In peak shape

The new Audi A5 is a fusion of elegance and grandezza, dynamism and power that puts the fun into high-tech functionality. In the South Tyrolean Alps, the coupé shows the depth of emotion that Vorsprung durch Technik can evoke and where else compelling design reaches new peaks.

Patrick Morda, Birte Mußmann (copy) & Jens Rüßmann (photo)

A first cursory glance is all it takes to recognize the sporty elegance and driving po­tential in the coupé’s curves and contours. The new Audi A5 has grown 47 millimeters in length and 13 millimeters in wheelbase. At 1.37 meters, its height remains virtually unchanged. Together with the emphatically short overhangs, the result is a triumph of sporty proportions. Much of what made the first generation of the coupé a style icon has been retained and refined in the new Audi A5 Coupé. Take, for instance, the sharply drawn wave-like shoulder line whose three-dimensional feel now conjures a play with light and shade. This is perfectly complemented by the sweeping line above the wheel arches whose muscular flare hints at the optional quattro technology.

The short rear end of the Audi A5 has distinctly horizontal lines. Separate reflectors in the lower section of the rear spoiler emphasize the car’s broad stance. Its slim, 3D-shaped taillights are fitted as standard with LED technology and the third brake light extends the full width of the rear window. The redesigned front end of the new Audi A5 also sports distinctly horizontal lines that segue seamlessly into the finely contoured headlights, optionally available with Audi Matrix LED technology. These are now positioned slightly above the Singleframe grille, which is flatter, wider and similarly three-dimensionally sculpted.

Beneath the stretched wraparound hood beats the heart of the Gran Turismo: A new generation of TFSI and TDI engines generates more power compared with the predecessor model—between 140 kW and 185 kW—while fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 22 percent. This is helped by such enhancements as a body up to 60 kilograms lighter, a drag coefficient of 0.25 and a fine-tuned start-stop system that comes as standard. When the car approaches a red light, the start-stop system deactivates the engine as soon as the speed drops below 7 km/h (with S tronic transmission). Power is distributed to the wheels either manually via a six-speed gearbox or via the seven-speed S tronic. Audi quattro all-wheel technology is optionally available with the other power units.

As a first for the Audi A5 with manual transmission, the new quattro drive features ultra technology. It harnesses all the benefits of front-wheel drive whenever possible, but rear-wheel drive is permanently on call. To determine specific requirements, the system continuously records and evaluates a wide range of information one hundred times per second. The switch to all-wheel drive is triggered both predictively and reactively. During cornering, for instance, the control unit calculates what’s happening roughly 0.5 seconds in advance, basing its predictions on driving style, the status of the ESC stabilization system and the driving mode chosen with Audi drive select. Whenever a driving situation cannot be predicted—such as when the car suddenly hits sheet ice—the system switches to quattro all-wheel drive reactively.

E 46.676988°, N 11.116769°, ALT 379 m

Left: Forst special beer brewery in Algund, Merano. The company’s new brewhouse catches the eye with its unusual geometric shapes, transparent membranes and opaque elements—a mélange of concrete, steel and glass. This is a place where the traditional and the contemporary meet—the craft of brewing has been practiced here since 1857. Today, the brewery boasts state-of-the-art technology enveloped in cutting-edge design—by Walter Pichler & Partner.


Right: Embedding a large modern building harmoniously into a rural environment presents a major challenge. When it came to the design of its new brewhouse located near the town of Merano, Italian brewer Forst opted for a strident approach. The structure created by architects Walter Pichler & Partner stands out with its pointed geometric forms, which contrast sharply with the typical South Tyrolean landscape. Transparent elements modulate the monolithic rigidity of the walls. The use of transparent and non-transparent materials creates an exciting interplay of light and shade.

E 46.282576°, N 11.209267°, ALT 236 m

Left: Margreid fire station in South Tyrol. Black-coated steel blends with concrete and glass folding doors in a design penned by bergmeisterwolf Architects. The fire station creates the perfect backdrop for the balanced proportions of the Audi A5, its long hood, stretched wheelbase and short overhangs underscoring the coupé’s sporty credentials.


Right: Set into a high cliff wall, this contemporary fire station designed by bergmeisterwolf architects presents a striking contrast to the natural rock of the South Tyrolean mountains. Completed in 2010, the building’s facade consists of a black stained concrete wall. Two large portals set into the wall lead into the mountain, where raw nature meets pure, restrained design. This applies not only to the internal areas, whose cavernous impression is retained thanks to materials such as wood, glass and natural steel as well as pared-back furnishings, but also to the two-story glass cube housing the office and administrative section. The building relies on Mother Nature also in functional terms: The mountain keeps the enclosed building warm while ensuring that most of the heat radiates toward the front. This way, energy-efficient use is guaranteed.

