Whether petrol or diesel’s your poison, neither stands head or shoulders above the other in accelerative terms and both offer more than enough performance to put the Sportback on a par with its rivals.
Quickest by a small margin is the 55 TFSI, which covers the industry-standard 0-62mph sprint in 5.3 seconds before eventually running into a 155mph limiter. The engine’s tone is predictably muted on the race to the red line, but the distant, cultured sound isn’t unpleasant and remains audible enough to let you know when the engine is working hard.
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The diesel is quieter still, but again its six-cylinder note sends the right messages to the driver without sending excessive vibration back to the cabin. Drop the hammer from a complete stop and you’ll pass 62mph in 5.7 seconds, again on the way to 155mph, but the diesel does its work with slightly less commotion.
In general day-to-day driving the diesel’s easy-going mid-range is quite an appealing characteristic, but if fuel costs aren’t a consideration the petrol is probably the more pleasant companion, still offering plenty of torque when you need it but also a smoother, more linear delivery than the diesel can manage. It feels a little keener off the mark too, which contributes to its more responsive feeling.