On paper, the MK2 model Audi A5 Coupe is the market's most complete compact executive sporting two-door coupe. Performance statistics, running costs, residual values, practicality - all of these things have been ruthlessly checked to improve upon standards set by rivals from Mercedes and BMW. It's a clinical approach to make a top coupe, and not surprisingly, it's produced a car that's very difficult to fault.
You'd think, when it came to driving dynamics, that this A5 coupe would be starting out with a disadvantage over 4 Series Coupe rival. Its front-driven layout will, after all, never reward a coupe enthusiast in quite the same way as a rear-driven BMW. But in originally developing this coupe, Audi was convinced that it could be made to feel almost as good. To prove the point, three different suspension systems are being offered this time round, two of them passive and one featuring adaptive damping. Whatever your choice, you'll find the set-up firmer than it would be in an equivalent A4 saloon.
Under the bonnet, the engines pretty much reflect the ones you get in the A4 line-up, with the exception of the fact that you can't get the 150PS 2.0 TDI motor. For petrol people, the brand's latest 2.0 TFSI powerplant is provided in 190PS guise with 2WD and the choice of 6-speed manual or 7-speed S-tronic auto transmission; or 252PS, in which guise this unit can only be ordered with an S tronic gearbox and quattro 4WD. If, like many A5 Coupe buyers, you want a diesel, you'll probably want the 2.0 TDI 190PS unit, offered with either a manual or an S tronic auto 'box, plus if you go for the auto, there's a quattro option if you want it. If you need a diesel with more poke, there's a 218PS six cylinder 3.0 TDI derivative, which only comes in quattro guise with S tronic transmission. At the top of the range, the sporting S5 quattro variant gets a newly developed 3.0 TFSI turbo V6 powerplant with 354PS, which is 21PS more than the engine in the previous model.
Think this second generation A5 coupe doesn't look much different to its predecessor? Look again. Yes, features like the previous coupe's wave-shaped shoulder line are carried over but the whole effect is now sharper and more modern, featuring a sculpted single frame grille that's significantly flatter and wider than in the previous model. There's a long bonnet, short overhangs and, most significantly, a stretched wheelbase that creates more room inside.
You'll feel that in the cabin of this coupe - especially if you happen to be seated at the rear. Up front, high-quality materials in a wide range of colours provide for a particularly pleasant ambiance and underscore the luxury coupe character of the mid-sized model. Like all the latest Audis, this coupe gets the brand's 'Virtual cockpit' instrument binnacle, a 12.3-inch TFT display that replaces the conventional dials. Out back, the boot's bigger than before, offering a volume of 465-litres, 10-litres more than with the previous model and more than you get in BMW and Mercedes rivals. The rear seat has a 40:20:40 split and can be easily folded forward using levers in the luggage compartment. Audi also offers an optional gesture control system for opening the luggage compartment lid via a foot motion, all nice added touches to put this in the running to be one of the best coupes out there.
The Audi A5 coupe may not be the sportiest or the most prestigiously-badged compact executive sports coupe you can buy but the sales figures suggest it's the one that most customers in this segment would rather have. The proof in the product is that Vorsprung Durch Technic is more than just a marketing slogan, a passion for perfection that means the company's never-ending quest for better, more efficient products never stops.
And this coupe is certainly one of those. In terms of driving satisfaction, it's as close to the class-leading rear wheel drive BMW 4 Series Coupe as any front-driven rival is ever likely to get. And in every other respect - quality, practicality, value and running costs - this A5 is one of the top coupes in its market. Some may find in Audi's ruthless pursuit of excellence a product that can be rather soul-less. But many more will see this 2-door coupe as being everything that a desirable sports coupe should be. Very smart. Very cool. And very Audi.Click here to find out more about our Audi A5 Coupe Review range