In the world of Audi, removing two doors from the A4 sedan increases the number to 5—as in, the A5 coupe and cabriolet. The two-door’s styling is more aggressive and more rakish than the four-door A4’s, and the cabriolet’s fabric top opens the cabin for a taste of that classic convertible freedom. A punchy turbocharged four-cylinder provides plenty of peps and the chassis is dialed in for solid cornering grip. It might not be as racy as the V-6–powered S5 model or the BMW 440i, but there’s still a lot of like about the A5, and it’ll serve buyers well as a stylish and capable ride.
What’s New for 2021?
The A5’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gets a boost from 248 horsepower to 261 for 2021, plus a new 12-volt hybrid system. A few extra standard features join the list as well, including wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, lane-departure warning, and an integrated toll-road transponder in the rear-view mirror. A heated steering wheel and front and rear parking sensors are now part of the Convenience package on base Premium models, and the Premium Plus now comes standard with more driver-assistance features. Selecting the Black Optic package on the coupe now includes a black-painted roof.
We recommend the mid-range Premium Plus trim level as it’s the best balance of features and price. It comes with nice-to-haves such as the company’s digital gauge display, plus keyless entry with push-button start and a wireless smartphone charging pad. The hardest decision here is whether or not to go topless, but we’d stick with the less expensive coupe.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
While we haven’t driven the 2021 A5 to sample the turbocharged 2.0-liter with the new 12-volt hybrid setup, we’re intrigued by the extra boost of power to 261 horsepower. Older nonhybrid examples with just 248 horsepower proved to be downright quick, sprinting to 60 mph in just 5.0-seconds—just 0.5 second behind the 400-hp Infiniti Q60 Red Sport. Composed and planted when cruising, the A5 comes alive on twisty roads; accurate, well-weighted steering complements the suspension’s agility, and the A5 is easy to drive quickly. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system helps, too, aiding the chassis’ balance and providing faultless power delivery out of tight corners.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Stylish, modern, and well built, the A5’s cabin is comfortable, at least for front-seat passengers—the rear seat is tight—and the design will surely stand the test of time. The A5’s interior oozes quality from every panel. In our Premium Plus test car, finely grained, soft-touch plastics mingled with textured aluminum trim. As you slide behind the thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a motorized arm pushes the seatbelt forward to within easy reach of your left shoulder. The seat bottoms are narrow but provide enough comfort and support for long highway journeys, and a manual thigh extension should satisfy the long-legged. Everything looks and feels beautifully assembled, durable, and solid. The only missing attribute is a sense of luxury. The armrests are thinly padded, while other high-end touches are simply missing—such as heated rear seats or a power-adjustable steering wheel. The coupe’s roomy trunk and flexible, flat-folding rear seatbacks provide an unexpected amount of cargo capacity, though: we fit 16 carry-on suitcases inside with the rear seats folded. It’s too bad the various storage bins and cubbies aren’t as useful. You’ll easily find places for smartphones, snacks, and other small items, but bulkier objects such as oversize water bottles will be left without homes.