When it first hit the streets way back in 2007, the Audi A5 was a revelation. Sterile and uncluttered styling anchored the sophisticated coupe; the restrained bodywork lent it an air of elegance when compared to the similarly-sized sausages from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. For 2019, the sophomore year for the all-new second-generation car, the dapper A5 continues to impress valet drivers and country club snobs alike.
2019 Audi A5 Overview
What's New for 2019
The A5 sees no noteworthy changes for 2019, as it follows close on the heels of the fully redesigned 2018 model.
Choosing Your Audi A5
As with last year, three body styles anchor the A5 lineup: the traditional Coupe, an open-air Cabriolet, and a smart-looking four-door Sportback. That third body style might seem like a rather odd option, being that the A5 is meant as the two-door variant of the A4, but it's been brought aboard to do battle with the hip four-door coupes that have been coming into vogue as of late. Audi also builds the A5 in the hotter S5 and searing RS5 variants, but those models are covered separately.
All three body shells are draped over a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. In typical Audi fashion, the power is delivered to all four wheels with the brand's famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Europe gets the opportunity to row a six-speed manual, but a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission does the dirty work of shifting gears here in the US.
A four-year/50,000-mile warranty and one-year/10,000-mile maintenance plan are included with the A5. The Coupe and Sportback share pricing, while Cabriolet models are $7,000 more for each of the three trims:
Though the base 2019 Audi A5 is a couple grand less than the Premium Plus, we'd still stick with the latter. With all of its extra tech, the car becomes sufficiently luxurious to justify the higher price. Besides that, the debonair bodywork deserves some high-class features to go along with it. In that regard, the Premium Plus delivers.
2019 Audi A5 Review
The 2019 Audi A5 is back with only minor changes, and we’re not mad. One of the freshest designs in Audi’s lineup, the A5 is handsome in all forms. Combine that with comprehensive technology, vigorous performance, and premium quality, and the A5 looks appealing indeed.
The first decision for A5 buyers is body style. This generation of A5 is just as alluring as the last, and the convertible offers that special roof-down experience (as long as you can cough up the extra cash). But our surprise winner in the looks department is the A5 Sportback, which combines the coupe’s sinewy roofline with the A4’s doors and a rear liftgate.
Luckily, the Sportback is the most practical of the three as well, which makes for an easy win-win. Even better, it’s the exact same price as the coupe, so it’s a great value.
The next question is trim. Although the base Premium trim is reasonably luxurious (leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control, etc.), with the Sportback, it’s worth upgrading to the Premium Plus. For $4,400 more, you get Audi’s beautiful and functional 12.3-inch driver display, extra safety features like blind-spot monitoring, tech goodies like wireless charging and navigation, keyless entry, and a hands-free liftgate.
Although Audi’s options list is long, we’d keep things simple. Our ideal A5 looks like this:
- Model:2019 Audi A5 Sportback Premium Plus
- Engine:2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
- Output:248 hp / 273 lb-ft
- Transmission:Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy:23 City / 34 Hwy
- Base Price:$49,595 (including the $995 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$49,595
The A5 may not have the performance credentials of the S5 or RS 5, but that doesn’t mean it’s slow. The turbocharged engine’s 273 pound-feet of torque is enough to send the A5 from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, with a little help from standard all-wheel drive. The dual-clutch transmission fires off shifts with confidence. At an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon combined, fuel economy isn’t bad either.
The suspension is tuned for comfort in most circumstances, but the A5 doesn’t mind being tossed into a curve, and a sport suspension is available for those with heavy right feet. The steering is precise and quick, although it’s best when the A5 is in its “Dynamic” drive mode. In the “Comfort” and “Normal” modes, the steering is a little light for our taste. Our only other real gripe is the wheel-mounted shift paddles, which feel thin and undersized.
Design is another strong point for the A5. Since its debut in 2007, the A5 has developed sharper creases and a wider grille, but the essential features remain. Curving lines over the hood ebb back into muscular shoulders and a heavily raked windshield before culminating in a gracefully abbreviated roofline.
The interior is full of quality soft-touch materials, and leather upholstery comes standard on all trims. Front seats are spacious, heated, supportive, and power-adjustable. Technology is predictably polished, and the cabin is quiet and relaxing. That’s true even on the convertible, despite a nifty soft-top roof that stores in seconds at speeds under 31 mph. Safety is excellent as well, with standard automatic emergency braking and strong crash-test scores. Perhaps best of all, even the base trim is comprehensively equipped – a trait not all luxury sedans share.
The Sportback wins out on practicality, while the coupe and convertible suffer. The coupe offers just 11.6 cubic feet of capacity, but that’s still better than the convertible, which has 9.3 cubic feet (and just 7.2 with the top down). The Sportback also gets 2.4 extra inches of leg room, which is noticeable after the cramped rear quarters of the coupe. The convertible also starts at $7,000 more than the coupe, which seems extreme.
The Best and Worst Things
It isn’t often that practicality and style go hand in hand, but the A5 Sportback is proof. Our gripes are minor, but we're disappointed that the best active safety tech is only available on the line-topping (and expensive) Prestige trim.
Right For? Wrong For?
The Audi A5 is right for the professional who likes to commute in style. All the available tech will ensure that you’re connected and safe, and the elegant styling will draw compliments from coworkers. On the weekends, the A5’s willing handling will make easy work of back roads.
The A5 is wrong for buyers expecting true practicality. Although the Sportback is better off than the coupe or the convertible, it still isn’t as spacious as its boxier sibling, the A4. The roofline may be worth the sacrifice, but buyers who frequently carry large loads may need to look elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
The 2019 Audi A5 is everything we wish modern sport sedans were: confident, comfortable, and supremely stylish. As paradoxical as it is to select a four-door car under a coupe nameplate, the A5 Sportback is a lovely marriage of practicality and elegance. That’s not to say that the coupe or the convertible are bad – in our opinion, the A5 is a highlight of Audi’s entire lineup.
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