Long Term Update: 2009 Audi A5 3.2 quattro S-line – Introduction
AudiWorld recently added a new car to the Long Term stable, once again following a general guideline that we should be driving and testing relatively new offerings from Audi that have broad market applicability. While appealing to put Long Term focus on an Audi S-car (S6, S8 or certainly the new S4), the former models have a fairly limited number of potential buyers relative to the overall Audi lineup and the latter is of course not yet available in North America. We also feel passionate about Audi’s upcoming diesel offerings, but again were caught having to make an ordering decision prior to availability here. Our next logical choice, the B8 A4, was also pre-availability when we started our order process.
All things considered this made our decision to take an extended look at the Audi A5 straightforward. The A5, Audi’s first coupe in 20 years, is a critical piece of Audi’s growth strategy particularly in the US market where the rival German brands and Japanese have been offering two-door performance coupes for years. Much like with Audi’s entry into the SUV market with the Q7, the A5 clearly has some catching up to do.
The good news is that the A5, built on the so-called B8 platform, includes all the latest, greatest features from Ingolstadt. This means a 265-hp V6 that can still provide combined fuel economy of 20 mpg and a very stingy 26 mpg on the highway. It also means the engine sits further back, pushing the front axle forward for a relatively long wheelbase and a short front overhang. Translated, the A5 handles significantly better than its predecessors. And with Audi’s new Drive Select functionality the driver has better control over dynamics than ever before.
Much ado has been made over Head of VW Group Design Walter de’Silva’s proclamation that the A5 is the most beautiful car he’s ever designed. Coming from a classically trained Italian with de’Silva’s credentials that is certainly saying something, and we agree wholeheartedly. Upon taking delivery of the A5, and despite the fact that we had been in an around the A5 / S5 many times already, we could not help but feel the same passion as the designer. Whatever else can be said about the Audi A5, it is not lacking for good looks.
In a nod towards Audi heritage we of course ordered ours in Misano Red Pearl Effect, a color available only as part of Audi’s S-line package. Audi of America has done a nice job of packaging its S-line offerings across the entire lineup to provide buyers with good value. For the A5 the package adds sport suspension, bigger 19″ wheels (and summer rubber of course), S-line bumpers, grille, badging, sport seats, door sills and few other extras. Total cost of $2900 is easily rationalized for the wheels and seats alone.
Our A5 was also loaded up with other available packages, including Navigation ($2390), Technology ($2200 for rear parking system, adaptive headlights, advanced key and side assist), Premium ($1900 for Homelink, Xenon plus headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated seats and few other goodies) and the can’t-pass-it-up-at-the-price $850 Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. Finally Audi Drive Select adds a hefty $2950 to the MSRP.
This 2009 Audi A5 3.2 auto quattro was therefore delivered (with an $825 destination charge) at an MSRP of $56,365 which of course is getting into S5 territory, albeit without the fuel and insurance costs associated with the bigger powerplant.
It is somewhat debatable whether many A5 buyers would spec and purchase an A5 similar to ours; we certainly know that dealers aren’t typically ordering fully-loaded S-lines for stock inventory. That said, with the exception of the special paint color, S-line package, Audi Drive Select and B&O premium sound, the rest of the packaging is somewhat typical and desirable within this market segment. Our thinking was that readers and potential buyers would quite possibly be interested in the real-world details of any one of these discrete packages and therefore we would provide a good look at all of it.
Follow-along with us as we put the A5 through its paces over the coming year.