The old A5’s cabin wasn’t bad in any way, but this new one takes it back to the head of the pack
The Audi A5 Sportback has a well-built interior that’s made mostly of soft-touch, expensive-feeling plastics. All models come with an infotainment screen that sits proud of the dashboard and allows pretty trim pieces to take the place of ugly rows of conventional buttons.
SE models are the least expensive A5 models but you wouldn’t really know it because the flashes of chrome trim pieces scattered around the interior look expensive and the seats are upholstered in a mix of fake and real leather.
Sport models’ interiors look nicer thanks to their larger swathes of chrome and they come with LED interior lighting that illuminates the interior door handles, cup holders, centre console, as well as the front and rear footwells. They also have handy exterior lights that illuminate the sides of the car so you don’t accidentally step in puddles when you park up in the dark.
S line models have the sportiest interiors of all. They get ‘S’ embossed leather-Alcantara sports seats, door openings with ‘S’ illuminated kickplates, stainless steel pedals, brushed aluminium trim and a three-spoke sports steering wheel.
The Audi A5 has a smart looking interior that’s very well built. However, its back seats are squashed with three people and you need to pay for options to get the best from it
SE models get the same seven-inch MMI colour infotainment screen that’s fitted to the rest of the A5 Sportback range, but without sat-nav. It’s not a big issue though, because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated, so you can use the sat-nav app on your smartphone via the A5’s big screen.
The basic MMI system’s clearly laid out menus are easy to navigate and the control knob located between the two front seats makes it easy to use on the move.
Sport and S line models get essentially the same infotainment except with Audi’s own satellite navigation integrated into the system. It has 3D maps that are prettier than the ones provided by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it also gives you clearer directions for roundabouts and junctions.
The system comes with a free three-month subscription to Audi Connect Information, so you can use beautifully detailed Google Earth maps for navigation duties and also get 4G internet access via the car’s infotainment screen.
Nevertheless, it’s still worth upgrading to the MMI Plus navigation system, which comes as part of the £1,395 Technology Pack. Its 8.3-inch high-resolution screen looks more at home in the Audi’s plush interior, it has a faster processor that makes it quicker than the basic system and it includes dynamic route guidance, allowing the car to reroute around traffic jams on the fly.
The Technology Pack also includes Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit that replaces the conventional dials with a huge 12.3-inch screen that not only looks brilliant – particularly in full-screen map mode – but is also very functional. On top of that, the MMI control wheel gets a touch-sensitive top that means you can write in postcodes with your finger (easier to do if you’re left-handed), you get a three-year subscription to Audi Connect Information and wireless smartphone charging.
Unless you’re a committed audiophile the A5’s basic stereo should be more than adequate. It comes with nine speakers, a six-channel amplifier, a thumping subwoofer and a healthy 180W output.
If you like your music to be truly bone-jarring though, it’s worth considering the Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System, which has no fewer than 20 speakers – including two subwoofers – and a 755W output.
It costs £750 on its own, but makes more sense as part of the £1,295 Comfort and Sound Pack, which includes keyless entry, a handy rear-view camera and hill-hold assist that automatically operates the handbrake for smooth hill getaways.