I was standing with designers when the A5 broke cover at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show. They weren't Audi designers, but definitely interested parties. Audi's Walter da'Silva leads one of the most talented design staffs in the automotive world so the competition lines up for the show.
There was much talk about the "lazy line" that gave the A5 a bit of a sag in mid-body. One design Veep sniffed that the A5 looked like "a partly deflated rubber dinghy." Ouch.
I could see the slouch, but I really admired how sleek the upper looked, and once again gave the strong grille high marks for presence.
So now it's here, rolling on the street in a vivid blue that makes it hard to find that droopy line. Instead, every one of the three valet parkers to whom I handed the A5 for safekeeping waxed eloquently and overlong on just how spectacular this car was.
"You brought the first R8 I ever saw," shouted one, "and I knew it was you again from a block away. Oh my God this car is beautiful!"
So there you have it, Mr. It Looks Like a Rubber Dinghy.
I know some of the guys are bored by two-tone taupes and beiges, but there isn't a surface inside this A5 that doesn't reek of quality, precision, and taste. I'm also a big fan of MMI, which makes short work of diving deeply into the electronic layers of audio, nav, and temperature controls that I frequently access. This is the most sensible array of excess equipment assembled in a luxury car today.
It's a slight bit underpowered, but nevertheless a pleasant car to drive. The S version is the one to wait for.