2018 Audi A5 Quattro: A heck of a rail, but not much room in back – The Washington Post

2018 Audi A5 Quattro: A heck of a rail, but not much room in back

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2018 Audi A5 coupe. (AUDI AG)

We are growing up — drivers and vehicle manufacturers.

In the past, we mostly cared about vehicle speed and treating. We still do. But we now realize that cars and trucks operate in a world of numerous, often conflicting concerns.

There are people — motorists and pedestrians. Manufacturers and drivers are attempting to injure and kill fewer of them.

There is the environment. Scoff, if you will. But it is difficult — and dangerous — to drive anything through flash-flood waters; and it is almost unlikely to love an open-top car in 100-degree warmth.

Today, we give credence to vehicle and traffic safety, fuel economy and emissions control. We’d also like our cars to do more than transport two people.

These shifts switch the kinds of cars that are built and what we choose to buy.

Take a look at the two thousand eighteen Audi A5 luxury line. There is the fully revised Audi A5 coupe, a two-door, all-wheel-drive wonder driven for this week’s column. And there is the A5 Cabriolet — excellent, when the weather is mild and the top can be lowered.

All fresh for two thousand eighteen is something called the A5 Sportback — a hatchback with four doors and almost dual, according to early reports, the 11.6 feet of cargo space in the A5 coupe.

The Sportback might seem odd to Audi fans who are wedded to the sleek, just-for-fun two-door styling of the coupe and cabriolet. But people with growing children, or aging parents in need of transportation, will appreciate those two extra doors and the better rear-seat access of the Sportback.

Let’s face it. Many coupes, as does the tested A5, have rear seats. But those coupe back seats are cooped up — difficult for passengers, be they long of limb or lengthy in senior years, to reach and sit cozily. The A5 Sportback, which Audi engineers say drives just as well as the A5 coupe, offers a more convenient rear-seat rail.

I began yearning for the Sportback midway through my week in the A5 coupe, the latter of which proved an absolute pleasure to drive — until I pulled into a shopping center with passengers in tow. The joy disappeared in the effort to accommodate people and their stuff.

But, in solo motoring, nothing hits the fantasy of the open road, assuming you can find one, like the A5 coupe. It is such a beautiful car.

It comes with a stronger, turbocharged four-cylinder engine for two thousand eighteen — 252-horsepower, two hundred seventy three pound-feet of torque vs. 220-horsepower, 258-pound feet of torque in the two thousand seventeen model. Front interior ergonomics are remarkably elementary and accommodating. Safety offerings have been improved — rearview camera, blind-side monitoring, and a “city braking” device, operable at low speeds, to reduce the risk of hitting pedestrians.

But this is where Audi upsets me. The A5 line comes in three trim offerings: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. I drove the Premium Plus trim in the coupe and was miffed. If I wished all of the advanced electronic safety items — much of the same equipment available on the less costly two thousand eighteen Fiat 500X — I would have to buy the much more expensive A5 Quattro/Prestige coupe.

I don’t want “prestige.” But I would appreciate something like rear cross-traffic alert, which I can get on the Fiat 500x for far less money.

Bottom line: The two thousand eighteen Audi A5 Quattro coupe is one heck of an pleasurable cruise for driver and front-seat passenger. But if you have real-world transportation needs, like children and their stuff, check out the four-door, hatchback Sportback.

Rail, acceleration and treating: Excellent in all categories.

Head-turning quotient: High “Wow!” factor. It is an inarguably beautiful automobile — the car as art chunk.

Engine/transmission: It comes with a Two.0-liter, turbocharged (compelled air), inline 16-valve gasoline engine with variable-valve timing (252-horsepower, two hundred seventy three pound-feet of torque). The engine is linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated by hand. A traditional six-speed manual is available.

Capacities: Seating is for four people. But, be warned: Access to rear seats is difficult for large or elderly people, some of whom complain that the seating is awkward. Cargo capacity is 11.6 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 15.Three gallons. Premium grade is “recommended” for best spectacle.

Mileage: Pleasant surprise for such a high-performance car! I averaged thirty two miles per gallon on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes; four-wheel antilock brake protection; pre-collision and post-collision safety systems; blind-side monitoring; stability and traction control; side and head air bags.

Pricing: The two thousand eighteen Audi A5 coupe with all-wheel drive starts at $42,800. Price as tested is $52,950 including $9,175 in options (Premium Plus trim, onboard navigation, Bang & Olufsen sound system, 19-inch wheels) and a $975 factory-to-dealer shipment charge.

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