What do you do if an Audi A5 coupe is too impractical and the A4 saloon too common? Well, Audi answered that question with the original A5 Sportback in 2009 with a long roofed, five-door variant of the handsome coupe. The concept obviously caught on as Audi has now launched a second generation A5 Sportback based on the all-new coupe.
Boasting a 60mm longer wheelbase as compared to the coupe and convertible variants, the Sportback is designed to offer similar rakish looks in a more practical package. In conjunction with the 2-door, the new Sportback offers the same core upgrades, including a reduction in weight, more efficient engines and a new interior.
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Audi A5 Sportback: in detail
- Performance and 0-60mph time > The A5 Sportback shares its engine and gearbox choices with the coupe and convertible. Performance ranges from adequate to brisk, but if you want more punch you'll have to plump for the S5 Sportback.
- Engine and gearbox > Diesel engines feature heavily, with current options including two, 2.0-litre turbo diesels, a 3.0-litre turbo diesel and a sole 2.0-litre turbo petrol option. Transmission choices are between 6-speed manual or 7-speed S-Tronic.
- Ride and Handling > Available with front or all-wheel drive, the A5’s handling competency is dependent on specification, but overall is solid and confidence inspiring if a little bland.
- MPG and running costs > Typically for a car aimed at company car buyers, MPG and CO2 ratings are very good, with the most frugal 2.0 TDi ultra only producing 106g/km, but the faster you want to go, the bigger the tax and fuel bills.
- Interior and tech > This is where Audi really gets into its stride. Shared with all A4/5 models, the interior is a masterclass in solid, efficient design, although it can come across as a bit sterile in some specifications. Tech is also top notch, with Audi's Virtual Cockpit available as an option.
- Design > The reason anyone would go for an A5 Sportback over an A4 is the design, so it's crucial that Audi not screw up the look of the new one. Thankfully the new car has translated the coupe's lines onto its proportions better than the old car.
Prices, specs and rivals
Prices for the A5 Sportback start at £32,965 for a basic SE 2.0 TDi ultra with a 6-speed manual. All A5s are reasonably well equipped, boasting tri-zone climate control, Xenon headlights, heated leather seats, a 7-inch infotainment system with smartphone mirroring, 17-inch alloy wheels and a powered tailgate. There are some obvious specification gaps like embedded satnav and adaptive cruise control, but these features and many more are available in Audi’s expansive (and expensive) options list.
More popular versions, like the S-tronic equipped 2.0 TDi with the S-Line package start at a steeper £37,445, but you also get sportier styling, LED headlights, bigger 18-inch wheels and embedded satnav among other things. If you want the more relaxed 3.0 TDi quattro S-Line it will set you back £40,690, while petrol buyers will shell out a similar £40,410 for a 2.0 TFSi quattro S-Line.
The A5 Sportback may inhabit a pretty slim niche, but that doesn’t mean it has the playground to itself. BMW’s 4-series Gran Coupe, at this stage, has a wider variety of drivetrain options, with equivalent models priced very closely. Expect to pay more for an equivalent quattro model as compared to a rear-wheel drive 4-series, although the prices even up again when you specify xdrive on the BMW.
The BMW is the more dynamic choice, but despite a recent facelift, its familiar face and interior lack the fresh look and feel of the A5. Volkswagen’s upcoming Arteon 4-door coupe will be a threat when it’s released later in the year too.
Those willing to look at saloon options also have ubiquitous rivals like the Mercedes-Benz C-class, Jaguar XE and new Alfa Romeo Giulia to choose between, all offering strong value propositions against the rakish A5. For contextual purposes, an equivalent A4 saloon may look a little less distinctive, but it does represent a saving of approximately £4000.