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#18

in 2011 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $24,598 - $31,955
Original MSRP: $36,900 - $44,650
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
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2011 Audi A5 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Audi A5 gets a mixed bag of performance scores. Some say that it is a great driver’s car while others write that Audi got it all wrong with the way it tuned the A5’s steering. Between that, the lack of an optional V6 and its huskiness, the A5 isn’t exactly a high-performance machine. However, most critics agree that the A5 is a rewarding car to drive if you don’t expect too much from it.

  • "you’re probably not going to feel like you’re operating a high performance vehicle; this isn’t the fault of either engine, though, but is attributed to the 2011 Audi A5’s heavy weight." -- Automobile.com
  • "The Audi A5 is available only with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the two-doors from the competition are usually available with six-cylinder engines of various configurations and outputs." -- Edmunds
  • "At low speeds, it feels too light -- almost feminine. As speeds ramp up, so does steering effort -- but it gets too heavy too quickly; by 40 mph, it feels like the power steering died. At cruising speed, this heft feels most balanced, but then chassis tuning goes away. Quick inputs send the A5 rolling more than expected." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

Buyers interested in the A5 may be disappointed that Audi decided to discontinue the 3.2-liter V6 for 2011. This means there is only one motor option: the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 211 horsepower. In a class that focuses on high performance, reviewers find this motor to be class-competitive when squaring up against its rivals, and say that its power is adequate for normal driving. But if you want an A5 with more juice, you have no choice but to step up to the S5 with its bigger engine.

The A5 coupe comes with a standard six-speed manual or a new-for-2011 eight-speed automatic. Convertibles can be optioned with a CVT transmission on front-wheel drive versions or an eight-speed automatic on all-wheel drive models. The six-speed manual gets knocked by some reviewers who don’t think it is as precise as in other Audi products.

Where the A5 shines is with its impressive fuel economy. The EPA estimates that A5 coupes with manual transmissions get 21 city, 31 highway while automatic coupes and convertibles earn 21 city, 29 highway. If you’re shopping the front-wheel drive CVT A5 convertible, then it is unlikely you’ll be let down by its 22 city, 30 highway mpg.

  • "[2.0T] has good power with almost no turbo lag." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While the 211 horsepower from the A5's turbo inline-4 might seem merely adequate, the 258 pound-feet of torque it produces helps the car feel quick enough." -- Edmunds
  • "There is plenty of power, but the manual transmission is less precise and the clutch is not quite as engaging as is typically associated with an Audi vehicle." -- Carseek

Handling and Braking

The 2011 Audi A5 features Servotronic power assist steering. Servotronic acts as an aid so that when you are at lower speeds, like a parking lot, the steering feel lightens up and becomes easier to maneuver. At  high speeds, steering tightens up. The system is the target of criticism from some reviewers, who say when it’s light, it’s too light and requires too much effort at speed.

An anti-lock braking system and electronic brakeforce distribution are standard -- as is Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system -- on coupes -- and Electronic Stabilization Program. Together, these systems aid drivers in navigating through poor driving conditions by employing traction control alongside its many brake systems.

Auto writers are mixed about the A5’s handling. Some find its Servotronic steering too artificial and extreme. Others write the A5 is a good handler that is helped out by large doses of traction, thanks to its Quattro all-wheel drive system.

  • "At low speeds, it feels too light -- almost feminine. As speeds ramp up, so does steering effort -- but it gets too heavy too quickly; by 40 mph, it feels like the power steering died. At cruising speed, this heft feels most balanced, but then chassis tuning goes away. Quick inputs send the A5 rolling more than expected." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 2011 Audi A5 handles well, with impressive body control and tenacious traction from the all-wheel-drive system. It's important to remember that the A5 weighs more than its rear-wheel-drive rivals, which largely explains why the car feels more like a grand touring coupe than a high-performance one." -- Edmunds
  • "The standard all-wheel-drive makes for exceptional traction.” -- Automobile.com