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Audi A5 Sportback TFSI Quattro 2017 Review

How can you make a beautiful two-door coupe better? Give it five doors.
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Audi's A5 Sportback is a partner-in-crime of the A5 two-door coupe. It's basically a stretched hatch in five-door drag.

When it comes to refreshing one of the mainstays of its line-up, it's in the best interest of a car company to stretch the development costs as far as possible. So it is with the new Audi A4, which will encompass at least five distinct body styles over its lifetime, not counting high-performance variants.

The A5 Sportback is a good example. A partner-in-crime of the A5 two-door coupe, it's basically a stretched hatch in five-door drag, and it joined the Audi A4 family a couple of generations ago. 

This is the A5 Sportback quattro, and it tops a three-variant A5 range. It goes up against other similar  outlier models (calling them "freak shows" would be unkind) like BMW’s 4-Series Gran Coupe.

Parked side by side, the differences between the A4 and the A5 are quite obvious, but what are the changes under the skin?

Audi A5 2017: Sportback 1.8 TFSI S Line Plus
Safety rating
Engine Type1.8L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.4L/100km
Seating4 seats
Price from$44,660

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The side profile of the A5 is one of the prettiest shapes on the road today, and it harks back to an era where long, sleek coupes ruled the roads. It doesn’t lose much in the translation to a five-door, either.

The extended roofline manages to look sleek and stylish without adding extra bulk to the A5's rear flanks, while the family similarity is obvious across the nose and the rear taillight array.

  • Audi's S-Line body kit adds deep side skirts and extra pieces on the front and rear bars. Audi's S-Line body kit adds deep side skirts and extra pieces on the front and rear bars.
  • The side profile of the A5 is one of the prettiest shapes on the road today. The side profile of the A5 is one of the prettiest shapes on the road today.

Our particular A5 is fitted with Audi's S-Line body kit, which adds deep side skirts and extra pieces on the front and rear bars. As a plus, the 19-inch turbine-style alloys set the car off just perfectly.

The A4 has been widely praised as having one of the nicest cabins in the luxury C-segment sedan class, and the A5 carries on that tradition. The devil is in the beautifully simple and elegant details, with Audi's active dash a real winner, along with the floating multimedia screen in the centre.

And if you're a fan of blocky LCD graphics on your dual-zone climate control system, you'll be disappointed; Audi really has worked through every detail.

The optional black wood inlay of our test example didn't suit all tastes and actually ended up looking a little bit fake, and the grey leather probably wouldn't be our first choice, either. But in the right colour scheme, the interior of the A5 looks absolutely fantastic.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

Unfairly or not, most Audi A4 and A5 products are deemed as executive expresses, which means that a lot of emphasis is placed on the front-seat passengers, and in particular the driving position.

From behind the wheel, the A5 is a joy to use. It's got a fantastic driving position that's slung low in the car, a nice, thick-rimmed wheel, and plenty of space in which to do your work.

  • The A5 has a fantastic driving position that's slung low in the car. The A5 has a fantastic driving position that's slung low in the car.
  • All the controls are logical, although the steering wheel is starting to get a little bit complex. All the controls are logical, although the steering wheel is starting to get a little bit complex.
  • You really have to train yourself not to keep fiddling with the brilliant Active Dash display. You really have to train yourself not to keep fiddling with the brilliant Active Dash display.
  • The rear seat can take three passengers, although it's best suited to take two. The rear seat can take three passengers, although it's best suited to take two.

All the controls are logical, although the steering wheel is starting to get a little bit complex, and you really have to train yourself not to keep fiddling with the brilliant Active Dash display. Settle on your favourite view – ours is the large sat nav/small dials version - and then leave it alone.

The leather seats have supportive side bolsters and an extendable base, which is a great feature for taller occupants.

The storage arrangements are a little bit different in the A5, with a very long but shallow centre console bin hiding underneath a long, padded lid. It's easy to tuck a phone and a wallet away underneath, but it's not quite big enough to take a larger bag.

Audi has stashed a pair of USB controls at the very back of this compartment, which is a little bit of a pain if you keep your mobile phone in a holder that fits in one of the two cupholders towards the front of the dash.

In fact, aside from the regular glovebox, there's not a whole lot of storage in the front of the A5. There are bottle holders in each of the doors, but not much room for anything else.

There are bottle holders in each of the doors. There are bottle holders in each of the doors.

The rear seat can take three passengers, although it's best suited to take two. There are ISOFIX points on both the outside seats and cupholders in the pull-down centre armrest, as well as bottle holders in each of the two doors.

Overall, though, there's not a lot of space in the rear, especially for taller passengers. Even with the driving position set in a relatively average location, the knee room is quickly gobbled up and is saved only by the fact that the seats have deep sculpting on the backs for your legs.

Likewise, that gorgeous sweeping roofline does nothing for headroom if you've got taller passengers, and the rear door apertures are quite small.

  • The pseudo hatchback arrangement of the A5 yields a large cargo space. The pseudo hatchback arrangement of the A5 yields a large cargo space.
  • The A5's boot holds 1300 litres with the 40/20/40 split-fold seats dropped down. The A5's boot holds 1300 litres with the 40/20/40 split-fold seats dropped down.
  • A space-saver spare wheel nestles under the floor of the boot. A space-saver spare wheel nestles under the floor of the boot.
  • The load space is quite flat, and there are tie-down hooks to secure luggage. The load space is quite flat, and there are tie-down hooks to secure luggage.

