Without question the Coupe is the pick for good looks.
Without question the Coupe is the pick for good looks.

A Super range of models

DEPENDING on your persuasion, how would you choose between Miranda Kerr and Eva Mendes or Brad Pitt and George Clooney?

Difficult choices indeed.

That's similar to the experience when shopping for an Audi A5. There's a whopping 20 different versions of the mid-sizer.

It comes in three different sets of clothes…Sportback, Coupe and Cabriolet. And for even greater perusal is a selection of petrol and diesel engines with various drivetrain combinations.

When it comes to the hard-tops, it's a challenging choice.

We sampled both the Sportback and the Coupe. Both have good looks, reasonable interior space and similar price-tags.

Under the hoods were the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol donk which provided remarkably different driving experiences.

Comfort

Nowadays, most of the premium big guns have an internal blueprint which essentially works across the range.

Audi's foundation is one of style and simplicity, although we always manage to find the fan operation with the air-con fiddly while the primary computer system can take a little time to master.

Yet once you have your bearings, the red backlit buttons and crisp white on black in the main gauges making driving a pleasure.

The standard leather trim is basic yet does the job nicely. While flat around your rump, the seats are comfy - aided by the various electric adjustments available up front.

Two cup holders in the centre console along with various nooks for items such as phones and keys are thoughtful inclusions.

On the road

Strong and punchy, the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine is probably the pick of the bunch when taking performance and price into consideration.

Acceleration is linear, but not neck-snapping, and rarely do you feel the need for extra firepower.

Partnered with a seven-speed automatic transmission the pairing rarely put a foot wrong - it was particularly fun with the paddle shifters in the Coupe.

Both the Sportback and Coupe we sampled had Audi's famed Quattro all-wheel drive system which delivers impressive grip and a brilliantly planted feel on the road.

While both cars performed similarly in this respect, the steering experience was vastly different.

The Coupe possessed Drive Select and dynamic steering (a $2700 option) that provided good feedback and control, although it felt too heavy on occasions.

Meanwhile the Sportback went without Drive Select but had lane control and radar cruise control (another $2300 option). Often the steering felt numb and artificial.

Partly to blame is the new electromechanical power steering system that has helped lower fuel consumption.

What do you get?

It's a similar tale with the premium offerings nowadays, the extras is where things sting.

Audi does have some good packages which are the most cost-effective, rather than picking and choosing.

There are some good complimentary items, like leather trim, sports steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, LED running lights, CD stereo and dual zone air con.

Other options

There's the BMW 3 Series 325i coupe ($80,850), Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe C250 ($69,990), Volvo S60 T5 R Design ($60,490) or the Volkswagen Passat CC V6 ($64,990).

Running costs

Given the punch possessed by the 2.0-litre petrol, the official figure of seven litres of premium unleaded for every 100km is good return. We got pretty close to that figure with a reasonable amount of highway driving.

Optional extras are expensive, while servicing can also present a surprise for the uninitiated. It would also be best to explore insurance premiums before signing, turbocharged petrols are still frowned upon by some companies.

Practicality

Four-doors and five seats, the Sportback is a front runner. There is also extra head space in the rear, where things are still tight but fine for two medium-sized adults.

The Coupe back seat is not a place for claustrophobics. Tall adults would find it a struggle and leg/knee room depends on how far back the front pews are positioned.

Boot space is also better in the Sportback, although the Coupe still has a reasonable allocation.

Funky factor

Without doubt, it's the Coupe which wears the sash and crown when it comes to looks. Sleek and sexy, the two-door is a wonderful little number that oozes appeal.

Not that the Sportback is the ugly duckling. It's not.

Both models have wonderful lines, taut rear ends and the trademark Audi running lights ensure you stand out on the road.

The lowdown

The Sportback surges toward victory with practicality but the Coupe nudges ahead with sheer aesthetic appeal. Either way, you can't go too wrong.

Sitting mid-spec and more importantly mid-way on the price scale, the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol is a responsive unit which more than delivers when you summons the power.

The steering can feel artificial at times but most drivers will sacrifice that for what remains a good performer that has a good turn of speed and corners well.

 

Vital statistics

Model: Audi A5 Coupe.

Details: Two-door four-seat all-wheel drive coupe.

Engine: 2.0-litre petrol generating maximum power of 155kW @ 4300-6000rpm and peak torque of 350Nm @ 1500-4200rpm.

Transmission: Seven-speed S-tronic dual clutch automatic or six-speed manual.

Consumption: 7.0 litres/100km (combined average, auto).

CO2: 149g/km.

Bottom line: $83,200

Model: Audi A5 Sportback.

Details: Four-door five-seat all-wheel drive hatch.

Engine: 2.0-litre petrol generating maximum power of 155kW @ 4300-6000rpm and peak torque of 350Nm @ 1500-4200rpm.

Transmission: Seven-speed S-tronic dual clutch automatic or six-speed manual.

Consumption: 7.0 litres/100km (combined average, auto)

CO2: 159g/km.

Bottom line: $80,900

 

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