Some cars are in your face – I’m looking at you, Ford Mustang – while others prefer elegance to ostentation.
The Audi A5 certainly falls into this latter category. It isn’t covered in scoops and bulges. It doesn’t turn heads everywhere it goes. But it is smooth, elegant and beautifully proportioned.
It is, essentially, a sleeker looking albeit less practical version of the A4 saloon. Prices start around the £31,500 mark, pitching it slightly higher than its saloon sibling but that’s the price you pay for style.
There’s the usual choice of 2.0 litre petrol and diesel engines with varying power outputs and a creamy-smooth 3.0 litre diesel. If you have deeper pockets there is also the very fast S5 and even faster RS5.
As usual with Audi, you can have front or Quattro four-wheel drive. Given the deluges we’ve been subjected to this summer I was pleased Audi sent me a four-wheel drive version.
Mine had a 252bhp petrol engine, was in high spec S Line trim and had the S tronic semi-automatic seven-speed transmission. That all adds up to an asking price over £40,000 – and Audi whacked £8,000 of optional extras on its press demonstrator, including head up display (£900), Light and Vision pack (£975) and Driver Assistance Pack (£1,250).
The A5 is aimed at those who might like a TT but need some practicality. Whereas the TT’s rear seats are all but useless for people, the A5 can fit adults in the back, albeit small ones. At 45 litres, the boot is capacious – although Audi could easily make the A5 a practical hatchback without changing its svelte shape.
If you think the exterior looks good you should see the inside. Audi quite simply does the most beautiful and most user friendly interiors in the mainstream car market. Every switch and dial feels top quality and the Virtual Cockpit – a screen behind the steering wheel where dials would be – is tremendous.
The A5 has a nice balance between handling and comfort. Ride quality is firm enough to enjoy sharp cornering but not harsh enough to be uncomfortable on long journeys. In fact, it’s a beautiful long distance cruiser.
With 252bhp on tap, my petrol model absolutely flew. Diesels are a bit slower but offer better economy.
The A5 is not a car that likes to shout about its abilities. Calm, refined and understated, it’s happy to look good without drawing undue attention.