Friday, 30 January 2015

Why the Audi A5 was born for the outside lane

HERE’S one to discuss next time you’re at the pub. What is the coolest car from Audi’s current range?

Last time I delved into this particular discussion, the nominations for this year’s Coolest Audi Award were the RS5, largely for being a modern-day equivalent of Gene Hunt’s Quattro, the R8 because you can pretend it’s a Lamborghini in a boring suit, and the S1 because it’s a beltingly quick hot hatch.

In fact, I’ve long maintained the only Audi even vaguelywithin sniffing distance of being cool is the A7. Not the hugely powerful, range-topping RS7 version either. Just the basic A7 in its purest form, because it’s the only big Audi which doesn’t have the baggage of being a tailgater’sfavoured set of wheels.

That’s probably why I’ve found driving the A7’s baby brother – the A5 Sportback – over the past few days such an eye-opener. If you’re in the market for a sleek, family-friendly express for between £25-35k it’s well worth a look, because it’s pleasingly proportioned, roomier than you’d expect a coupe-esque five-door to be, and built with the sort of attention to detail that’d give the scientists at CERN sleepless nights.

Yet its trump card – and one it shares with all the A3s and A4s I’ve driven over the past few years – is also why I suspect I’m forever encountering A5 drivers thundering past me on the motorway at improbable speeds. It is, put simply, a piece of cake to drive at very high speeds.

At 70mph in sixth, the 2.0 litre turbodiesel engine in the one I’d borrowed wasn’t even nudging 2000rpm – in other words, it was barely breaking into a sweat. It’s not even fast in a particularly sporty way that eggs you on to go faster; the Audi is so composed at this sort of speed it shrugs it off. 

The temptation is settle into the A5’s natural groove – the sort of three figure speeds you’ll see perfectly standard Audis doing every day on German autobahns. The reason why you see so many cars with four rings on the front doing upwards of 85mph is because doing so requires absolutely no effort whatsoever from the driver, who’s only really there to dial in the occasional steering input to stop it hitting the central reservation.

The A5 is a superbly talented bit of kit, but I prefer my executive expresses to be a bit more involving. That’ll be the Jaguar XF, then.

1 comment:

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