The Audi A5 Sportback is a bigger, more family-friendly version of the new A5 Coupe. Here are 10 things you should know about the 2017 model, including our thoughts on the lairy S5 variant.
Families and people in suits looking for a practical saloon with more than a whiff of luxury will inevitably end up with something from Audi on the shortlist. The German manufacturer’s most recent addition to the range is the A5 Sportback, a larger version of the Coupe with two extra doors and a bigger boot.
We have driven the 2017 A5 Sportback, S5 Sportback and various configurations of engines, alloy wheel sizes and trim levels. Here are 10 things we learned over that time.
See also: 2017 Audi Sportback review: First drive
1) The A5 Sportback is better for families
Practicality is what makes the 2017 A5 Sportback better for families. It has two extra doors and is longer than the Coupe, improving the interior space for everyone in the car. You also get a sizable 480-litre boot expandable to 1,300 litres, metre-wide load bay so it is easier to load big items and an automatic tailgate so you can open and close it without exerting any effort.
2) It has been on a diet
To make the 2017 A5 Sportback better than its predecessor, it has undergone weight saving to the tune of 85kg. This and a lower drag co-efficient of 0.26 means it emits up to 17 per cent less CO2 and fuel economy is up to 22 per cent better. That means cheaper motoring, improved performance and better handling.
3) The interior really is lovely
We used to give Audi a fair bit of stick for its interiors, but the level of quality and design flair in the new A5 Sportback certainly makes it feel like a luxury car. The seats keep you in place and comfortable, especially if you get the front sport seats with Alcantara. Not only that, you don’t need a degree in computer science to use the infotainment system and the optional digital dial, AKA the Digital Cockpit, is a worthwhile upgrade over analogue dials. Only a bit of cheap plastic spoils proceedings.
4) It is more efficient than you may think
Go for the 2.0-litre TDI ultra and you can expect a combined fuel economy figure of 68.9mpg (if you stick to 17-inch alloys) and we easily achieved upwards of 40mpg on our test drive. As for CO2 emissions, a mere 106g/km of CO2 is emitted so it is cheap to tax. Those who want the 2.0-litre TFSI can expect 45.6mpg and 141g/km, while the 3.0-litre S5 is said to offer 37.7mpg and 170g/km, which is still good considering both are rapid.
5) The handling is bang on
When it comes to handling, the A5 Sportback is able to more than hold its own in the bends, while the optional quattro all-wheel drive system gets it up to speed in harsh conditions. All but the most craterous potholes are ironed out confidently by the suspension, while the ride is firm but avoids being unneccessarily unforgiving. Understeer kicks in if you really push hard on a quiet road, although at that point you have bigger concerns. Like your own life or a run-in with the police.
6) It has more tech than a tech thing
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto let you stream music and do other smartphone things if you spec the right infotainment system. The new A5 Sportback also comes with various safety systems designed to keep you and your passengers safe, including autonomous emergency braking, collision avoidance, cross traffic assist and active lane assist so your family is in safer hands. Audio purists, meanwhile, can go for a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo if the 180-watt Audi setup is too feeble.
7) Avoid the 19-inch alloys
For improving the look of a car, bigger alloys are brilliant. But going big does mean a less comfortable, noisier and more jittery ride. It’s hardly a jarring difference, but we found the A5 Sportback was at its best when comfortable. Stick to 17s or bump up to 18s for a happy medium between form and function.
8) The S5 Sportback is a bit soulless
The Audi R8 is proof Audi can make an exciting machine. But even with the S5’s 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 offering a hefty 349bhp and a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds, it feels flat and uninvolving – it lacks any spark to make a journey memorable. Plus the fake engine noise is noticeably fake. For getting from A to B very quickly and without fanfare, the new S5 Sportback is a beast. But for driver involvement and getting the blood flowing? Look elsewhere, folks.
9) It costs this much
The S5 comes in at a less wallet-friendly £47,000, but you can have all that luxury Audi loveliness from as little as £36,480, making it a huge amount of car for a relatively small amount of money. The 2017 Sportback exhibits a feeling of expense and luxury we never expected, which brings us nicely onto the final point.
10) The cheapest A5 Sportback is your best bet
It may sound odd, but we really, really do think the entry-level, front-wheel drive A5 Sportback Ultra TDI is the one to go for. You can get away with relatively few extras, if any, and still end up with a comfortable, practical, economical and refined machine.