Sportback is the name for Audi’s sedan with coupe-like styling that features a hatch to access the cargo space. Audi developed it on the midsize A5/S5 model line a little more than a decade ago, but it is just now arriving on U.S. soil.
The A5 (and its sportier S5 counterpart) begins life as coupe and cabriolet models. Following success on the larger A7 lineup, the luxury German marque chose to bring this styling and capability to the midsize A5 nameplate. The Sportback design brings a swooping roofline to the rear of the vehicle while also adding a pair of doors to the rear sides making it a great choice for those who carry more than one passenger often. Sportback is offered on A5 and S5 models, and it features the newest look for the brand as well as all of its safety, technology, craftsmanship, and quality.
Our recent A5 Sportback tester was powered by the 2.0T engine, a turbocharged four-cylinder displacing 2.0-liters and producing a fun 252hp and 273 lb. ft. of torque. We found this to be more than enough power for all of our driving situations which included fun runs on twisty roads and wide-open spaces. The S5 variant uses a turbo V-6 engine for even more performance. Our 2.0T is mated to a smooth shifting seven-speed S tronic dual clutch automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters and manual shift sport mode. All new A5 Sportback models arrive with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive technology and wheel selective torque control for maximum traction and handling. And believe me, this baby handles.
The Audi A5 rides on five-link independent front and rear steel spring suspension systems (with sport suspension upgrade available) and it stops on a dime thanks to beefy ventilated front and rear disc brakes. Eighteen-inch wheels and tires are standard but our review unit came rolling in on some very stylish 19-inch multi-spoke design line wheels with summer tires (and that sport suspension upgrade for added driving excitement). That quattro AWD I mentioned splits power 40:60 front to rear and features torque vectoring so power can be utilized at the tires that are sticking to the road surface the best at any given time.
Inside is a great drivers environment with cockpit-style seating. Four adults will ride in comfort (it seats up to five), but the driver seat is the place to be. The new Audi virtual cockpit allows for reconfiguration of the driver’s information video display where the gauges normally are, and I found myself placing the navigation map on this screen most often. There are still tachometer and speedometer displays, but they are reduced in size and moved to the bottom outside corners so as to interfere with the map minimally. The list of creature comforts in the new Audi A5 is lengthy, but one of my favorites in our tester was the Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system upgrade that makes it seem as if you are sitting in the studio with the musicians.
Some of the other amenities in the A5 Sportback include leather seating surfaces, power sunroof, power rear hatch, LED interior lighting, 3-spoke multi-function leather steering wheel, rain and light sensor, and MMI multi-function interface. Safety technologies include electronic stability control with sport mode, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system, pre sense basic preventative occupant protection, pre sense city low speed collision assist, and electronic vehicle immobilization. Audi also added MMI Navigation with MMI touch, parking system plus, side assist with pre sense rear, and a few other little items.
Pricing for the 2018 A5 Sportback begins at $42,600 with our tester arriving loaded with a final window sticker of $52,100. Fuel economy is rated at 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
The new A5 Sportback from Audi was a blast to drive. Its surefootedness on the road combined with the luxury and craftsmanship make for a very pleasurable driving experience. There were days I found myself seeking the long way to work or home just to get a few more minutes seat time, not to mention jamming to some great tunes playing on the awesome audio system. For those looking at sports cars but needing all four doors, make sure you do not pass by the Audi showroom without stopping.