this…

Audi starts the good times with its familiar 2-liter, turbo 4-cylinder, but it gets a healthy dose of motivation, with 32 more hp – up to 252, and 273 lb-ft of torque, up from 258. Paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and Audi’s Quattro all wheel drive, the A5 is a rocket, with super-quick shifts, and the powerful 4 sounds throaty, and enjoys digging in and revving hard.

Audi even shows some love to the traditionalist with an available manual transmission!

On our tester, the all-wheel-drive combine with the optional adaptive damping suspension make for a potent canyon carver, so capable in fact, that if it were our money, we’d opt for the S Line Sport Package, which includes Sport Suspension and massive 19-inch alloys, vs our 18-inchers. You can feel there’s a sports car waiting to get out.

Our particular tester was optioned more to be Gentleman’s Express, and it did the job superbly. The A5 stays quiet and comfortable, tracks faithfully, and provides a creamy ride. It truly gives you best-of-both worlds – sport and luxury. (Leaning a little more on the luxury side)

Can I still afford popcorn and a jumbo drink?

Audi makes this piece of performance art available at affordable pricing, too. The A5 Coupe 2.0T Quattro S Tronic starts at $42,800.

Of course like any other self-respecting German brand, that’s just the price of entry. Our tester had the Glacier White Metallic paint ($575), Prestige Package a  $7,600 smorgasbord of luxo-goodness, including Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi Virtual Cockpit, and MMI Navigation system.

There was the driver-assistance package ($1,800) that adds Adaptive Cruise Control (one of the best) and Active Lane Assist (way too intrusive for our tastes – thankfully, easy to turn off), High Beam Assist and Traffic sign recognition (very cool). Add in the Adaptive damping suspension ($1,000), High Gloss Dark Brown Walnut inlays ($350) and heated steering wheel ($200, bargain!), and our tester rang the bell with destination at $55,300.

For the record, building up a BMW 430i xDrive Coupe netted a very similar price.

So what are the critics saying?

We love the new Audi A5. It’s not a radical departure from the previous model – and it really wasn’t needed. This is careful, thoughtful improvement. Audi brought the A5 up to current terms, and did so with a deft hand. It looks better (no mean feat), drives with more brio (another challenging task) and made it even more inviting and capable.

No sophomore slump here – an excellent, excellent sequel to a long-time favorite.

About The Author

Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round -- whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, or learning to surf.