The Audi A5 joined the German carmaker’s lineup in 1997, replacing the Audi 80. But for 2018, the Audi A5 is a new generation. And its design and features further designate the car’s position in the entry-level luxury coupe segment as an oxymoron.

Equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 252 horsepower and advance with a seven-speed transmission, the new Audi A5 advances smoothly and quickly. But there’s a brief turbo lag.

The 2018 Audi A5 coupe is newly designed inside and outside.
The 2018 Audi A5 coupe is newly designed inside and outside.

The A5’s power is evidenced by its acceleration in the 0-60 miles per hour standard in 5.0 seconds. The all-wheel-drive system is impressive while cornering, particularly at higher speeds. The A5’s stability and braking are reassuring.

Manual transmissions are nearing dinosaur status, but the Audi A5 is available with a manual transmission for purists who still enjoy the pleasures of shifting gears. It’s the same price as the automatic transmission. Gas mileage averages are 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 miles per gallon in freeway driving.

Audi is known for its extensive lists of standard and optional features. The three A5 trims all include leather seats, adjustable power front seats, tri-zone auto automatic climate control, rearview camera and 18-inch wheels. The technology, safety and convenience areas are also chock-full of standard, high-quality features, including eight airbags. It’s a lot of car for the base price of $42,800.

My review vehicle, the coupe 2.0T, featured the Premium Plus ($3,000), Navigation ($2,600), S Line Sport ($1,250) and S Line Wheel ($800) optional packages. It also included a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 19 speakers ($950). With its $975 destination fee, the so-called entry-level luxury coupe costs just under $53,000.

That’s enough for the words entry level to be eliminated for further descriptions. But the optional packages are worthy, particularly the Premium Plus package. Its eight features include: LED headlights, heated 10-way power front seats and an alarm system. There’s also blind-spot monitoring, a rear cross-traffic and car-exit warning system as well as heated front seats and a hands-free trunk release.

The virtual cockpit, a 12.3-inch customizable display, replaces the instrument panel. The speedometer and tachometer can be reduced to showcase Google Earth views or a map. For me, the futuristic feature was a distraction. For others, it’s likely technology at its finest.

The new Audi A5’s exterior is sleek with handsome, angular lines. It’s a coupe with a sports car personality, inside and outside. Complementing the smooth, confident and comfortable ride, Audi’s German engineering personality is also applied in small, important touches.

Dials throughout the dashboard turn with the precision of a safe tumbler. The car locks with pleasant-sounding hum, not the overt noise of many car locks. The navigation system works with the same precision, with address spelling selections also “clicking” into place.

Unlike in other coupes, the rear seats aren’t an afterthought, but occupants don’t have the same spaciousness as front-seat users. Back seat entry and exit is cumbersome, a common coupe characteristic.

The A5 Coupe’ cargo space is unimpressive, only 11.6 cubic feet. It’s large enough for a half-dozen grocery bags, but its configuration bodes well for only smaller, soft-sided suitcases.

Likes:

Smooth, quiet ride.
Comfortable seating, front and back.
Intuitive, upscale navigation system.
Plush interior.

Dislikes:

Expense option packages.
Small trunk.

Facts & Figures: 2018 Audi A5

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 5.0 seconds.
Airbags: 8.
Fuel economy: 24 mpg (city), 34 mpg (highway), 27 mpg (combined), seven-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 252.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $42,800.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.audiusa.com.
Price As Tested: $52,950.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/unlimited mileage; Maintenance, 1 year/10,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“The simple and intuitive layout isn’t taken to the extreme as in the Audi TT and as a result the A5 comes off as more classy, less sterile.” — carandriver.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The 2018 Audi A5 isn’t the only worthy car in its segment. But drive it for five minutes and you’re at home on the road, advancing in luxury and with nothing about the A5 entry level.”

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