The Audi A5 Sportback fills the gap nicely between the Audi A4, on which it is based, and the larger A6. The five-door A5 blends style, practicality and youthfulness in what is a niche premium sector. Kerb appeal is demanded in this class and the five door Sportback, while not as sleek as the two door A5 Coupe is still pretty sharp. We’re testing the 2 litre TDI diesel A5 Sportback ’35’ this week.
Most people would say executive cars by their nature are limited in terms of practicality and mainly designed to carry four adults, a few briefcases and maybe some golf bats – and they would usually be right. But what about the executive who finds they need a new washing machine but can’t wait for a delivery slot – ‘Aha’ not so clever now are we? well yes if the A5 was a saloon but its a Sportback. With the split rear seat backs dropped down and the small parcel shelf removed the A5 converts in to a pretty cavernous van. I, eh… I mean the business executive came home feeling like a hero with a new machine in the rear of the Audi.
Audi makes very handsome and instantly attractive premium cars that are hard to fault. The brand is as guilty as any other car maker of shrinking and enlarging certain model’s shapes. The A5 with its practical load taking ability yet sleeker than an estate (Avant) looks lets it slot perfectly into Audi’s range of premium machines.
Inside, the cabin is a familiar friend so it is much like a posh VW Passat of sorts. You’re hands don’t have to stray too far to find VW family switchgear. The lovely surfacing of the larger A’s is missing due to this A5 generation’s lifecycle but the build quality is there in spades. misses out on the smooth surfacing of the latest Audis it is a well appointed interior. There is a large centre touch screen at the heat of Audi’s MMI and the driver’s display features analogue dials with digital inner displays. The centre console is old school indulgently wide and both front seat occupants have their own cabin of sorts.
Usually when I type the words ‘two litre four-cylinder diesel engine’ I can almost feel vibration and noise through my body – but the 150hp/320nm 35TDI does a remarkable job in the A5. The unit is smooth and feels well dampened in the German machine. On the open road the diesel cruises well and pulls strongly too. It does lack the urge necessary for more spirited driving and a firm right foot is needed at times for swift and safe overtaking.
The A5 Sportback starts from €48,590 (35TFSI). SE and the sportier S Line grades offer slightly different attitudes with the S and RS offering even more street presence. The engine range is limited to petrol and diesel. The S tonic (auto) 35TFSI petrol pushes out 150hp, the 190hp 40TFSI comes with a choice of either a manual or S tronic gearbox. Diesel starts with the 35TDI S tronic followed by a 40TDI with 190hp and in either two wheel drive or quattro all wheel drive. A number of value packs are available as options along with various wheel upgrades
As we are being pushed more and more to buy cars with lower emissions, making the right engine choice is the key decision potential buyers will need to make. High performance versions with S and the famed RS badge are available too for the more die hard enthusiast.
In the A5 Sportback whether with a washing machine in the rear or on my own taking the long route home, I felt content behind the wheel and you will too.