Stylish, comfortable, practical; a great – if pricey – premium hatchback
- Sleek styling inside and out
- Comfortable, high quality interior
- Practical boot and large hatchback
- Super-slick S Tronic automatics
- Strong petrol and diesel motors
- £3,000 more than similar A4
- Only a four-seater realistically
- Standard kit a little lacking
- S5 performance model underwhelming
Since the millennium Audi has tripled its range and the A5 Sportback is one of the newer models to arrive. Attempting to merge the sleek silhouette of a coupe, with the interior space of a saloon and the practicality of a hatchback, the A5 Sportback slots above Audi’s A4 – with a resultant hike in price.
This second generation model shares engines, interior and kit with the A4, but aims for a more upmarket feel, with its high quality interior, comfortable but sharp drive and steep pricing. At launch around £3,000 separated the five-door hatchback from the four-door saloon that spawned it.
With its genre-busting large luxury hatchback format, the Sportback has few rivals, though the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe targets exactly the same buyers. Aside from that, similarly priced upmarket alternatives include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and the Jaguar XF saloon.
Comfort, style and upmarket interior
The A5 Sportback is attempting to be all things to all people, with the promise of coupe style, hatchback practicality and impressive roadholding – plus the option of all-wheel drive across the range. Its BMW alternative, meanwhile, focuses on providing a sharper drive though it exactly matches the Audi for boot space.
The Audi also boasts a slicker interior than its rival, with plush materials and a slick media system that is navigated using a rotary controller mounted behind the gearstick, rather than a more distracting touchscreen interface. Comfort levels are high, too, as is refinement, making the A5 a great long-distance cruiser.
The pick of the A4’s engine range
Power for the A5 Sportback comes from a handful of 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre petrol and diesel motors. Most affordable of these at launch was the 190hp 2.0-litre diesel – available in front- and Quattro all-wheel drive form, followed by a 3.0-litre 218hp Quattro-only diesel.
Petrol choices include a Quattro-only 252hp 2.0-litre and the range-topping all-wheel drive 354hp 3.0-litre S5 performance model. All versions come with a standard-fit seven-speed twin-clutch automatic bar the 190hp front-wheel drive diesel models that feature a six-speed manual as standard. The S5, meanwhile, gets a conventional automatic with eight gears.
Most frugal is the 190hp diesel in automatic form, which returns claimed fuel economy of nearly 70mpg and low enough official CO2 emissions to fall into the £20 car tax band for models registered before April 2017. At the other end of the range the S5 can sprint to 62mph in a rapid 4.7 seconds, though in return claimed economy drops below 40mpg.
Three trim levels are available – alongside the S5 – SE, Sport and S Line. Standard kit includes niceties such as heated front seats and front and rear parking sensors, though sat-nav is notable by its absence. Thankfully Sport includes this, though if you want sporty styling, firmer suspension and grippy sports seats you’ll need to pay more for S Line.
With decent refinement, impressive muscle and the prospect of 60mpg+ economy, it’s the front-wheel drive 2.0-litre diesel models that make the most sense.