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#14

in 2012 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $29,562 - $36,757
Original MSRP: $37,100 - $44,700
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
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2012 Audi A5 Performance

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

The 2012 Audi A5 receives mixed comments on its performance. 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 its light steering feel, the lack of an optional V6 and its heavy curb weight, the A5 isn’t exactly a high-performance machine. However, most critics agree that the A5 is a rewarding car for most drivers.

  • "Standard Quattro means torque steer is not an issue. The A5's six-speed manual might not be quite as slick as what you'll find in a BMW 328i, but it still provides nice, light shift action and short throws." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "A great sports coupe overall, with all-wheel-drive traction and a spunky-yet-refined ride." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The 2012 Audi A5 handles well, with impressive body control and tenacious traction from the all-wheel-drive system. At the same time, it's important to remember that the A5 weighs more than its rear-wheel-drive rivals, which largely explains why it feels more like a grand touring coupe than a high-performance one." -- Edmunds 

Acceleration and Power

Audi hasn’t offered a V6 in the A5 since the 2010 model year, which means there’s just one motor available in the 2012 Audi A5: the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 211 horsepower. While coupes often focus on performance, reviewers find this motor to be competitive when squaring up against its rivals. They say that its power is adequate for most driving situations, but shoppers with an eye for more performance may want to step up to the Audi S5.

The A5 Coupe comes with all-wheel drive and a standard six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is optional. Cabriolets come standard with front-wheel drive and Audi’s Multitronic continuously variable transmission, while all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are an available option. A handful of reviewers say that while the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is competent, it lacks the refinement of the six-cylinder engines found in many of the A5’s rivals.

Where the A5 shines is with its impressive fuel economy. The EPA estimates that A5 Coupes with the manual transmissions get 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while automatic Coupes earn 21/29 mpg city/highway. The A5 Cabriolet gets 22/30 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 21/29 mpg with quattro.

  • "The 2.0T is available with three different transmissions and front- or all-wheel drive, but is ideally mated with the six-speed stick and Quattro. Happily, that combo is also the least expensive of all A5 variants." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The gutsy-yet-frugal turbo four is now the only engine offered in the A5." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The A5's 2.0T engine is a mixed bag. It gives this coupe and convertible class-competitive acceleration and great fuel economy, but it doesn't sound as refined as a six-cylinder and it transmits some off-putting vibrations through the steering wheel." -- Edmunds 
  • "The A5's base 2.0 liter four is responsive, although arguably works better in Audi's own TT or A3 than in the heavier A5." -- Kelley Blue Book  

Handling and Braking

When it comes to the 2012 Audi A5’s handling, auto writers have mixed opinions. Some think its power-assisted steering system is too light in parking lots and requires too much effort at speed. This gripe aside, many reviewers comment that the A5 is a good handler with tenacious grip, thanks to its quattro all-wheel drive system.

  • "Like its four-door sibling, the A5 still suffers from power steering that's trying to be all things to all people, with too much variation in assist between a parking-lot pace and on-the-road speeds." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Quick handling, nice road manners." -- Car and Driver
  • "The effort level of the standard speed-sensitive power steering system can seem artificially light at parking lot speeds and too heavy on the highway, though it's very precise. The optional variable-ratio steering system that comes with the Audi Drive Select package feels even more contrived, so we'd skip that pricey option." -- Edmunds 
  • "The all-independent suspension is supple, the steering amazingly direct, and the overall comfort level high. That said, going to 19-inch rims will compromise the ride." -- Kelley Blue Book