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Audi finally gets around to building a new A5

Seriously, it felt like the last one's been around since 2007. Oh, wait, it has.

Audi

The 2017 A5 is a handsome, and ultimately safe upgrade over the previous model, which lasted the better part of a decade without much change.

Audi

The current A5, the one you see just about everywhere, marked the separation of Audi's small executive two-door from the A4 lineup, where it existed in convertible form only. Currently, the A5 is old news, having been around since 2007 or so. But now, there's a new one, and it's quite the looker.

In terms of style, if you've seen the 2017 A4, there isn't much that will surprise you here. The A5's headlights are more aggressive, the grille is a bit lower on the front end and the taillights are wider than before. The silhouette is similar from a distance, with most of its obvious changes taking place below the beltline. The hood looks significantly angrier, with strong lines running from front to back.

While it may look the same on top, Audi promises that the A5's chassis is all new. In fact, in creating the second-generation A5, engineers were able to ditch about 132 pounds of extraneous mass, which Audi claims makes it best in class. The wheelbase has been extended, as well.

Inside, Audi's excellent Virtual Cockpit makes its debut in the A5. Virtual Cockpit takes the pertinent information from the infotainment system -- navigation, maps, audio information, etc. -- and puts it right in front of your face. Like the 2017 A4, there's a redundant center screen so passengers won't have to shove their faces between you and the steering wheel. And, at long last, the A5's clunky dashboard has been slimmed down significantly.

While there's no word on what engines the US will get, Germany will get five different options for the A5, two of which are gasoline powered and three of which are diesel. Power ranges from 190 horsepower to 286 on the standard A5. There's even a six-speed manual available, although it's highly unlikely that will come Stateside. Seven- or eight-speed automatics are on offer, as well, depending on engine choice.

If speed is what you're after, you're probably more interested in the S5. The S5 rocks a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6, good for 354 horsepower. As one would expect with hopped-up Audis, the exterior and interior are just a bit angrier looking. Yet even with all that power, Audi claims the S5 will achieve up to 32.2 mpg on the European cycle. Regular A5 buyers can always opt for the S Line exterior package if you want the show without the go.

In terms of driver assistance, there's loads of it. Audi's given the A5 its stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, which takes over in traffic jams to give the driver one less thing to worry about. Parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning and traffic sign recognition are available, as well.

The 2017 Audi A5 launches in Europe this coming fall. No word yet on US availability or pricing.

Finally, Audi gets rid of that gargantuan instrument panel that made the old A5 (and makes the current Q5) feel a bit cramped.

Audi