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UK Drive: Can the Audi A5 Sportback build on the appeal of the coupe?

Reviews | Published:

The Audi A5 Sportback is there for those who don’t want to lose stylish looks in the quest for better practicality. But what is it like to drive? Jack Evans finds out

What is it?

The new A5 Sportback is for people who want all of the coupe looks without any of the coupe practicality drawbacks.

The A5 Sportback provides more practicality than the standard A5
(Audi)

With better access to the rear of the cabin thanks to an extra set of doors, as well as a more practical boot style, it’s ideal for people who want just a little more room. However, thanks to good build quality and a fine range of engines to choose from, it’s still very much a proper Audi product.

What’s new?

Of course, the biggest change with the Sportback over the regular A5 is the extra set of doors.

The A5 Sportback handles keenly
(Audi)

This gives better access to the rear of the car, but there’s not as much headroom because of a more sloping roofline than the previous-generation model. Under the bonnet sits a range of Audi’s latest engines, although our test car came with a 187bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel – likely to be one of the best sellers.

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What’s under the bonnet?

As mentioned, our car used a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel. Being a quattro model, power goes to all four wheels – ideal for UK drivers, particularly as the roads become greasier. A seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic sends drive to the wheels, and this can be left in full auto mode or controlled via paddles on the steering wheel.

The A5 Sportback offers a usefully large boot
(Audi)

It’s an efficient set-up, with Audi claiming that the diesel will return 62.8mpg and emit just 124g/km CO2 – ideal for business users or high-mileage buyers.

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What’s it like to drive?

It’s a predictably drama-free experience driving the A5 Sportback. The steering doesn’t offer a huge amount of feel, and although there’s plenty of torque to make merging on to motorways hassle-free, the engine doesn’t have a lot of character. Our only real complaint, though, is with the gearbox.

Despite being fine when up and running or travelling at speed, it struggles to react quickly enough when pulling away from junctions – and can leave you stranded helplessly waiting for the power to arrive. It’s annoying, particularly when driving around town. This can be addressed by putting the car into manual shifting mode but it shouldn’t really be necessary.

How does it look?

In our eyes at least, the A5 Sportback is a very good-looking car. Ours was an S Line specification, and that means it featured a lower ride height and larger alloy wheels, with both contributing to a lot of presence on the road.

Rear-seat legroom isn't too bad
(Audi)

The ‘Scuba Blue’ paint colour that it was finished in may have been a £550 option but it didn’t do the car any favours – a lighter shade or a more dramatic grey colour would likely give the car a bit more impact.

What’s it like inside?

As with the vast majority of current Audi vehicles, the A5 Sportback’s interior is a lovely place to be.

The A5 Sportback's interior is impressively well made
(Audi)

There are lots of high-quality materials used throughout, and everything feels very well screwed together. Our test car benefited from the manufacturer’s excellent Virtual Cockpit infotainment system, which replaces the traditional analogue dials with TFT screens and is capable of displaying information such as satellite navigation readouts and media functions. At £250, it’s an option well worth specifying.

What’s the spec like?

There’s quite a lot on offer as standard with the A5 Sportback. Our S Line test car featured 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and a full sports styling pack, as well as lowered sports suspension for a more dynamic drive. You also get electrically adjustable heated sports seats as standard, alongside Audi’s full navigation system. That said, our car was fitted with the optional Virtual Cockpit system which, at £250, is an option we’d thoroughly recommend specifying, as it transforms the overall experience inside the car.

The A5 Sportback features a variety of high-quality materials
(Audi)

Our test car weighed in at £42,310 which, given the level of equipment on offer, actually seems like a good deal – and you could drive this down by limiting the number of options you pick.

Verdict

The Audi A5 Sportback is a great option for those who want the looks of the regular A5 with an added level of practicality. It’s good looking, relatively involving to drive and offers low running costs, too. Go for the right specification plus a choice number of options and there’s little reason why you wouldn’t be pleased with the keys to an A5 Sportback.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: Audi A5 Sportback
Price as tested: £42,310
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel
Power (bhp): 187
Torque (Nm): 400
Max speed (mph): 146
0-60mph: 7.2 seconds
MPG (combined): 62.8
Emissions (g/km): 121

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