Years built: 2007 to 2016
Bodystyles: Two-door coupe, two-door convertible, five-door Sportback
What is it?
The all-new Audi A5 and A5 Sportback is now rolling into Irish dealerships, but it’s well worth shopping for an original version (labelled B9 by Audi for its internal numbering system). Not only is it well-made, good to drive, and surprisingly practical for a coupe, it’s also regarded by former Audi head of design — the legendary Walter Da Silva — as the best-looking car he ever designed, and the man has designed some of the best-looking cars of all time. A future classic? No — it’s a classic already.
Which one should I buy?
Early A5s were a little bit limited in their specs. Initially the car was launched as a two-door coupe only with a choice of 3.2-litre V6 petrol engine or 3.0-litre TDI V6 diesel. That choice expanded a little when the 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol came on stream, alongside the 2.7-litre V6 TDI Multitronic diesel, which for a while was the only auto and diesel combo you could have in the A5.
It didn’t take long for the first performance derivative to arrive — the 4.2-litre V8-engined S5, which was an almost totally wonderful car, albeit one that’s very expensive to run if you manage to track one down.
In 2009, Audi launched the Sportback — a slightly stretched five-door fastback A5 with four frame-less doors and a liftback boot. Although not much more spacious inside than the standard Coupe, the extra doors and fractional extra space do mean that you can (just about) have a family and an A5 at the same time. The Sportback’s arrival also coincided with the first 2.0-litre TDI four-cylinder diesel model, with 170hp.
In 2012, the A5 was given a significant facelift, which altered the shape of the grille and lights, and upgraded the interior a little, but which (thankfully) didn’t change the fundamental shape. The biggest change was that the V8 S5 lost its eight-cylinder engine and gained instead a supercharged V6 3.0-litre unit, which kept up performance, but lost the V8’s wonderful soundtrack. There was a further update in 2013, but that was mostly limited to minor mechanical items and a new MMI infotainment system. More powerful 2.0-litre TDI diesel units and a 1.8 TFSI petrol had joined the range in 2011.
As for the best model to buy? An S5 is a wonderful thing to drive, but pricey. A 3.0-litre TDI V6 equally lovely, but a bit on the heavy side. A 2.0-litre TDI is frugal, a 1.8 or 2.0 TFSI sings a sweeter song. You’ll have more luck finding a TDI so go for that.
How much should I spend? Circa €25-27,000 will get you a 2013 two-door coupe, but you’ll pay a little extra for the more practical Sportback.
Here’s one we found:
2013 Audi A5 Black Edition 2-door Coupe 2.0 TDI 180hp, 83,000km, one owner, €26,400 from a franchised dealer.
What goes wrong?
The 2.7 and 3.0-litre diesels develop exhaust gas recirculation valve problems, while the 3.2 V6 petrol is prone to coolant pump failure. All diesel models need regualr long-distance drives to build up heat to clear their DPF diesel filters, so beware of A5s with too-low mileage.
1.8 and 2.0 TFSI petrols and 2.0 TDI diesel engines need their cambelts changed every five years or at 120,000km intervals, so make sure that has been done.
The MMI system is prone to developing glitches and can be very awkward to diagnose and repair, while for some reason the glovebox lids can be tricky to shut properly and often hang loose. If you have a Multitronic version with the CVT gearbox, it may need a software reflash to prevent hesitant acceleration, while the air conditioning systems need regular re-gassing.
If you’re looking at an S-Line model, have the suspension inspected. S-Line models run lower, with firmer springs and low profile tyres and are prone to more damage and tracking issues than con-ventional models — check for uneven tyre wear too.
There is an ultimate A5 and that’s the V8 turbo RS5. It was originally launched in 2010 with a 450hp twin-turbo V8 engine, wider track, bulky wheelarches, a huge rear spoiler and serious performance. It’s a proper high-performance car, the RS5, and can be hard to track down. Worth it though…
And when you’ve found your perfect A5 don’t forget to get it history checked by motorcheck.ie.