Before you discount Audi's A5 2.0 TFSI quattro as a small-engined base model (which it essentially is), consider the upsides. Most patently, at $79,900 it undercuts the V6 FSI quattro by nearly $20K.
And, if a four seems a couple of pots short of a proper sports coupe donk, factor in this particular powerplant's ability to lay on 350Nm of turbo-assisted twist from 1500 to 4200rpm. Zero to 100 kays in 6.5 seconds and combined cycle economy of 7.5L/100km are two figures that attest that the entry-level A5 stacks up rather well against its direct Deutsch competitors. Take, for example, BMW's 325i Coupe (6.9sec/ 8.4L/100km), or Mercedes' CLK200K (9.9sec/9.1L/100km).
In its freshen-up, the venerable Audi/VW 2.0-litre turbo gains a larger air-to-air intercooler and various friction minimising internal tweaks.
And, once it has filled its lungs, the forced four provides evidence to support the spec-sheet story, delivering seamless thrust from low in the rev range, overlaid by a tuneful tailpipe note and turbo whoosh.
The 2.0 TFSI debuts the dual-clutch 'box in A5, and the seven-speed S-tronic 'box marks clear progress in terms of shift smoothness and throttle tip-in response. Normal driving sees 60 percent of grunt sent rearwards via a mechanical centre diff, though rear bias can increase to 85 percent.
However, by far this A5's biggest drawcard is that by slotting a four in place of the V6, its MDS platform can finally live up to the claims it would banish Ingolstadt's long-standing nose-heavy tendencies. The big coupe's steering remains light and accurate, if slightly inert, but the A5 now turns in with vigour and offers front-end grip that you can confidently lean on.
Better still, tick the $5850 S-Line package (sports suspension, 18s, sports seats...) and be absolutely certain you've bought the driver's A5.
Engine 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo
Max Power 155kW @ 4300-6000rpm
Max Torque 350Nm @ 1500-4200rpm
Transmission 7-speed dual clutch
0-100km/h 6.5sec (claimed)
On sale Now
Who do you think deserves to win the 2017 COTY title? Cast your vote for a chance to win $1,000.