It’s been an 11-year wait, but the BMW 3-series Coupe and Mercedes CLK finally have a four ring-badged competitor in the form of BusinessCar Awards winning Audi’s new A5.

It arrives in the UK from June – with Audi looking for a slice of the four-seat coupe action that saw BMW sell 7568 3-series Coupes across fleet and retail in 2006 – and is being pitched as the most “aspirational four-seat coupe in its segment”, strong words given the quality of its rivals.


An A5 cabrio is also due in the distant future, but for the foreseeable it’s only the coupe.

There is a petrol 3.2 and the range-topping S5 at launch. Naturally, though, it’s the diesels that will be of most interest to business customers, and the excellent 3.0 TDi engine is available immediately with the detuned 2.7 not far behind.

A distinctive front end, complete with now familiar gaping grille, gives the car has an imposing, yet fairly understated look, while from the rear view the company won’t thank us for pointing out the more-than-passing resemblance to its 3-series arch rival, especially with the light clusters.

The interior is typically Audi, which means well thought out and finished in good quality materials with comfy seats. The A5 features Audi’s MMI controller, as seen in the A6 and A8, which incorporates audio, navigation and other infotainment functions onto a single dial and screen. It’s the most user-friendly system on the market, despite the rotating knob still turning in a counter intuitive direction.

The boot is an impressive 455 litres but feels bigger, going back far enough to make reaching for anything at the back a decent stretch. That does, though, impact on interior space; while there’s plenty in the front there’s no way the A5 will carry four six-footers without one sitting cross-legged, meditation style. Three adults is a comfortable ask, however, and a short driver would leave enough space behind. It’s not an easy or particularly dignified task clambering into the rear seats, either, and taller passengers will be brushing the roof with their head. But the rear seats do fold easily to leave a massive load bay.

Drive the A5 and it’s immediately clear it’s not quite as nimble as a 3-series Coupe. It feels like a significantly bigger grand tourer-style car, although the 3.0-litre 240PS diesel is certainly capable of covering the ground at eye-watering pace. (If you want a sweet-handling coupe, the smaller Audi TT is a better bet.) Ride quality is a bit of a concern, too, and compared with the front-wheel drive 3.2 litre petrol we also sampled, the four-wheel drive diesel felt heavier and didn’t deal with bumps as well. Maybe the lighter, front-wheel drive 2.7 diesel will solve much of that when it arrives a couple of months behind its more powerful sibling. However, at motorway speed the A5 is impressively refined and relaxing, with just tiny traces of wind and road noise.

The Audi loses out against its BMW rival in price, CO2 MPG and residual value terms, which is why the slower 330d Coupe wins on costs. Meanwhile, the A5 is in an adjacent benefit-in-kind tax group as its auto-only Mercedes CLK rival, but the Benz is significantly more expensive.