Engine and gearbox
The core powerplant in the A5 line-up, be it it in two door coupe or five-door Sportback form, is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel producing 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Even if the trend today is to give diesel a kicking, this engine and the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is expected to make up the bulk of A5 sales.
You can certainly see the appeal, with a claimed fuel consumption of 67.3mpg (in the real world if you see anything in the 50s you’re doing well) and 109g/km of CO2. It’s a smooth unit and masks the fact it’s a diesel incredibly well, with next to no clatter at start up and whisper quiet when up and running.
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The heart of the engine’s performance is in the mid-range from 2000-4000rpm where the torque swells and rushes you along. The optional seven-speed gearbox does a great job of being in the right gear at the right time but it’s constantly working to do so. Change gear yourself with the paddles and you soon get bored of flicking your left or right fingers to keep the engine on the boil.
Better, then, to make the switch to the 2.0 TFSi petrol engine. The hard numbers are 249bhp, and 273lb ft available from 1600rpm – that’s diesel engine levels of peak torque rpm. With the standard seven-speed double-clutch gearbox the 1535kg Sportback will reach 60mph in six seconds and through the mid-range it not only feels quicker than the diesel, but is quicker by up to two seconds between 30-70mph. And since it's not a diesel, it continues to rev beyond 5000rpm providing a wider operating window from which to extract the performance on offer.
As well as being quicker than the diesel and a far nicer engine to engage with and work harder, it’s also more refined, quieter and more responsive to throttle inputs, with less of a delay with you leave the gearbox in auto and ask it to kick down. To top it off, we managed low 40s mpg on a test route that saw the TDI engine record low 50s.