2018 Audi A5 Driving Impressions

The turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is new, making 252 horsepower which is 30 more than before. It’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic manual transmission that’s the best in the business, with shifts that are smooth and quick. With the coupe, a six-speed manual is available.

The engine has sharp throttle response, being absent of turbo lag or drama, and accelerates from zero to sixty in a satisfying 5.7 seconds.

The A5’s Drive Select offers Comfort, Normal, Dynamic, and Individual (custom) modes for the for the steering, suspension, transmission, and throttle. In the appropriate mode, the steering is sharp and direct, and the handling is balanced. The ride is comfortable and composed. It’s sporty and fun to drive, although its mission is meant to be more sedate than that; the adrenaline is saved for the S5, which adds torque vectoring to help the car rotate in turns.

The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 in the S5 makes a whumping 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, to drive the car to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. It’s a twin-scroll turbo designed to reduce lag and deliver a broad torque band. The torque comes on strong at 1350 stays there to 4500 rpm. It’s a fantastic passing machine on two-lanes.

The eight-speed automatic is quick and tight, and the Quattro all-wheel drive splits the torque 60/40 rear/front. New in 2018 is an available rear differential that moves the torque from side to side, as needed in cornering.

Some of the weight loss in the 2018 comes from the use of aluminum components in the five-link rear suspension.

A sport package lowers the car by nearly one inch. It includes adjustable dampers, the new rear differential, and red brake calibers. It can be set from Comfort to Dynamic, with an Auto mode making it easy for the driver. Even in Dynamic mode, the S5 doesn’t feel harsh or high-strung.

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