Audi A5 class act in premium coupe sector

Iain Dooley checks out Audi's svelte and sophisticated-looking A5 Coupe.

Engines – At launch the A5's engine range was a modest one but did cover all the basics with willing and affordable petrol and diesel engines. With the passing of time that range has expanded to include small-capacity motors for those on a budget and high-performance units. For general use a four-cylinder engine is a fine choice, with the diesels offering genuine savings.

Exterior – With its clean and uncluttered lines, Audi's A5 Coupe is a sophisticated yet understated car. Cleverly combining Audi's family 'face' with a sleek profile that's unique to this model, the A5 is one of the most distinctive premium coupes on the roads today.

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Interior – While the A5's exterior might be striking and individual, the car's cabin should be familiar to existing Audi owners. That's not a problem though, as the overall ambience and quality feel is first rate. And despite being a two-door coupe rear seat access and space is more than acceptable.

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Driving – With two distinct characters available, luxury and sporting, there's something for everyone. The car's engines are willing and refined, plus the diesels are impressively economical. And with the option of quattro all-wheel drive on selected models, you'll always feel secure. Furthermore, the powerful S5 variant promises a clever blend of high performance and luxury.

Ownership – Over the years Audi has done much to refine the ownership experience. Its work has paid off, as the A5 is a pleasingly low-maintenance machine. Boasting exceptional build quality and a respected dealer network, there's never any need to worry. And the car itself is unsurprisingly easy to drive, allowing you to enjoy its full potential.

What to look for – For such a new car you shouldn't expect to see abused or neglected examples. If you do, the best advice is to walk away. With many still in the dealer network, you can expect a high degree of preparation and a full service history. It's still important to ask all the right questions and take a test-drive, though.

Model history – 2007, Audi launches its A4-size coupe, the A5. Initially offered with a small selection of engines, the range gradually expanded to include a wide choice of four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel motors. Manual gearboxes plus a choice of conventional automatic and continuously variable transmission are available depending on the model, plus quattro all-wheel drive. Base specification is generous and be on the lookout for lots of once high-value cost options.

Reasons to buy – Looks, image, badge plus exceptional build quality and refinement. Engines are also impressive.

Reasons to beware – Keen drivers will be disappointed with the car's conservative character, styling a little 'me-too' against the rest of Audi's range.

Pick of the range – A5 Coupe 1.8 FSI Sport.

What to pay – 2008 57 �20,225; 2008 08 �20,800; 2008 58 �21,400; 2009 09 �22,750; 2010 59 �24,175. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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