2013 Audi A5
2013 Audi A5. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2013 Audi S5
2013 Audi A5

Jerez de la Frontera, Spain – How do you improve on an already beautiful and capable car? Very carefully, it seems.

With the Audi A5/S5 nearing the four-year mark, Audi is launching a mid-cycle refresh of the coupe and cabriolet that hits Europe in November and arrives here mid-2012, likely billed as a 2013 model.
Walter de’Silva’s design is still striking and current, so Audi has wisely treaded gently on this upgrade. The most notable change is seen in the front, with a slightly revised grille and front fascia featuring a pair of wedge-shaped headlights, giving the bow a sleeker look.

With pretty much the rest of the automotive world cottoning on to Audi’s signature string of LED running lights, these new headlights incorporate a unique fishhook-shaped continuous highlight within. The rear taillights receive an LED upgrade. Add in some new wheel designs and sharper body creases, and Audi’s fetching two-door is good to go.

2013 Audi S5
2013 Audi A5
2013 Audi S5 (top); 2013 Audi A5. Click image to enlarge

With the current 3.2-litre naturally-aspirated V6 off the menu, the new A5 Coupe and A5 Cabriolet will only be available with VW/Audi’s ubiquitous 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged TSFI four-cylinder, here making 211 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 4,200 r.p.m. Reduced internal friction and standard start-stop system (we will be getting this feature) give the A5 TSFI Coupe with 8-speed Tiptronic automatic a 6.4 L/100 km rating on the European combined cycle.

On an early morning, and somewhat frantic blast in southern Spain (we got lost and were in danger of missing our flight home), this turbo four proved sufficiently robust in the cut and thrust over secondary roads and a high speed run on the highway. Cruising at double Canada’s posted maximum was a completely quiet, refined and relaxed affair.

A most pleasant surprise with this A5 is the adoption of a completely new electro-mechanical steering system that, along with offering much improved feel and feedback, improves fuel efficiency by up to 0.3 L/100 km over the older rack. With the exception of the R8 and RS4, Audi’s steering over the past few years has suffered from over assistance at low speeds and a general inertness. Audi has evidently been listening and doing its homework. This is a welcome improvement.

Inside the cabin, which naturally adheres to Audi’s peerless design and execution, we find new colours, new steering wheel, trim and wood accents, and a seven-inch LCD screen. The MMI and HVAC controls have been tweaked for easier operation.

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