IN my year at school, there were two twin lads. Let’s call them Tom and Ben.
I always felt sorry for Ben. He was the bookish one — tolerated rather than welcomed.
Cooler, slicker sibling of the Audi A4
His identical brother Tom wasn’t so good with the books but excelled at football, rugby and making girls laugh. He more or less ran the social groups. Despite being identical and cut from the very same cloth, Ben couldn’t help but live in Tom’s shadow.
I empathised. My older brother is five years my senior. He made sure I grew up knowing how to take an ass-kicking.
Then, when I was about 16, he went and joined the Paras.
Imagine that. Just as puberty was ready to reward my patience with the size and strength to show him what an ass-kicking felt like, he goes and becomes a trained killer in Her Majesty’s toughest military regiment (pipe down Royal Marines, it’s a motoring column).
Sculpted and muscular
Audi’s final launch of 2016 took place this week, for the A5 Coupe. This is the cooler, slicker sibling of the Audi A4. It’s the Tom to the A4’s Ben, the Para to the bruised younger brother.
Despite sharing the same DNA, the A5 is more handsome owing to its coupe styling. It has two doors and is sculpted and muscular, whereas the A4 is squared off.
Key facts: AUDI A5 COUPE
Engine: 2-litre diesel turbo
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
Length: 4.7 metres
Turning circle: 11 metres
It’s not as practical with two back seats rather than the A4’s three, but it has more street cred. Like a Para, the new A5 is incredibly lean.
Audi has managed to trim 60kg off its overall weight. It will now box off 0-62 in 7.7 seconds, while returning a claimed 70mpg.
Aggressive body contouring adds an extra dollop of athleticism
Bosses at Audi predict a bulk of sales — 19 per cent — will go to the entry-level 2.0TDI ultra Sport. Coming in at £36k, it’s not cheap for a two-door, but you’re getting a whole new A5 for that money.
On the outside, the A5 is longer than ever, with 13mm added to wheelbase. The grille sits lower, aggressive body contouring adds an extra dollop of athleticism and it has 17in wheels as standard.
On the road it feels calm and capable — the heavy-footed will be pleased with that 0-62 sprint time, but it doesn’t feel as exciting as the C Class Coupe or BMW 4 Series.
That’s because, unless you pay extra to have Audi’s Quattro system, the A5 is front wheel drive rather than rear wheel drive or AWD like its rivals. In the right hands you’ll still achieve some impressive lift-off oversteer, but it doesn’t scream “Let’s party” quite like the other Germans.
It doesn’t scream “Let’s party” quite like the other Germans
But if it’s thrills you’re after, Audi has something for that — the S5 Coupe.
The S5 is £47K worth of balls-out performance. Powered by a 3.0-litre, turbo V6, it slashes the 0-62 time to a blistering 4.7 seconds.
The turbos nestle on top of the V in the engine, reducing travel-time for the the power and producing almost no lag.
Audi is very proud the new range has class-leading boot space at 465 litres, but that’s a message which will be lost on its vanity-driven customers.
You’re not buying the A5 Coupe for practicality.
If it were me, I would still buy the more useable A4. There’s more for your money there, and looks really aren’t everything.
But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?