Most coupe models are offered with either a 6-speed manual or Audi's new 8-speed Tiptronic automatic, but A5 Cabriolet models are only offered with the 8-speed or a Multitronic continuously variable (CVT) automatic. S5 Cabriolet models come with a quick-shifting 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic. Tiptronic-equipped cars feature manual controls to command shifts in hilly terrain or if needed for passing.
The A5 drives and rides like a comfortable grand touring coupe, yet has a responsive enough feel to satisfy most drivers who would rather have had a sports car. With the 2.0-liter engine, the A5 performs respectably, yet achieves an EPA rating of 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway. At the top of the line, the S5 coupe's V8 provides a completely different kind of experience, driving like a quiet, exceptionally refined version of a muscle car. Overall, the S5 handles like a smaller vehicle yet cruises in serene comfort.
Aiding handling is an optional sport rear differential, which controls torque distribution among the rear wheels and helps achieve more balanced dynamics; the system works together with the standard electronic stability control system. Four-wheel disc brakes with Brake Assist are also standard, as is a vehicle-speed-assisted Servotronic steering system.
Audi Drive Select, available in Prestige models, permits the selection of individual performance and handling profiles, including suspension firmness, and controls how the throttle and transmission respond.
A5 and S5 Cabriolet models come with a power soft top that can retract in just 15 seconds. By using a soft top, Audi was able to make more trunk space available. And by using a 3-layer top and glass rear window, the interior remains quite quiet. Cabriolet models get seat-mounted head/chest airbags, knee airbags and active roll bars located behind the seats. Also of note is that front occupants will stay comfortable even in chilly weather with the top down, thanks to head-level heating built into the seats.
The 2011 Audi A5 comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims. Premium models include a panoramic sunroof, heater mirrors and washer nozzles, leather upholstery, automatic climate control and cruise control, while Premium Plus models get a host of conveniences including xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, LED running lamps, tri-zone climate control, 6-step heated seats, iPod integration, Bluetooth hands-free calling and a HomeLink garage-door opener. Prestige models upgrade to memory power seat and mirror functions, an advanced key system for keyless entry and ignition, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio and voice-control navigation with Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI). S5 models are available in Premium Plus and Prestige only.
Top options include a Navigation Plus package on Premium Plus models, which adds MMI, voice controls, backup sensors, a rearview camera, and an in-dash nav system. On several of the models, a Sport Package brings unique 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires, plus a sport suspension and steering-wheel paddle-shifters. A Titanium Sport Package adds aesthetic and performance upgrades such as black window trim, titanium-finish wheels and the iconic black Singleframe grille. Inside, the package carries the performance look with a Piano Black inlay, black headliner and sport seats. A special tuned sport suspension improves handling.