By Nigel Wigmore
AUDI is moving at a pace into 2020 with upgrades to the popular A5 range — the Audi A5 Sportback, A5 Coupé and A5 Cabriolet.
This week’s drive, the A5 Sportback 40 TDI quattro Black Edition S tronic, displayed all the attributes of a car that is seriously moving with the times.
So, the A5 range has a new look, new mild hybrid drivetrains and the latest MMI touch-operating concept.
For example, at the top of the Coupé and Sportback line-up, new S5 variants come on stream using TDI power for the first time.
TDI, meaning “Turbocharged Direct Injection”, describes turbocharged diesel engines that have direct fuel injection.
This is combined with an electric powered compressor and mild hybrid drive based around a 48-volt main electrical system.
The updated Audi A5’s exterior has been “significantly revised”, particularly the front end.
The honeycomb grille is wider and flatter, and above it ventilation slits reference the classic Audi Sport quattro from 1984.
New car buyers will have a choice of 12 paint finishes for the A5, including a new, metallic shade district green.
All body and engine variants in the A5 product line will come with
LED headlights as standard equipment.
Again, in keeping with this brave new automotive world, Audi also offers with this range Matrix LED headlights and Matrix LED headlights with laser light and dynamic light sequencing. They are both combined with dynamic front and rear indicators, depending on the model version.
As always with new Audis, the car I have been driving was bristling with new technology — a definite sign of even finer things to come as we race into 2020.
It was comfortable and quick and assured on the road and its technological equipment was first rate.
There was a large MMI touch display, the control centre of the new operating system, and the focal point of the instrument panel.
Based on the third-generation modular infotainment platform MIB 3, it offers a user experience similar to a smartphone via a 10.1- inch touch display with acoustic feedback, which replaces the rotary pushbutton used in previous models. With clear graphics its MMI search
and rapidly returns relevant hits; it also responds via natural-language voice control.
The top of the line MMI navigation plus infotainment control centre will be a standard feature of all A5 models in the UK.
Its new functions make navigation more straightforward, says Audi, including the ability to suggest routes based on routes previously driven.
Audi connect infotainment services are installed on an upgradable three-month subscription basis, bringing web- based features such as news, Google Earth mapping and Street View and flight, weather, traffic and fuel pricing information.
The Audi connect plus portfolio includes a host of additional Car-to- X services, taking advantage of the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.
They include online traffic sign and hazard information, an on- street parking search function and newly introduced traffic light information functionality. It connects the car to the city’s central computer that controls the traffic lights.
The all-digital Audi virtual cockpit plus is another standard feature of the latest UK A5 models that underscores their impressive
technological emphasis. The driver can operate the 12.3-inch display with full HD resolution using the multifunction steering wheel with a choice of three views.
A head-up display that projects important information into the driver’s direct field of view is also optionally available.
The updated Audi A5 models will be available in Europe with a range of TFSI and TDI engines with outputs ranging from 163PS to 347PS. Four A5 engine variants will be equipped with a mild hybrid system (MHEV). A belt alternator starter, which is connected to the crankshaft, recovers energy during deceleration and stores this in a compact lithium-ion battery.
With the four-cylinder engines, the MHEV system is integrated into the 12-volt electrical system, while the S TDI models use a new 48-volt main electrical system.
All A5 models are equipped with an automatic transmission, either a seven-speed S tronic or an eight- speed tiptronic. The three most powerful engines in the range work with quattro drive as standard and the system is also available as an option for the mid-range units.
The suspension in all A5 models has been tuned with an underlying emphasis on comfort but also an appropriately sporting bias.