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The 2023 Audi A5 offers athletic thrills with distinctive style – News Opener

The 2023 Audi A5 lineup covers coupes, cabriolets, and Sportback models — all with that distinctive Audi style inside and out. Some are just nice compact luxury cars, others are fearsomely fast. Prices start at $44,100.

Luxury compact cars fill a great niche. They’re not crazy expensive unless we choose a high-performance variant. They’re roomy enough up front because how often do we drive around with passengers sitting in the back for rear space to matter?

They have a lot of plushness, as well as technology. They’re usually entertaining to drive, and they’re easy to park. Oh, and most luxury compact cars have a lot of style. That’s certainly the case with the 2023 Audi A5.

Based on the excellent Audi A4 luxury compact sedan, the A5 comes as a coupe, soft-top (Cabriolet), and a fastback 4-door version with an under-the-radar element of practicality. To complete the picture, Audi offers spicy performance variants known as S5 models and the crazy expensive — but wonderfully powerful — RS 5 variants.

Buyers with the budgets — and an appreciation of aesthetics as much as athletics — should find something in the 2023 A5 range that will thrill.

2023 Audi A5 pricing

The most affordable 2023 Audi A5 is the Sportback 40 TSFI version in Premium trim, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $44,100, plus a destination charge. Like all other A5/S5/RS 5 models, all-wheel drive is included.

Coupe versions start at $46,200, the cabriolet begins just under $53K, and S5 cars (available in all three body styles) start at $55.3K. The high-performance RS 5 Coupe comes in at almost $76K, with the Sportback equivalent a little above that figure.

Trim levels for the A5/S5 variants are Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The RS 5 models are set apart from this formula. Hit the options list with gusto, and an RS 5 Sportback could easily creep toward $95K.

Strong competition comes in the form of the BMW 4 Series, from about $46K for a Gran Coupe (a 4-door model) to about $83K for an M4 Coupe with all-wheel drive. Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupes and cabriolets are priced approximately between their Audi and BMW
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counterparts. For someone considering a new A5 Sportback but who would prefer to spend less, the Kia
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Stinger starts at about $37K.

Before buying a new Audi A5, S5, or RS 5, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for theirs. As far as resale values are concerned, there isn’t much to choose between the three German marques.

Driving the 2023 Audi A5

The 201 horsepower in the base 2023 A5 Sportback isn’t particularly meek. It just becomes more gripe-worthy as soon as a driver takes the first corner and realizes the car’s chassis can clearly cope with more muscle.

If finances allow, we suggest looking at something with the 261-horsepower drivetrain. At least. Then drivers will have the kind of thrust that’s appropriate for a luxury car. The A5 has a flow to it, the kind of ease that’s only possible because engineers worked hard to make it that way.

Speed and precision ramp up in the S5. This is a fine middle ground between the regular A5 and the RS 5 models, which can go up against the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe. An RS 5 can zip from standstill to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, and an optional Competition package raises the top speed to 180 mph.

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Interior comfort

Audi vehicles are invariably prime examples of automotive interior design. Like the 2023 A5 range.

Just as the exterior gives the impression that every line, shape, and proportion has been studied and honed by talented, hard-working designers with good taste, so do the door panels, dashboard, controls, and center console. With the added awareness of textures.

Quality pervades these cabins like heat in a sauna. Clutter is completely absent.

A 10.1-inch touchscreen is standard throughout, controlling a highly user-friendly infotainment system that comes with wireless Apple
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CarPlay smartphone integration. Leather seating surfaces are also standard.

The S5 models have leather/simulated suede upholstery with a diamond-stitched pattern. The RS 5 has fine Nappa leather with a honeycomb stitch, plus power-adjustable side cushions and massage functions for the front seats.

Limousine drivers aren’t going to buy a new A5, so the amount of rear passenger space in the Coupe and Sportback models is perfectly acceptable for a compact luxury car — enough for a couple of average-sized adults, as long as there’s no one taller in front.

The added practicality of the Sportback involves a powered liftgate, 40/20/40 split/folding rear seats, rear passenger doors, and cargo space that goes from 21 to 35 cubic feet.

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Exterior styling

Apart from the obvious differences in body shapes, Audi has given the 2023 A5 a few subtle distinctions over its close relative, the A4 sedan. Each car has its own design of hood, front air intakes, and grille treatments, for example.

The Sportback is the 4-door version with a sloping roof and a hatchback instead of a trunk. After car companies calling all sorts of vehicles coupes, the A5 Coupe indeed lives up to its name with the requisite two doors. And the Cabriolet’s soft top folds completely into the body for the cleanest possible look.

The S5 and RS 5 models add quad exhaust outlets, plus model-specific aerodynamic additions.

Matrix-design LED headlights (comprised of multiple small LEDs) become standard across the range this year, except for those higher trims with laser light technology. The standard 18-inch alloy wheels have a new design. The optional Black Optic Plus appearance package adds a rear lip spoiler and exhaust tips to its inventory of black elements. Quantum Gray gets replaced by Chronos Gray. And the S5/RS 5 models are now available in Ascari Blue.

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Six cool features

1. A5 Sportback
Torn between the sensible A4 and the sensual A5 Coupe? The A5 Sportback blends sleekness with a practical hatchback. And it can be the least expensive new A5.

2. Audi Phone Box
This feature provides wireless charging and a phone signal booster. It becomes standard at the Premium Plus level — a good trim to aim for in general because of its extra equipment.

3. Virtual Cockpit
Sure, it’s been around for some time, and other carmakers are getting in on the act. But this 12.3-inch configurable digital driver information display still looks cool and remains easy to operate. Like a lot of good things, it comes standard in Premium Plus versions.

4. Bang & Olufsen Audio
Now standard in the Premium Plus trims of the 2023 A5 lineup, migrating down from the Prestige models, this 20-speaker/755-watt Bang & Olufsen
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surround-sound system puts the art into Mozart and the rave into Ravel.

5. S5 Models
It isn’t just the go-faster nature of the S5 variants, although that’s definitely part of the appeal. They’re also balanced with plenty of luxury features. These cars are great packages overall.

6. Park Assist
Once an A5 driver has found a parking space, either perpendicular or parallel, this feature will apply the right amount and direction of steering. The driver just handles the gears, brakes, and throttle. It’s part of the Prestige trim in all A5 and S5 variants, optional in the RS 5.

Engine and transmission

The least powerful engine in the 2023 A5 range is found only in the least expensive Sportback. Known as the 40 TSFI drivetrain, it consists of a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 201 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, connected to a 7-speed automated transmission.

Same engine and transmission in the 45 TSFI configuration, but output boosts to a now-you’re-talking 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. This goes into the Sportback, coupe, and cabriolet models.

Audi’s all-wheel-drive system, known as quattro, is standard across the 2023 A5 range from the lowly 40 TSFI setup to the ultra-quick RS 5.

The excitement builds in the S5 variants, cooking up 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. And putting the force into “tour de force” is the twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter of the RS 5 Coupe and Sportback models, endowing them with 444 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of power for a compact car.

The S5 and RS 5 cars each use an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Premium gasoline is required across the 2023 A5/S5/RS 5 range. These fuel economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pertain to 2022, but 2023’s should be the same.

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2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Sportback 40 TFSI)
201 horsepower @ 4,200-6,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (45 TFSI)
261 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (Sportback/Coupe), 23/31 mpg (Cabriolet)

3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (S5)
349 horsepower @ 5,400-6,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (Sportback/Coupe), 21/28 mpg (Cabriolet)

2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (RS 5 Sportback/Coupe)
444 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
442 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

This story originally ran on KBB.com. 

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