- The Audi A5 has a relatively short list of problems for a luxury vehicle
- The vehicle can burn oil excessively and might have problems with start/stop tech.
- The timing chain can also break
- Some owners are advised to replace the water and coolant pump before they fail
- Get your potential Audi A5 inspected before buying it.
The Audi A5 is a beautiful, modern sports sedan. Are there many problems with the Audi A5 that would make people avoid it?
The Audi A5 is a fairly solid, reputable vehicle and is worth buying. The primary problem most drivers experience with the Audi A5 is excessive oil consumption. The A5 also has the potential for issues with the timing chain. Regular maintenance and engine management are needed.
We’ll go into a bit more detail about what makes the Audi A5 special. We’ll also talk about problems we’ve researched with the Audi A5 and what makes the vehicle worth buying.
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Audi A5 Specs
The Audi A5 is a performance coupe, and can often include a hardtop convertible. The A5 is a relatively small vehicle powered by the powerful Audi 2.0 turbocharged engine, making it a reasonably quick vehicle. You’ll also get Audi’s renowned suspension which will make highway and city driving a fun breeze, in addition to their Audi Quattro All Wheel Drive system which makes for exceptional performance even in snow and rain.
We will say some of the issues discussed when talking about the Audi A5 will be a matter of opinion. Higher end vehicles tend to have unique problems - and some of them are more about how people want a vehicle to perform versus the reality of performance.
Audi A5 Problems
One of the most common problems we see across nearly all performance vehicles whether they are from BMW or an Audi A5 is an issue with oil consumption. The culprit is actually fairly simple: vehicles with more complicated turbocharged engines like the Audi A5 burn oil faster because they get hot. When they get hot, the tolerances within the gaskets and rings loosen a bit - and believe us, it doesn’t take much for oil to start seeping through at unexpected times.
Fortunately, you’ll likely get an engine management warning light or a low oil warning light because any catastrophic engine failure happens. Our suggestion is to take your Audi A5 in for an oil change as prescribed in the manual. You might also want to bring an extra quart or two with you in case you notice you are getting a little low.
The coolant pump is a rather important piece of equipment that helps circulate coolant and water through the Audi A5’s engine. In an Audi A5, the coolant pump has the possibility of having a problem, causing the vehicle to not send the proper amount of coolant throughout the cooling system. This, along with the water pump, will need inspection and probably replacement during the life of the vehicle, just to make sure that they don’t have a larger problem and cause the engine to overheat.
Generally speaking, keep an eye on your coolant levels especially once your Audi A5 starts to age. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge too.
If the coolant pump can go south quickly, you might expect the water pump to potentially have the same problem - and you’d be right with the Audi A5. The water pump has the potential to fail a bit early on the Audi A5. One suggestion we read about is to replace the water pump if the engine is torn apart for another reason, on the basis that you’ll only have to pay for the labor of the engine being basically disassembled once instead of doing it multiple times. Replacing the water pump when you get the chance will also lower your chances of catastrophic engine failure at some point - because just like coolant, the water pump needs to be working constantly in order to prevent the Audi A5 from overheating.
Audi is subject to a class action lawsuit for penalties involving the timing chain – a critical engine part that controls the timing of rods and pistons - suddenly failing. The harder part of the timing chain issue in this scenario is that normally a mechanic or even a driver can tell when the timing chain is frayed or becoming a problem.
While many vehicles have been subject to an airbag recall in the last several years - especially those made by Takata, the Audi A5 has a rather unique problem here. Apparently within the Audi A5, the passenger occupant detection system would experience a problem in which its connection to the seat is broken by the seat heater. The larger problem here is that the lack of connection means that the seat no longer attempts to turn the airbag on when a passenger is seated.
Thankfully, Audi knows about this issue and has issued a recall to fix it.
Start and Stop Issues
Start and stop refers to the Audi A5’s ability to cut the engine while sitting at a stoplight. The primary purpose is to save on some fuel and reduce emissions. However, the A5 can cut out a little bit too early - or be slow to have the engine and other power controls turned back on. For example, if trying to turn, the A5 might not have the power steering turn on immediately, making it very difficult to turn the wheel while moving.
This problem is a little scary - though easily fixable because it could happen whenever the start and stop system engages while in traffic.
Trim Making Noise
One of the ironies about owning what amounts to a luxury vehicle is that driver’s expect the vehicle to be serene and quiet. A typical passenger vehicle isn’t all that quiet, especially while going fast or on bad roads, so you don’t really notice that the interior rattles. The A5 is quiet enough that some drivers have noticed squeaking and rattling within the dashboard.
Is the Audi A5 worth buying?
In our opinion, the problems we presented aren’t all that bad for a performance vehicle. While Audi A5 problems are certainly there, we’ve heard far worse complaints, and Audi seems capable of taking care of the problems at the dealership level. In fact, as far as we can tell, the oil issues with the A5 are less prevalent than oil issues on competitive BMW and Mercedes-Benz models that are also coupes with a hardtop. This in itself might be of comfort to drivers who don’t want to be alarmed by low oil lights coming on - and they might find the Audi A5 a little more lenient.
Get the Audi A5 Checked out by a professional
You might know a thing or two about cars, but it is always worth getting a second opinion about any vehicle, especially a luxury or performance vehicle. Why? Because they are more expensive to repair than the average vehicle.
Get an inspection on the Audi A5 that you like. We will say this about every vehicle out there, whether you are buying it from a dealership or from a private party - the dealership doesn’t take a look at every possible detail on the vehicle because their inspection doesn’t often require it - and a private seller might not even know.
While a good pre-purchase inspection might cost you a couple of hundred dollars, it can save you thousands down the road. The results of an inspection can give you an obvious opening to walk away from a vehicle, the reassurance that the vehicle is well maintained or could even give you the info needed to negotiate the price down.
Still, an Audi A5 is a dream car for many and the problems are relatively small. We would definitely say it is worth buying as the A5 is unlikely to literally fall apart for no reason - though you can recognize that you should maintain the vehicle according to the schedule provided to reduce the chances of large issues popping up unexpectedly. Performance vehicles are more expensive to maintain because they tend to have more expensive parts and higher priced labor to disassemble more complex engines.
About The Author
Matt is a VW Master Technician since 2009 after proceeding through the ranks as a Team Leader and Shop Foreman. He has developed software to increase car dealership efficiency, managed 10+ techs, and instructed students at multiple high-performance driving events since 2011. He is also the lead mechanic, engineer, and driver for Blue Goose Racing.Read More About Matt Meurer