“It is a sophisticated blend of 21st century technology and old-school charm”

The original Audi A5 was a superb modern business saloon that had an incredible mix of luxury, technology and performance. So Audi decided that instead of changing the new A5 too much, it would just perfect it. Reinventing an already great car has its risks – but some risks really do pay off. Audi added the odd accent to the sporty exterior to give it a facelift, and then completely rebuilt the interior to make the new A5 the most innovative car in its class.

The exterior design of the new A5 retains designer Walter de Silva’s original vision (De Silva was head of design for the Volkswagen Group – which owns Audi – until 2015). It keeps its distinctive flowing lines, yet it has evolved with a sharper, more focused appearance. The most noticeable change to the exterior is the addition of a new Audi trademark front grille. The larger grille, more prominent wheel arches and sleek lights give the A5 a much sportier appearance from the front, yet it doesn’t detract from the overall elegance of this business sedan.

Sitting inside it, you can’t help but notice that the new Audi A5 includes luxurious twin-leather upholstery, heated front seats and a high, multifunction, three-spoke leather steering wheel, along with deluxe three-zone electronic climate control. The futuristic interior seems like something off the set of a sci-fi movie. It is a sophisticated blend of 21st century technology and old-school charm.

The technology is impossible to miss. It has a large 7” colour driver’s information system, Audi sound system and xenon headlights, which all come as standard. You have the option to upgrade to intelligent Matrix LED headlights, which dip automatically when oncoming traffic is detected. Just as eye-catching in the 2.0 litre FSI Sport S-tronic is the optional Audi Virtual Cockpit, which turns the dashboard into a fully customisable digital display. The A5 is equipped with Audi’s Quattro technology – Audi’s renowned all-wheel drive technology, which was developed with its motorsport engineers to bring better safety, sportiness and performance to everyday driving.

Some of the other innovative features include Audi’s Phonebox and parking assist. The Phonebox allows drivers to use their mobile phone in the car, by placing it in the storage compartment provided in the centre console. A wireless connection is created with the vehicle's roof-mounted aerial via the integrated connector in the storage compartment. This connection helps to boost the phone's mobile signal, as well as to reduce transmission power. The phone can be charged via a USB port and operated via the Multimedia Interface (MMI) control panel, the multifunction steering wheel or voice control. The parking assist takes over the steering when backing into detected parking spaces, either parallel or perpendicular to the road. This system finds parking spaces using ultrasound and when it detects a space of sufficient size, a message appears in the instrument display. The driver then simply puts the car in reverse and the park assist system steers while the driver only has to accelerate, shift gears and brake. 

The overall drive experience of the new A5 is impeccable. It is both elegant and sporty, and the petrol engine goes from zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. At the same time, it maintains a combined fuel economy somewhere around 6.0 litres per 100 km driven. Vorsprung durch Technik is the famous Audi philosophy, which means “progress through technology”. Starting at R623 000 for the base model, the new A5 looks set to challenge the stalwarts in this very competitive market segment.