In the middle of a winter that has already shown its fangs in that post-Storm Caroline ‘snow bomb’ that blanketed most of the country in sub-zero whiteness, I’m enjoying the toasty features that make the big Audi such a cosseting drive for the cold months. I have already penned my appreciation of the heated front seats and steering wheel. On a regular daily very-early-morning outing, we’re also grateful for the speed with which the Audi’s climate control cranks some warmth into the cabin, to soften the o-crack o’clock chill.
Actually, I reckon that’s something of a safety feature. Other cars with less efficient warm-up are a shivery distraction when you’re driving somewhere while you’re still barely awake. Warmth is a mood enhancer too. Just before Christmas, our household central heating system was playing up and then we had to summon an electrician to deal with an electrical fault. Result: cold house while it was being fixed. Suddenly, there were all manner of urgent trips I had to do in the Audi. It was nothing to do, of course, with the car being a warmer prospect than the house, and therefore seeming ñ at least temporarily ñ particularly inviting. No, honestly, they were all absolutely essential trips…
I know that this is a first world problem, but have you noticed how the list of things that are becoming must-have kit on any decently-equipped new car is steadily lengthening. Sybaritic seat heaters are so much appreciated that playing hunt-the-switches is high priority when you step aboard for the first time. A warmed steering wheel is fast zooming up the list too. Our editor was an early convert, but I’m now sold on it too. A navigation system, of course, is now such a seemingly essential feature that knowing how to use it on the move is now becoming part of the driving test.
But one thing I increasingly look for in any car I drive is navigation directions repeated in the space between the instrument dials, directly ahead of you in the driving seat. They’re a boon to reinforce the instructions displayed on the infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard. Many cars now have these straight-ahead repeaters, but Audi’s system is one of the best. I love having not just the simple monochrome turn directions shown through the steering wheel in an increasing range of other cars, but the full map view in pleasing colour.
However well a car drives ñ and the A5 Sportback drives like the beautifully engineered upper-crust German prestige model that it is ñ it’s the interior smooth-the-way features that strongly affect how much you like a particular model. Audi is good at those, and our big A5 is lavish in please-you details, and I’m a big fan.
Date arrived 8th September 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 52.5mpg (on test)
The A5’s winter friendliness as a cosseting transporter, as its swift and efficient climate control heats the car quickly on a chilly morning.
Rotary volume controller located to the left of the automatic gearbox lever, where it seems better suited to a left-hand-drive car than our Brit version.