November 15, 2015
I took ownership of my new 2016 A5 two weeks ago and so far I like the car. My brother in-law was a long-time BMW driver and I was more of a Mercedes person, owning two C class cars in a row. We both ended up driving Audis, and I think that Audi must be doing something right.
What I like:
- Acceleration - waaaay better than of the 3L 6 cylinder C300, and I had both a manual and an automatic
- Leather seats without paying extra
What I am neutral about:
- Gas mileage (better than any other car I owned since my 1995 A4 1.9 TDI), but not really that great
- The basic audio system is ok, but does not blow me away. The subwoofer does not deliver.
What I dislike:
- The doors open in 2 positions - one too narrow to get out with ease and the other one too wide for garages.
- The car does not look it, but it is tough to clean. Doing a proper chamois job took 3 times as long as on the C300. You really need to blow-dry the A5. I used compressed air to blow the water out of all the nooks and crannies. The plastic inserts in the back and on the front grill seem to retain a lot of water, and so does the window trim.
- The MMI system's user interface is an example of how not to do it. It looks like some of the apps use completely different UI metaphors and that their integration lacked adult oversight. As a result, I find myself searching for certain functions over and over again. There are 14 knobs and buttons on the center console. The Comand system in the Mercedes has 3 and is so much more intuitive. Functionally, is mostly does what I need, with a few exceptions (e.g. Bluetooth Audio does not work well with my Nexus 5).
- The red illumination on the controls is difficult to read at night for a 50+ year old.
- I the rain-sensing wipers and auto-dimming rear-view mirror - my A5 did not come with either option.
- The on-board Wifi (AT&T) has poor transfer rates. I get much more reliable audio streaming with my Nexus 5 over the T-Mobile network. There is not a chance I pay for this service once the free 6 months are over.
- The combination of the start-stop button, the ignition switch, and the electronic parking break is confusing. It is possible to apply the parking break without turning on the ignition, for example when you forgot to put the car in gear and it rolls back. But you can't disengage the break without the ignition being on. The car turns the headlights off when you stop the engine to save gas at a red light. Etc etc. All not though-out very well and I find myself wishing for a mechanical break and ignition key.
In closing, the Audi seemed to have the best overall value, compared to the 2016 model lineup of other brands. I was very disappointed with the performance and gas mileage of the 4 cylinder engine in the new C class, for example. The Audi's ride on the other hand is responsive and inspired and it get by with less. The electronics are a bit quirky and I decided to put up with that. The A5 is not a slam-dunk recommendation, but rather a personal choice after a long decision-making process. Not a bad choice, though, I am quite happy I got one.