$34,821 - $47,179

2018 Audi A5 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.3

The redesigned 2018 Audi A5 has all the makings of a fun-to-drive luxury small car. It gives you a choice between two energetic powertrains and comes standard with all-wheel drive. The ride is smooth and the brakes are strong. The A5 is composed around turns, while the performance-oriented S5 is downright nimble. The top-of-the-line Audi RS5 is a no-holds-barred monster.

  • "The new Audi A5, the S5's lesser sibling, already has an excellent blend of power, dynamics and everyday drivability. In the S5, the performance equation gets a serious boost, all without sacrificing comfort. The 2018 Audi S5 is the automotive equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Audi brought us to Seattle to try out the A5 Sportback; no surprise it serves up confident handling and a stiff chassis while still offering plenty of comfort in everyday driving, leaning close to the road manners of its A4 and A5 siblings." -- Autoweek
  • "This four door has a sexier silhouette than the A4, but the driving experience is very similar-and that means it's very good. All-wheel drive comes standard on the Sportback, so handling is excellent in any trim. The launch took place in Seattle, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest lived up to its reputation for wet weather by dropping some rain on our drive route. But with the tremendous grip the Quattro all-wheel drive affords, you could hardly tell the pavement was wet at all." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The A5 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 252 horsepower. It’s mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Coupe models are available with a six-speed manual transmission for no extra charge. The A5 has more than enough power for daily driving, and it feels quick off the line.

There’s also the high-performance S5, which features a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 354 horsepower and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Audi claims S5 models can go from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, up to a top speed of 155 mph. The S5 will throw you back in your seat when you hit the gas; you can blow past the speed limit without realizing it if you’re not careful. The range-topping RS5 features a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 that produces 444 horsepower. This model can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 174 mph.

The A5 gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Those aren’t the highest ratings in the class, but they’re pretty good. The S5 slips to 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the RS5 drops even further to 18/26 mpg.

  • "Power delivery from the new turbocharged V6 is immediate and gratifying. In coupe form, the S5 can hit the 0-60-mph performance benchmark in 4.4 seconds, while the S5 cabriolet is just a few ticks behind at 4.8. The sound of its exhaust is deep and powerful in Dynamic mode, though we admittedly prefer its quieter operation in the Standard drive mode after extended time on the road." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The A5 2.0T is lively and enjoyable – the S5 is quick but so composed the speed really sneaks up on you." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 2.0-liter four is a relaxed engine that works well enough with the seven-speed gearbox, which can punctutate its shifts with a noticeable pull here and there; it can also be operated via the steering-mounted paddles. Just using your right foot suffices in most traffic settings … with the four-cylinder refusing to get winded even when called upon for some B-road heroics." -- Autoweek

Handling and Braking

A5, S5, and RS5 models all come standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Audi Drive Select – which lets you choose from four driving modes – also comes standard. The A5 is a great cruising vehicle, and it feels agile on winding roads. The S5 and RS5 are even more athletic; you can really attack corners when you’re behind the wheel. All models deliver a smooth ride and have strong brakes.

A sport suspension and an adaptive suspension are available in A5 models. The sport suspension is standard in S5 models, which offer an adaptive sport suspension as well. The RS5 has a performance suspension and an optional setup with dynamic ride control.

  • "At speed the A5 keeps the road manners of in-town cruising, offering a slightly firm but well-damped ride that permits a bit of float, striking a good balance between sport and comfort." -- Autoweek
  • Audi's new coupe demonstrates a willingness to go around corners, and quickly to boot, but it never quite feels like it wants to play in them. When the curves open up, long sweepers beckon deep prods of the loud pedal, even if the result isn't exactly a boisterous symphony. Unlike the exterior, the A5's on-road behavior is subtle, and if the steering feels light and a tad numb, the chassis still telegraphs what's happening down at the wheels with legitimate accuracy. When it comes time to scrub speed, the brakes offer linear and just-firm-enough modulation, giving the driver fine degrees of control as they go about their business of converting momentum into heat." -- Car and Driver
  • "Much more than a mere straight-line performer, the S5 shines when the road twists and turns. Here its asphalt-sticking ways help it adhere even when driven very hard." -- Kelley Blue Book

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