In the great tradition of high-performance luxury coupes, Audi builds one for the coffee-table art-appreciation books. Open a door and you'll find the same level of artistic expression stretching across a beautiful interior. With all that, the 2014 Audi A5 is a wonder to drive. Engines range from the surprisingly strong turbocharged 4-cylinder, increased to 220 horsepower, to the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 of the S5 with 333 horsepower, to the 4.2-liter V8 of the RS 5 with 450 horsepower. Ride, handling, braking, steering and over-the-road manners are everything you might expect. The detail finish is flawless. Open-air enthusiasts can choose the Cabriolet, available in all three power levels. Live where the weather gets bad? Audi's quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) will deal with it. All this and more is why we named the Audi A5 one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.
You'll Like This Car If...
The A5 Coupe and Cabriolet are Audi's contributions to the nation's Highway Beautification Program. If that appeals to you, and in the bargain you get a terrific all-around driving experience conducted in sumptuous luxury, then this is your ride.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The 2014 Audi A5 competes against entrants from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and others, so you're not without choices. The back seat, even for a coupe, is snug. And, especially in the higher-trim versions, the A5 might test the edges of your budget.
The biggest change for the 2014 A5 is an upgrade in the output of the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to 220 horsepower. Other changes are in the areas of enhancements to packages and standard-equipment lists and the inclusions of some items that were previously optional being made standard.
Driving the A5
Audi has led luxury automakers in the utilization of weight-saving aluminum chassis structures, and that pays huge dividends in how the 2013 A5 performs on the road. The A5 Coupe...
... offers terrific balance above all else, with excellent poise and a comfortable ride in just about any reasonable situation. The S5 Coupe, meanwhile, delivers blistering speed and over-the-road competence, courtesy of its supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and the quattro all-wheel-drive system. Even with its remarkable power, the S5 Coupe can easily and precisely be manipulated through your favorite corners, and you don't have to be an expert driver with a racing background to appreciate its handling prowess and refinement. Want still more? The RS 5, with 450 horsepower, will get and hold your attention.
3.0-LITER SUPERCHARGED V6 All the engines in the A5 lineup are terrific, but we really like the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 in the S5, with 333 horsepower, 325 lb-ft of torque, snappy response, silky smoothness and commendable fuel economy. Matched with either the 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed Tiptronic automatic, it suits the S5 perfectly.
SUPERMODEL EXTERIOR We don't mind saying it: We think the A5 is drop-dead gorgeous, and its stunning good looks have to be one of the major reasons for considering the purchase.
2014 Audi A5 Details
Just as the 2014 A5's exterior shines as one of its strongest attributes, so does the interior. Clearly, outside and in, if any modern car is rolling sculpture, this one is. Front occupants are treated to leather seats that offer excellent support without sacrificing accessibility, and the driver-oriented gauge cluster and center-stack help lend the cabin a sporty feel. The S5, meanwhile, goes even further with a spread of Nappa leather and a variety of unique dash inlays. Buyers may choose among carbon fiber, brushed aluminum, stainless steel or gray birch. But what really sets it apart are the stunning good looks and exquisite attention to detail.
Audi has done an excellent job of crafting a corporate design language that doesn't feel forced or overbearing, and the 2014 A5 Coupe is a beautiful poster child for the company's efforts. Audi's trademark single-frame grille, LED accent lighting, finely-tailored sheetmetal, expressive fenders and sleek profile give the A5 an undeniable distinction, while the lovely flowing curves along the sides, precise creases and crisp detailing finish it off perfectly.
What more could anyone want? The 2014 A5 Coupe's Premium trim level includes 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seating, automatic climate control, Audi concert radio (10 speakers, Sirius satellite radio and 180 watts), power front seats with driver memory, a panorama sunroof and auto-dimming mirrors. For 2014, the Convenience package – Bluetooth, HomeLink and Audi Music Interface with an iPod cable – is standard. On the S5, the standard Premium Plus trim includes 19-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth touch-free interface, sport seats covered in Silk Nappa leather, sport suspension and 3-zone automatic climate control. Audi drive select, which changes the car's driving character with the push of a button, is now standard on the S5.
The A5 Premium package includes power front seats with a driver memory function and auto-dimming mirrors. Audi drive select is included in the optional A5 Sport package. Navigation is a standalone option, which many buyers may appreciate. Audi Connect allows searches using Google Earth providing realistic terrain imagery, as well as the ability to send destinations from any browser directly to the car. The Black Optic Package is available on A5 and S5 Coupes and the 19-inch Titanium Rotor wheel package is available on A5 and S5 Cabriolet models. The Comfort seat package with ventilated seats is optional on the RS 5 Coupe.
Under the Hood
As a base powerplant, Audi's superb 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged 4-cylinder is almost perfect for the application, and for 2014 receives an increase in horsepower from 211 to 220, with an ample 258 lb-ft of torque. The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 may be the sweet spot, with 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The RS 5's 4.2-liter normally-aspirated V8 may seem old school but, behind the wheel of a car with 450 horsepower, who cares?
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2014 Audi A5 Coupe with manual transmission is right around $39,000; the Tiptronic automatic transmission will add approximately $1,200. The base A5 Cabriolet (FWD, CVT) is over $44,000, with quattro and Tiptronic adding $2,100. The S5 Coupe, with its impressive V6 and manual transmission, is around $52,000, while the S5 Cabriolet is over $60,000. The RS 5 starts around $70,000. When shopping, reference KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price for an indicator of what customers are paying in your area. Audi's predicted resale is very good, with the 2014 A5 Coupe expected to do significantly better than the BMW 3 Series Coupe or the Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe.
"Beautiful car inside and out but a quality nightmare. I have done all scheduled maintenance and in 14 months spent $10,000 on repairs. Bad soft top, oil leaks. I regret buying it. Soft top leaks when it rains. Turbo makes no difference. It is still a V4. I cannot wait to get rid of it."