The coupe body style is one that usually brings out the more glamourous designs in the car world, but there is one major problem with many of them – they are pretty impractical.
So, what if you want coupe-like looks but the practicality of a saloon? Well, you opt for a Sportback and this is Audi’s mid-size version – the A5 Sportback.
Originally unveiled in 2007, the second generation A5 was released at the tail-end of last year and comes in both the coupe and Sportback styles.
But with the extra set of doors at the back and slightly more space, does the A5 Sportback maintain the sporty characteristics of its coupe sibling? We found out…
Our test car came with a 2.0-litre, 187bhp diesel engine, as well as Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There are also four other power options – one petrol and three fellow diesel units. Each unit is available with quattro, and three transmission options are offered – a six-speed manual, and either a seven- or eight-speed automatic.
Acceleration to 60mph can vary from 9.0 seconds to 6.0 seconds depending on which one you choose, with the one we tested capable of the 0-60mph sprint in 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 146mph.
If you get the diesel models there’s a lot of torque too, and for cruising this vehicle is more than good enough on motorways for fuel efficiency and comfort.
Ride & Handling
Audis have got a reputation of being stable and zero-fuss on the road, and the A5 Sportback continues that trend. Although it may not offer the most invigorating or emotion-filled drive, it is easy to use and is very comfortable in most circumstances.
There isn’t a great amount of steering feel though, but it offers just enough so you can put together some fast corners on a twisty road. As you would expect with premium Audi models, it cruises well on the motorway, and with the help of a boot-full of torque and the quattro system you can manoeuvre through traffic without much difficulty.
The A5’s one major flaw, however, is the automatic gearbox as it doesn’t feel particularly sharp when getting away from a standstill. This can become very irritating in slow, urban traffic. You can switch to manual shifting with the paddles behind the wheel, but most of the time you can get away with it.
Interior & Equipment
As with most other Audis, the A5 Sportback comes well equipped and excellently finished. The one we had for testing came with the S Line trim, which means it gets a full leather interior, three-spoke leather steering wheel and stainless steel pedals. This version also had the brand’s Virtual Cockpit display fitted as an optional extra.
Other features include a seven-inch infotainment display, air conditioning, heated front seats, daytime running lights, cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels and sport suspension. All versions of the A5 come with the majority of these accessories as standard – meaning plenty of bang for your buck.
Interior space is very good too, with plenty of legroom in the back for most passengers. But the roofline to slope quite a lot at the rear, so taller passengers may feel cramped. The overall environment though is very good and everything feel very well built to stand up to everyday wear and tear.
Prices for this mid-size coupe start from £32,695 and when put up against its competitors, this doesn’t appear too bad at all. The BMW 4 Series is £500 cheaper from initial spec, but doesn’t come with the same finish as the A5, while the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is just over £1,000 cheaper, but again doesn’t offer as good a level of equipment and finish as the Audi.
If you choose any of the diesel units, you should expect to do in excess of 50mpg, as quoted figures for all diesel engines are all above 55mpg – so fuel costs should be kept down. Even the higher-powered petrol can achieve over 45mpg, but won’t be as frugal if you need to do long-range driving.
Although Audi models may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they still perform to a high standard. The A5 Sportback is no exception and although its rivals may have a lower starting price, it competes thanks to its excellent equipment, more-than-liveable driving feel and rather economic diesel units. The auto box may not be the best, its looks may not excite and neither might the drive – but it can be said that it does its job as an executive coupe very well, and should be highly commended for that.