2016 Audi A5 Driving Impressions

The A5 will accelerate from zero to 60 in about 6.5 seconds, which might fall short of high performance, but it is peppy and fun, with a crisp throttle response and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces robust torque from 1500 to 4300 rpm, to propel the car from intersections and up hills. It’s as quiet and smooth as the four-cylinder engines from BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac, although it can sound a bit buzzy or gritty at high rpm.

Both the eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission suit the car’s character, as the automatic shifts quick enough to satisfy enthusiasts.

The ride and handling are tuned for comfort in the base model. Available Drive Select enables the driver to adjust settings for throttle, transmission, steering and suspension. We liked the Audi base settings. It’s comfortable on rough roads, and responsive on twisting roads. Even better, there’s a sports suspension option.

Quattro adds to the stability. With quattro, 60 percent of the power is directed to the rear wheels and 40 percent to the front under normal conditions. That 40/60 front/rear is a good balance. In very slippery conditions, the all-wheel drive can lock the center differential for traction.

Steering response is generally good. Active Dynamic Steering uses sensors to read the road and adjust the steering effort and quickness accordingly.

Audi S5 features a direct-injected, supercharged V6 with a two-stage intake manifold. It has large brakes and grippy 19-inch tires. An optional active rear differential overdrives the outside rear tire in corners, forcing the front end to turn in more quickly. It also communicates with the vehicle’s Drive Select system and stability control to help maintain control in emergency maneuvers. The S5 is heavy, however, so it doesn’t handle like a sports car.

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