Audi 5: Could This Be the Making of a Classic?

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    Gotta love ’em.

    There’s just something about “big body” coupes that stirs up all kinds of emotions when you see one of the road.

    It’s an appeal that dates back years for a lot of us to cars like the Acura Legend coupe during the mid-’90s. Remember those?

    Now, chances are you’ll find few if any automakers using “big body” in a brochure to describe one of their automobiles. Well, at least not yet. But as soon as you hear the term it immediately conjures up images of a two-door sport sedan with a whole lot of road presence and an interior to match.

    You know, the kind of car that either makes you reluctant to pull up next to it at a light because of what you’re driving, or eager to catch it on the road to see who’s behind the wheel.

    Yep, that pretty much describes the Audi A5.

    STILL GOT IT

    Even after nearly two years on the market, the A5 still has the kind of appeal that’s more akin to a cool concept car than an actual production model. And with a sticker that starts out around $44,000, that’s pretty impressive. Often, the star power of cars hovering around that price point wears off after a while with so many other cool new rides vying for attention on the streets.

    The appeal of the A5, however, just seems to keep getting stronger the more you see it on the road.

    Key styling cues include the coupe’s long hood, short rear deck lid, a low sweeping roofline, which gives the coupe those great proportions. Then, of course, there’s Audi’s new signature headlights — the daytime running lights with the strip of eight LEDs on each side, and the optional Bi-Xenon headlights.

    How cool are those when you see them on the road?

    Inside, the A5 is classic Audi with more of a sportier feel that sets you up for the coupe’s performance capabilities with all the extra comfort and convenience stuff we’ve come to expect from the German automaker.

    TAKE A SEAT

    Audi engineers went to great lengths to ensure that the A5’s cockpit was focused on enhancing the driver experience behind the wheel like bringing together the instruments and the center console as one unit.

    The interior’s a showcase of details that are as pleasing to touch as they are to look at.

    The instrument panel features details such as droplet-shaped surrounds for the speedometer and rev counter, typical of Audi, with a few new details.

    Powering the A5 I tested was Audi’s new 3.2-liter FSI engine, which produces 265 hp and a superb torque of 243 ft. lbs. And a run I had driving back from LA to Vegas in the coupe allowed me the opportunity to get a feel for what the A5 is really capable of.

    According to Audi, the 3.2-liter A5 clocks a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. Not lighting fast when matched against a new Corvette I caught the attention of during my Vegas run, but the A5’s still a thrill to drive.

    The Audi coupe is available in a siix-speed manual or automatic transmission.

    While my A5 test drive was pretty much limited to driving from LA to Vegas and in and around Hollywood, you quickly get a feel for the ride and handling capabilities of the car.

    Audi credits a lot of the coupe’s ride handling to engineering elements such as the wheels being located by a five-link suspension arrangement with upper and lower wishbones. The A5 also features a completely new running gear with structural elements like mounting the wishbones on a subframe, which is firmly bolted to the body giving the car a very solid and comfortable feeling on the road.

    The A5 is equipped with Audi’s latest quattro permanent all-wheel drive and brake assist, which automatically senses emergency braking and applies maximum available power boost to reduce overall stopping distance.

    WHAT ELSE?

    For the 2010 model year, Audi has added a 2.0T quattro. While true performance buffs will likely opt for the S5, which dishes out 354 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque — a much more viable competitor for that ’Vette I encountered driving back from Vegas to LA. The A5 lineup also now includes a Cabriolet model for those who prefer a little more open air when driving.

    Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels along with automatic three-zone climate control, the MMI information and operating system, an audio system with CD player and separate screen, and an automatic trunk.

    In addition to Audi’s bi-Xenon headlights, options include the advanced key system, which includes keyless access for the doors and trunk, and keyless engine starting, the advanced Audi parking system with rearview camera, and Audi’s infotainment system.

    The infotainment system houses the navigation system with DVD including MMI and standard Sirius Satellite Radio and a premium sound system by the Danish hi-fi specialist Bang & Olufsen.

    Nice.

    Whether it’s technology, performance or styling, the A5 has all the makings of those “big body” coupes that we’ve grown to love. Classic? Well, only time will tell, but with the A5’s styling there’ll definitely be a lot of us eyeing the coupe’s progress in shooting for that status.

     

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Pricing: $44,000 (base on model tested)
    MPG: 18 city/27 hwy
    Standard 18-inch wheels
    Optional Bang & Olufsen audio system
    Available “S” model

    Marcus Amick is a national automotive lifestyle writer and automotive consultant.

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