E 46.585490°, N 11.633232°, ALT 1.221 m

Left: Just one glance at this building is enough to guess its purpose. Designed by bergmeisterwolf architects, the new building for woodcarver Ulrich Perathoner in Val Gardena in the Dolomites of South Tyrol looks from the outside like an unfinished wood sculpture. Its large triangular surfaces—some clad in wood, others glazed—allow plenty of daylight to enter the interior. The wooden sections of the exterior facades are clad with shingles, which give the impression of a rough-hewn piece of wood. Completed in 2012, the new structure was also designed to represent the tradition of woodcarving on the one hand and the timeless nature of the craft on the other.


Right: Ulrich Perathoner woodcarvings in Val Gardena. The extravagant design—likewise the work of bergmeisterwolf Architects—with shingles made of larch wood echoes origami but actually stands for the woodcarving craft practiced here for generations by the Perathoner family.

E 46.905296°, N 11.09732°, ALT 2.509 m

Left: Timmelsjoch Pass Museum by architect Werner Tschollcan be found on the High Alpine Road at an altitude of 2,509 meters. While the museum’s foundations stand on North Tyrolean soil, the rest floats 16 meters out over South Tyrol. Akin to an ice cave, the interior provides insights into the history of the pass road. The shape and color of the museum allow it to blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings.


Right: The Timmelsjoch is the deepest unglaciated trench in the main Alpine ridge between the Reschen and Brenner passes. Its highest point is crowned by the eponymous Pass Museum, which appears to hover in place. Open since 2010, the museum narrates the long history of the trading routes leading through the Timmelsjoch mountain pass. Ancient artefacts discovered in the vicinity indicate that people were using this route across the mountains as early as 300 BC. All of this is showcased in the interior with floor-to-ceiling glass formations onto which historic images are printed. Also of interest is that the building’s orientation reflects its cross-border geographical location. Whereas the foundations are clearly on the North Tyrolean side, the 16-meter-long cantilevered section juts clearly in the direction of South Tyrol—the home of supervising architect Werner Tscholl.

E 46.462385°, N 11.312557°, ALT 239 m

Left: Think Alpine houses, and a very specific image instantly springs to mind: Extensive use of wood with flower boxes on the balcony, combined with brightly colored window shutters. Architect Peter Pichler reimagines holiday homes as ultra-modern cubes that blend intelligently with their surroundings. Set amid apple orchards in Bolzano with the Dolomites beyond are the Mirror Houses—luxury holiday homes whose western facades consist entirely of mirrored glass. This renders the buildings all but invisible when viewed from this side, as they reflect nothing but the surrounding scenery. The black exterior of the side walls stands in stark contrast to the interior, which is painted white throughout. A special effect: When viewed from a distance, the cubes appear to float. This illusion is further emphasized at night by blue ground lighting.


Right: Mirror Houses in Bolzano. Contemporary architecture by Peter Pichler Architecture, planted in the heart of apple orchards. The guesthouses with a view of the mountains boast an impressive facade that reflects the surroundings like a giant projection screen, capturing the magnificence of not just the Dolomites but also the Audi A5 in every detail. The design marries straight and organically flowing lines.

The tour: 

on the move in the South Tyrolean Alps


The Audi A5 is not just a style icon, it’s a car designed to be enjoyed on the move. On our trip through the South Tyrolean Alps, the sheer feeling of freedom and independence it inspires is paired with an elegant athleticism. Crossing the Brenner Pass, the peaks of the Dolomites slowly come into view. They are arguably the most impressive part of the Alps region. Huge stone pinnacles with strange rock formations jut into the sky. The majestic line of peaks includes Marmolada, Schlern, Langkofel, the Sella group and the Drei Zinnen, the “three peaks.” Le Corbusier once dubbed the Dolomites the “most beautiful architecture in the world.”

Today, it would seem their imposing aura is a source of inspiration for more and more building owners as modern architecture—pioneered by Le Corbusier among others—increasingly finds its way into the Alpine region. Wood and stone are among the typical materials used in construction, along with steel, concrete and glass. Towns like Brixen, Bolzano and Merano in South Tyrol are good starting points to view such compelling feats of architecture. They include the Forst brewery with its new brewhouse, the Margreid fire station carved into the mountainside, the Perathoner woodcarving workshop decorated with shingles, the Mirror Houses and the Timmelsjoch Pass Museum in the shape of a larger-than-life glacial boulder.

Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TDI fuel consumption urban/extra-urban/combined (in l/100 km): 5.0-4.8/4.0–3.7/4.3–4.1. CO2 emissions combined (in g/km): 113–107. Audi Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TFSI fuel consumption urban/extra-urban/combined (in l/100 km): 7.6-7.4/5.2-4.8/6.3-5.9. CO2 emissions combined (in g/km): 144-136. Where stated in ranges, fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and efficiency classes depend on tires/wheels used.