Sunday, 16 December 2018

Smoothie star of the Audis

SUBTLETY of style is something the film actor Mickey Rourke finds deep down in his repertoire of parts.

SUBTLETY of style is something the film actor Mickey Rourke finds deep down in his repertoire of parts.

For Rourke, who has seen a revival of his career in recent years, this subtlety — it can be called a class act, if you like — was there long ago in Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish.

Rourke played a biker in from the coast with incredible finesse. And amazingly, in such a modern, commercial flick franchise as The Expendables with all the usual suspects including Sylvester Stallone at his monosyllabic best, Rourke again digs deep to give us what amounts to a classy cameo performance.

Audi, like Rourke in those moments of inspiration, is for me the classy performer in the array of car marques that daily strut their stuff on the public stage before us, whether in the media or on the road itself.

While other carmakers go out of their way to be in-your-face with manic ad campaigns and bizarre colour variants for their increasingly trinket-like models, Audi remains steadfastly calm and collected.

So collected in fact that prospective buyers might miss the point. We all know that some people like to look flash in cars and there are plenty of carmakers out there to satisfy these needs.

But Audis such as this week’s drive, the A5 Coupé 3.0 TDI quattro S line S tronic, reinforce yet again the German carmaker’s claim to be at the top of its game and played out without a hint of histrionics.

You see, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea to be so quietly confident in delivering a vehicle of sublime ambition but for me in a production model available admittedly at a premium price (this A5 comes in at over £42,000) the car ticks all those proverbial boxes.

I am a committed convertible man but the coupé version of the A5 has all the attributes of sport-inspired driving enjoyment right down to its racy, low S line looks, and its wide alloy wheels while maintaining the dignity of a prestige vehicle.

Its V6 3.0-litBy Nigel Wigmore

re diesel engine delivers cracking performance if you need it, yet the A5 is perfectly happy being sedate and serious if this is what is required. All this action is achieved by not shouting about it, or even driving a car that makes a lot of noise (which I am unashamedly a fan of in some sports supercars) but by an A5 quietly going about its business of delivering a first-class ride.

The Audi way is cool understatement and this A5 is no exception to the rule. Take the interior: the black fine nappa leather seats envelop you and support you but do not crowd you. You can emerge refreshed from a long journey and not with your health challenged, as is the case in some cars. From the outside the car has sweeping lines which contribute to the overall sports look but there is nothing aggressive about it.

The 3.0-litre TDI engine has been upgraded and goes from 0 to 62mph in 5.9 seconds. This is quick enough for anyone but the remarkable thing about the A5 is that its engine can still achieve nearly 40mpg on the combined cycle. As you would expect, you are not going to want for the latest technical innovations if you opt for them when buying any Audi.

Optional features on the A5 include a Bang & Olufsen audio system delivering 505 watts of music power via 14 speakers, the Audi Parking System Advanced with rear-mounted camera and Adaptive Light swivelling headlights for improved corner illumination. The DVD satellite navigation option is also offered with a new, Multi Media Interface (MMI) controlling the car’s infotainment systems.

So if it’s a stellar performance you want from a car — just as I’m always on the lookout for stellar performances from movie stars — the A5 could be the model for you. As with watching a movie, you will have go out and testdrive it yourself to find out.

* Model: A5 Coupé 3.0 TDI quattro S line S tronic

* Total cost of test model: £42,340

* CO2 emissions: 149g/km

* Tax band: F

* Colour: Ibis White

* Interior: Black fine nappa leather

Options include:

* Interior light package

* DAB digital radio

Technology package includes:

* MMI Navigation system plus

* Audi Music Interface

* Audi parking system plus

By Nigel Wigmore

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