Audi A5 Sportback

Five-door, mid-size ‘best-of’ compilation

RYAN LEWIS

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

FUSE the best bits of Audi’s mid-sizers into one allrounder and you have the A5 Sportback. A versatile cocktail of passenger space and cargo room draped in and cargo room draped in dramatic, fastback styling. More than half of all Aussie A5 buyers have opted for the five-door variant since it was added in 2010, three years after the coupe.

Unlike the original, the secondgeneration A5 was developed with a Sportback in mind from the get-go. Less packaging compromise means the new car is better in every measurable way. Its beautiful bodywork sits atop the Volkswagen Group’s accomplished MLB platform and loses none of its appeal while accommodating a pair of extra doors.

Three variants make up the regular A5 range with a performance-minded S5 variant above. Prices start from $69,900 for the 140kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol front-drive, to $73,900 for a 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel quattro, and $81,500 for the 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol quattro, which should claim the bulk of sales.

The Sportback’s price premium may be hard to swallow if viewed as a stylised A4 sedan, but the liftback trumps both it and the A5 coupe by bringing genuine practical advantages. It has 24mm more legroom than the outgoing A5 Sportback, with help from a wheelbase 4mm longer than the A4 and 60mm longer than the A5 coupe. It’s wider in the back too, with a proper three-seat bench compared to a divided pair of back seats in the coupe.

A huge roof-hinged aluminium tailgate is now motorised, and lifts to reveal the same 480L boot space as before that grows to a larger, Avant-rivalling 1300L with all sections of the 40/20/40 split-fold backrest stowed.

Lightweight materials drop the Sportback’s overall weight by up to 80kg in the volume-selling 2.0 TFSI quattro that now sips a frugal 6.5L/100km.

Inside, the Sportback carries over elegant styling from the A4 and A5, including tactile touchpoints and an overall focus on quality. On the road it’s a composed and controlled drive. The 2.0-litre quattro offers reasonable driver involvement and torque delivery without stepping on the toes of its sportier S5-badged brother.

Sadly, adaptive dampers remain a $2210 option on all A5s and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission can’t match the seamlessness of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe’s eight-speed ZF auto.

That said, the A5 Sportback’s unique blend of style and substance is compelling next to other Audi B-segment models. It seems Ingolstadt’s niche-mining has struck gold.

Sharp suit

The faster, sharper S5 Sportback model now costs $105,800 – $17K less than before. Its new-gen 3.0-litre V6 turbo turns out 260kW/500Nm through a smooth eight-speed auto.

Standard kit has risen despite the price cut and includes adaptive dampers, heated, massaging sports seats, carbonfibre inlays, adaptive cruise, 19-inch wheels, red calipers and privacy glass.

PLUS & MINUS

Adaptive dampers optional; dual-clutch less polished than BMW ZF Designer looks; better packaging; solid dynamics; drivetrain choice

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 185kW @ 5000-6000rpm 370Nm @ 1600-4500rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1535kg 6.0sec (claimed) 6.5L/100km $81,500 Now