Fleet News

Audi A5 2.7 TDI Sport Multitronic

Audi

Review

4

It’s funny how the little things can become such big issues when it comes to cars.

Take our new long-term test Audi A5. It arrived with us looking striking in metallic silver, LED front lights aglow and sitting on a set of chunky 19-inch alloy wheels.

Inside were heavily-bolstered leather seats and all of life’s essential luxuries – climate and cruise control, automatic gearbox, satellite navigation, etc.

Wonderful. But, and this may sound a touch trivial, the steering wheel wasn’t on straight.

On a perfectly straight and flat piece of road with the front wheels pointing dead ahead, the steering wheel is askew by about two inches. 

After a few days this really began to annoy me, so I booked the A5 into our local dealership to get it sorted.

Unfortunately, in between booking it in and the scheduled date, I had a minor off-road experience thanks to an icy road.

I ended up sliding along a grass verge but also hit a kerb quite heavily, so the timing of the remedial work was ideal.

The car was duly delivered to Peterborough Audi, where I also asked them to investigate a burning smell coming from the front wheels (thinking I may have caused some unseen damage underneath in the ‘off’).

Thankfully, the garage reported that the burning smell was simply the brake discs bedding in (the A5 arrived with less than two hundred miles on the clock).

They also carried out a wheel alignment check. 

The end result was a bill for £163... and a steering wheel which still isn’t on straight. Very annoying.

Luckily, the A5’s list of attributes is extensive and is going a long way to overcoming the frustration of not getting the steering wheel issue fixed.

Firstly, the looks. Granted, the A5 is essentially an A4 saloon without the two rear doors, but its dimensions and styling give it a squat, almost mean appearance, helped by the sinister LED running lights.

In Sport trim the A5 comes with 18-inch wheels as standard, but our car has been specified with a set of 19s.

These really fill out the wheelarches well and add to the muscularity of the car, although they do cost £650 extra.

Inside, the front seats are standard sports items, with plenty of lateral support and a firm feel which stops you from slouching down in them.
 
To these we’ve added the essential front seat heaters at £250. These are like having a dishwasher – once you’ve had them you can never do without them again.

Other niceties inside from the options list are a mobile telephone preparation package (£375) – an essential fixture in today’s health and safety/duty of care-obsessed times.

There’s also an interior light package at £100, though I’ve yet to discover what this actually entails. 

More obvious is the all-singing satellite navigation system (£1,975), hill-hold assist at £45 (is it just me, but does charging for a £45 option on a £30,000-plus car seem a bit tight?), the iPod music integration device (£200), cruise control at £190 and a £200 auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

All of which adds up to a supremely comfortable, safe and relaxing place to rack up business miles. The torquey 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel engine under the bonnet adds to this long-distance appeal, with a surfeit of power all through the rev range. 

The headline figure is 190bhp, although the 295lb-ft of torque from 1,400rpm is more telling. And, thanks to the Multitronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearbox, that glug of torque is always readily accessible because this gearbox does away with actual ratios in favour of an always-changing single ratio.

In most aspects it works well, but occasionally you yearn for a traditional stepped automatic, especially when you want to surf the torque for gentle acceleration rather than changing down and revving higher.

And this car does struggle to get the power down through its front wheels. Pull out of a junction sharply, even in the dry, and the dashboard traction control light will flicker into action. Quattro four-wheel drive is available, but not with this engine.

 

Standard equipment

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Sports front seats
  • Sports suspension
  • Three-spoke multi- function steering wheel with paddle shifts
  • Leather seats
  • Three-zone climate control
  • CD/MP3-compatible stereo
  • Colour information screen
  • Front armrest
  • Split/fold rear seat
  • Silver interior inlays


Options

  • Metallic paint £600
  • Mobile telephone preparation (low) £375
  • Interior lighting package £100
  • Satellite navigation system plus £1,975
  • Hill hold assist £45
  • Heated front seats £250
  • Audi Music Interface £200
  • Cruise control £190
  • 19-inch alloy wheels £650
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror £200

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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