By finding yet another application for its latest-generation 2.0-litre TFSI four, Audi has created a cracker of an A5 coupe that makes the pricier 3.2 V6 version seem almost redundant.
The 1984cc direct-injection turbo comes straight out of the Q5 (as well as VW's Tiguan and forthcoming Golf GTI) and produces identical numbers iV 155kW from 4300-6000rpm and 350Nm from a lowly 1500rpm. The engine's A5 introduction also coincides with a new double-clutch transmission and the availability of a manual in the regular A5 for the first time.
With a starting price of $79,900, the 2.0T A5 quattro wears 17-inch alloys and Pirelli rubber but, despite the lower ask, retains the higher-spec A5's design cues and equipment levels, including LED running lights, leather trim, electric seats and Bluetooth.
The 2.0TFSI is full of character as you'd expect from a Golf GTI engine. Pre-drive apprehensions that the newest A5 V that weighs 1490kg V may be too much for the engine to haul are very quickly dismissed. Despite no changes from its Q5 spec, the 2.0-litre pulls hard once the momentary lag has passed.
Above 2000rpm it really starts to shine and loves having revs piled on, while emitting a subtle induction note to let you know its working. It's an immensely flexible engine that responds quickly to throttle inputs, but while acceleration is willing, the A5 is no giant-killing performance coupe. It's more a talented tourer. Steering that lacks feel, but is at least accurate, puts paid to any aspirations the A5 may have to being a proper sports coupe.
The other key advantage the 2.0 TFSI offers is Audi's new double-clutch seven-speed S-tronic box, also from the Q5, that adds $3600 to the A5's ask. Also now offered in the A4 sedan and Avant, it shifts in 0.2sec and doesn't suffer the same indecision we've found in other DSG/S-tronics, or the tiptronic found in the 3.2 V6 A5 and A4 (which keep the torque-converter auto). The seven-speeder has three modes V Drive, Sport and Manual V with the latter the best on a winding road. Left in Drive, it changes smoothly and precisely without incessantly hunting for gears.
So the 2.0-litre has a more-responsive transmission than the V6, which makes the S-tronic A5 a quicker point-to-point car than the manual version, despite both sharing the same 6.5-to-100 claim.
For a coupe that quick, the 2.0-TFSI combined fuel economy of 7.5L/100km is really impressive. In comparison, the higher-spec $98,500 3.2 V6 quattro offers less torque (330Nm) at higher revs (3000rpm), sprints to 100km/h in a slightly faster 6.4sec, yet drinks much more fuel (9.3L/100km).
The A5 coupe range now spans three engines (2.0TFSI, 3.0TDI, 3.2FSI), three transmissions and $80K to $98K, with a sexy convertible set to join the range later in the year. Audi expects the 2.0TFSI to account for 30 percent of the A5's volume, which means about 130 should find upscale Aussie homes by year's end.
And we don't doubt that as it introduces a more economical, but still highly entertaining and capable package that represents perhaps the A5 iteration yet.