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Audi unveils 2017 A5 and S5 Coupes; duo brings new styling and technology to luxury coupe segment
When Audi first unveiled the A5 coupe back in 2005, it took pride in creating a vehicle that revolutionized the mid-size coupe segment; then it added newfound levels of performance and flair with the S5 coupe. The 2017 Audi A5 and S5 coupes (first teased by Audi a few weeks ago) bring new levels of technology and refinement to the familiar coupe and serve as the next chapter of the A5's life.
The exterior styling of the A5 was designed to be less rounded than its predecessor with Audi designers opting for a careful evolution versus an outright redesign. This is apparent with the front fascia which is sharper-looking than before and allows the coupe to fall in line with the brand's current design language. However, the side profile largely mirrors the previous generation model and tapers out to a lightly tweaked rear end. This subtle blend of old and new should not only please loyalists that first fell in love with the A5, it should help bring in a new wave of younger buyers who want a sharp-looking coupe that looks fresh and modern.
The interior of the A5 carries over many of the traits that first made their debut on the 2017 A4 sedan. This means that it comes packed with more technology and luxury than before, and buyers will appreciate the extra space that the cabin provides, especially in head and leg room. As is the case with some of its other models, the analog instruments can be replaced with Audi's optional "Virtual Cockpit system." Essentially a set of virtual gauges, the system allows drivers to have access to more vehicle information than before while allowing them to configure the display to suit their driving needs. The center dash also features a big touchscreen that runs the built-in infotainment system as well as the climate system which helps reduce button clutter and improve vehicle ergonomics.
However, it is beneath its sculpted sheet metal that the bulk of the updates are located. The 2017 A5 is built on Volkswagen's all-new MLB vehicle platform, the same platform that also sees duty in the Q7 and A4 sedan; it promises to help the A5 shed precious weight while improving handling characteristics. Performance for U.S. grade A5 comes exclusively from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which is good for 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. This is a stark contrast to the Euro-spec A5 which will offer five different gasoline and diesel options for buyers. Unlike the 4-Series and The E-Class Coupe, which embrace rear wheel drive platforms, the A5 will soldier on with front-wheel drive as standard equipment. However, buyers who live in snowier climates can equip their cars with the optional Quattro all-wheel drive system.
Regardless of which configuration is chosen, the A5 will have the familiar eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. While the lack of a formal manual gearbox may sour the mood of driving purists, the dual clutch is a very slick transmission in its own right and should still be a rewarding component for drivers looking to push the A5 to its limits through sharp turns and acceleration-friendly straightaways.
Meanwhile, the 2017 S5 has also seen its fair share of updates. It raises the performance ante, thanks to a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 which delivers 354 horsepower and a 0-to-60 time of 4.7 seconds when properly equipped. The S5 also features a revised suspension which works together with the MLB platform to help button down body roll and allow the car to track better when pushed through hard corners. The interior will also embrace the performance theme; it come equipped with model-exclusive features such as supportive performance seats, new interior trims, and other touches that allow it to stand out from its more pedestrian-looking cousin.
Look for the 2017 A5 and S5 to go on sale before the end of the year. The pricing for the A5 coupe begins at $41,200, the A5 cabriolet at $48,600; the S5 coupe kicks off at $53,100 while the S5 cabriolet starts at $61,100.
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