Since the A5 shares its running gear with the A4, you shouldn’t be surprised that it uses the same engines — a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder hooked to Quattro all-wheel drive and a choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. That concludes the simple part — from here on out you need to pay close attention. You can also get a front-wheel-drive A5 with a CVT-equipped four-cylinder, but only in convertible form. If you’re looking for something with more power, it really starts to get complicated: the S5 convertible shares the S4’s 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. But if you want an S5 coupe (rather than a convertible), you get a normally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. We’re confused, too. The convertible bucks the folding-hard-top trend and uses a multilayer fabric roof. It’s better-looking than its competitors, and the soft top takes up less trunk space. Both the coupe and the convertible offer seating for four actual life-size human beings, and, like all Audis, the A5 has a beautifully finished interior with lots of luxurious amenities.

Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: A5 2.0T Quattro Coupe, A5 2.0T FrontTrak Cabriolet, A5 2.0T Quattro Cabriolet, S4 3.0T Quattro Cabriolet, S5 3.0T Quattro Coupe
Body styles: Coupe, convertible, 4-passenger
Engines: 2.0L turbo I-4, 211 hp, 258 lb-ft
3.0L supercharged V-6, 333 hp, 325 lb-ft
4.2L V-8, 354 hp, 325 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-, 7-, or 8-speed automatic, continuously variable
Passenger Volume: 84.0 cu ft

Still available as a coupe or a convertible, the A5 is essentially an A4 sedan with two fewer doors, a slight price bump, and a more svelte body. It enters 2012 with minor options changes. More of a grand tourer than a sports car, the A5’s designer, the famed Walter de’Silva, says it’s the most beautiful car he’s ever designed. We certainly wouldn’t argue with him.

Dual-stage front, side, and knee air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; front seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters; and rear seatbelts with pretensioners are standard. The coupe has side curtain air bags; the convertible has active rollover protection. Power windows have pinch protection. Blind-spot monitoring and adaptive headlights are optional.

All: 14-22 mpg city/22-31 mpg highway

  • Styling and interior
  • Rear-seat room
  • Lots of powertrain choices
  • Convertible not available with a hard top

Another design triumph.

  • BMW 3-series
  • Infiniti G37
  • Lexus IS C
  • Mercedes-Benz E-class
View Full S5 Specs and Compare Powered by Motortrend

Get a Free Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.