Whether you take the Audi A5's designer at his word or not when he calls it the best he's ever done--and Walter de Silva has no shortage of gorgeous designs on his resume--the 2011 A5 offers a certain understated elegance layered over an athletic physique that few cars in its price range can match. MotorAuthority appreciates the aesthetics, but wishes the U.S. got a bit more sporting version of the A5 than its S5 big brother, and scores the 2011 Audi A5 an 8 out of 10.
Available as either a convertible or a coupe, the 2011 A5 is available with just one engine: the 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Upgrade to the S5 and you'll get a much more satisfying 4.2-liter V-8 good for 354-horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Despite the extra power in the S5, however, the svelte coupe just cracks the five-second barrier to 60 mph, clocking in at 4.9 seconds. Considering the 14/22 mpg (manual) and 16/24 mpg (Tiptronic) fuel economy, that's not spectacular.
The transmission choices in the S5--a six-speed manual or a six-speed Tiptronic automatic with paddle shifters--don't trickle down to the convertible A5, which gets a CVT in base form and an automatic as an upgrade. Neither transmission spawns quick acceleration, taking over seven seconds to reach 60 mph. The A5 coupe does better with an available six-speed manual or a snappy and smooth eight-speed automatic, either of which get you to 60 mph in the mid-six-second range. Base A5s come with front-wheel drive, though you can upgrade to quattro all-wheel drive; the S5 gets quattro standard.
Despite the less-than-inspiring powertrains, the 2011 A5 does offer a refined, attractive, and comfortable interior. The convertible offers the same high-quality construction as the coupe, while pulling off open-top driving with flair. It does impinge on the already-small back seat, however. Putting the top down steals some of the precious space.
Features, like the luxurious, well-made cabin, are in full effect. A new HD Radio option joins the fleet for the 2011 model year, with a strong base spec and a wide range of available upgrades.
For the full details on what makes the 2011 Audi A5 not just gorgeous, but fun, safe, full-featured, and comfortable, read the full review at TheCarConnection.