On the flip side, the pseudo hatchback arrangement of the A5 yields a large cargo space, with 480 litres with the seats up (which is the same as the A4 sedan, incidentally), and an even larger 1300 litres with the 40/20/40 split-fold seats dropped down. The load space is also quite flat, and there are tie-down hooks to secure luggage, which is a nice touch.

A space-saver spare wheel nestles under the floor of the boot, and there's also a 12-volt charging point back in the cargo area. The A5 is far from your typical sedan, but unfortunately for rear-seat passengers it does pay the price for looking this good.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

Our (to give it its long and quite formal name) A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro S-Tronic Sport is powered by the more powerful of two 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines in the A4/A5 range. 

It makes 185kW and 370Nm, and it's backed by a seven-speed dual clutch transmission - known as an S-Tronic in Audi lingo - which is linked to Audi's latest version of its all-wheel drive system.

  • This A5 is backed by a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. This A5 is backed by a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
  • Our A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro S-Tronic Sport is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. Our A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro S-Tronic Sport is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

The combined fuel economy figure of the A5 quattro is rated at 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres, while our 320km test recorded a dash-indicated figure of 9.5 litres per 100 kilometres over mixed terrain.

The 1610kg A5 can crack 100km/h from a standstill in six seconds flat, and is electronically limited to 250km/h.

With its 63-litre fuel tank, it’ll cover approximately 970km before needing a top-up, which is impressive.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

The A5 Sportback in TFSI quattro form costs $81,500 before on-roads and, as with most European premium products, the options list is long and detailed. Our test vehicle, for example, ends up costing just over $100,000 once everything is totted up. 

This includes an assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go ability in traffic. It also has a traffic-jam assistant, active lane assist with AEB, collision-avoidance assist, high-beam assist and turn assist. All that is yours for an extra $2470.

The S-Line Sport package at $5900 adds the aforementioned body kit, 19-inch alloys, a different steering wheel and gear lever knob, as well as a Nappa leather interior.

The S-Line Sport package comes with 19-inch alloys. The S-Line Sport package comes with 19-inch alloys.

It also offers a Technik package with Audi's Matrix LED headlights (pinched from the R8), LED daytime running lamps, and dynamic LED front and rear indicators, as well as a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo and a head-up display that shows speed, navigation, and other info. This costs $5600.

The other major inclusion is adaptive suspension at $2210.

As standard, the Audi is fitted with everything that you'd expect in a premium sedan product, including automatic headlights and wipers, sat nav, dual-zone climate control with vents and controls for rear-seat passengers, electronic handbrake, the full digital dash that’s known as the Active Display, as well as seat memory and heated and folding side mirrors.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Audi's engineers hit a home run with the B9 platform, as we've seen from our previous tests of other A4 products. The car's basics give it a low, wide, and flat stance with excellent suspension action, terrific steering and a composed, compliant ride.

The drive mode select switch can pick from efficiency, comfort, auto, and dynamic, or be tuned in an individual mode, which allows you to pick from comfort, normal, or sport settings for gearbox, engine, suspension, and steering. It's hard to tell the difference, though, between the firm dynamic suspension setting and the comfort setting with the optional adaptive dampers.

Our favourite drive mode sees us dump everything into sport for a little bit of extra weight and feel under fingers and feet, and winding back the adaptive suspension to comfort mode to give even more ride comfort on longer trips.

The 2.0-litre turbo four is a very well-known quantity in the Volkswagen/Audi family, and it performs very well, even onboard a heavier car like the A5. Throttle response is excellent, and the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is perfectly matched.

The all-wheel-drive system has also proven its worth over the years, and this latest version works in both everyday situations and when pushing on a bit.

The system sends 60 per cent of its traction to the rear as standard, and can send up to 85 per cent back there (or 70 per cent to the front) when it's most needed. The point of the A5, though, is not to push hard through corners, but to take the back way home knowing that you've got a forgiving, comfortable and  capable companion underneath you.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The A5 comes standard with forward-facing AEB with pedestrian detection as standard, along with rear-collision mitigation (a system which flashes the car’s hazard lights if it detects traffic behind the car isn’t paying attention), tyre-pressure monitors and eight airbags.

These basic features combine to give the A5 Sportback a maximum five-star ANCAP score.

The full gamut of driver aids can be added as part of a $2470 package.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Audi only offers a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty with the A5, throwing in roadside assistance for the life of the warranty.

You can buy a three-year/45,000km service plan for $1620 at time of purchase.

Verdict

It's a pity that Audi has seen fit to require the purchase of an upgrade kit to get the most out of modern driver aids. 

Even if you bought a base A5 with the safety kit, though, and left most of the other option boxes unticked, you will have a fantastic long- and short-range commuter that's probably best suited to a couple. 

It will be a bit of a pain to put kids in and out of the small rear space, and likewise, taller people will also find anything longer than a short trip a bit of a squeeze.

Is Audi's A5 Sportback the graceful swan or ugly ducking of the A5 range? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Pricing Guides

$54,990
Based on 11 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$44,988
Highest Price
$74,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.8 TFSI 1.8L, PULP, CVT AUTO $50,270 – 57,750 2017 AUDI A5 2017 1.8 TFSI Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI Quattro 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $56,320 – 64,680 2017 AUDI A5 2017 2.0 TFSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPRT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $44,988 – 74,900 2017 AUDI A5 2017 2.0 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPRT Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $62,040 – 71,280 2017 AUDI A5 2017 2.0 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Design8
Practicality7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Price and features7
Driving8
Safety8
Ownership7
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$44,988

Lowest price, based on 5 car listings in the last 6 months

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