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Audi A5 2020 review: Sportback 45 TFSI

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Richard Berry believes this Audi A5 Sportback is one
EXPERT RATING
7.6

Richard Anthony Berry is my full name, and it’s never caused me any grief. Well, there was that time in high school when Andrew Grace discovered that my name could be shortened to Dick Berry and, like some sort out-of-control nuclear ribbing  reaction, the news spread through the entire school population.

But apart from that, and the life-long, fruit-related digs, my name has never caused me any issues (plus, each summer I can enjoy saying "Yep, I'm brown as a Berry".) The same probably can’t be said for the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S tronic S Line, which came to live with the Berry family.

Yup, the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S tronic S Line has an overly fussy name, so what exactly is the car that’s hiding behind all those made-up words?

For the sake of this review I’m going to shorten the name to A5 Sportback 45 TFSI – kind of like Dick Berry, only not as hilarious.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

If Audi’s model line-up was a mountain and the little A1 was base camp, then the A5 is a bit beyond halfway up and the 45 TFSI Sportback we tested is about midway through its own range, too, with its list price of $78,900.

Audi cut the A5 45 TFSI’s price by almost $2K in August 2019 and it now lists for $78,900. Audi cut the A5 45 TFSI’s price by almost $2K in August 2019 and it now lists for $78,900.

Audi cut the A5 45 TFSI’s price by almost $2K in August 2019 and, according to the brand, $9000 worth of extra equipment was added. Stuff like as an S Line exterior package, 19-inch alloy wheels, wireless charging, heated front seats and dual USB ports for the rear passengers. More safety equipment was also added and I’ll tell you all about that in the section below.

It has 19-inch alloy wheels. It has 19-inch alloy wheels.

Already coming standard on the car were three-zone climate control, an 8.3-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, a 10-speaker stereo, digital radio, powered front seats, leather upholstery, a power tailgate and LED headlights.

The car I tested was optioned with  $1990 premium paint (Navarra Blue); $1450 19-inch alloys; the $4750 Technik package,  which adds a head-up display, Bang & Olufsen stereo and Matrix LED headlights; and adaptive suspension for $2210.

Is it good value? It is now, with the price cut and the extra features. What about a model comparison? The BMW 430i Gran Coupe is $81,000, while the Mercedes-Benz C300e is $79,200 and the Lexus GS300 F Sport is $83,362. Can I also suggest the Volkswagen Arteon? The V-Dub sits on the same platform as the A5, but it’s bigger and (in some ways) better, with a list price of only $67,490.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The ‘Sportback’ part of the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI name refers to the sedan-with-a-rear-hatch body style. A fastback, if you will.

Now that’s established, I can tell you the A5 Sportback is the second-best-looking Audi in the world. That’s according to me. The only one that looks better is the A5 Coupe, which has a tougher, more muscular and stockier profile than the elegant and elongated Sportback. The difference in looks is down to the wheelbase of the Sportback, which is 60mm longer than the Coupe’s. The Sportback is also 15mm taller, which means more headroom in the back seats.

What about the rest of the dimensions? The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI is 4733mm end-to-end and 2029mm wide (including wing mirrors).

The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI comes with the S line exterior package, which adds sporty bumpers and the mat- grey trim to the diffuser (see the images) – and this is where the S line part of the name comes from.

The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI comes with the S line exterior package, which adds sporty bumpers and the mat- grey trim to the diffuser. The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI comes with the S line exterior package, which adds sporty bumpers and the mat- grey trim to the diffuser.

Anybody who says Audi cabins are all the same, regardless of the model, hasn’t stared at the interior images for the A5, Q5, A3 and Q3 like I just have for the past five minutes. What I found was that while they appear to be identical, and do share many parts, there are pleasing, subtle differences to the button shapes and layouts, which make the cockpits unique to their models.

The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI’s cabin gets its expansive look from the horizontal elements, such as the aluminum strip that borders the dash and the air vents above it.

The 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster is as good to use as it looks, but that 8.3-inch screen is starting to look small compared to what we’re seeing coming out in newer cars.

The Rock Grey-coloured upholstery doesn’t set my world on fire, but it’s less risky than white as far as grime and stains are concerned.

I found the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI’s interior a little too conservative, but as with all Audi cabins the fit and finish are exceptional and there’s a quality feel to the switch gear, which can’t be said for all of its rivals.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The Sportback is the practical alternative to the Coupe. Not only does it have an extra two doors, which open wide for good entry and exit, but the back row has more head and legroom, too. I’m 191cm tall and can sit behind my driving position without my knees hitting the seatback, or my head bashing the ceiling.

The Sportback is the practical alternative to the Coupe. The Sportback is the practical alternative to the Coupe.

The cargo capacity of the Sportback’s boot is 15 litres more than the Coupe’s at 480 litres.

There are four cup holders on board, but apart from that cabin storage isn’t great, with only a small centre-console bin, map pockets in the seat backs and small-ish door pockets. The lack of storage seems to be an Audi trait, and even the brand’s SUVs lack adequate places to stow items.

 I’m 191cm tall and can sit behind my driving position without my knees hitting the seatback. I’m 191cm tall and can sit behind my driving position without my knees hitting the seatback.

The 2019 update brought two charge-only USB ports in the second row and there’s also a 12V outlet and climate control with directional vents back there. There are another two USBs and a 12V outlet up front, along with a wireless phone charger.

The cargo capacity of the Sportback’s boot is 15 litres more than the Coupe’s at 480 litres. The cargo capacity of the Sportback’s boot is 15 litres more than the Coupe’s at 480 litres.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The 45 in A5 Sportback 45 TFSI refers to the engine’s power output, which is 185kW and 370Nm. Why 45? That’s the Audi designation for engines with an output of between 169kW and 185kW. Sitting below the 45 is an A5 Sportback 40 TFSI, which makes 140kW.

The 45 in A5 Sportback 45 TFSI refers to the engine’s power output, which is 185kW and 370Nm. The 45 in A5 Sportback 45 TFSI refers to the engine’s power output, which is 185kW and 370Nm.

TFSI refers to the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and, along with the higher output, the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI is all-wheel drive (that’s the quattro part) while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (that’s the S tronic part) shifts gears fairly seamlessly, and super quickly.

How much fuel does it consume?  

Audi says the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI should use 6.5L/100km after a combination of open and urban roads. I put 202km on the clock of my test car and the trip computer was telling me I’d been using premium unleaded at an average of 9.5L/100km.

Helping save fuel is Audi’s stop-start system, which, as much as I’m not a fan of the way it cuts in, I kept activated the entire time.

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

The 2019 update added extra safety equipment to the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI, such as active lane assist, auto high beam headlights, adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist, plus auto parking and a 360-degree camera.

That’s in addition to eight airbags and AEB with pedestrian detection.

For child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top-tether mounts across the second row.

The Audi A5 scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2017.

A space-saver spare wheel can be found under the boot floor.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

2 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI is covered by Audi’s three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended at 15,000km/12-month intervals. A three-year plan is available for $1800 in total, while a five-year plan can be bought for $2810.

Audi, along with its BMW and Benz rivals, continues to offer less warranty coverage than the mainstream brands and the low score here reflects this duration, and the lack of individual capped-price servicing.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI is comfortable, quick and effortless to pilot. Steering is light and accurate, the ride is composed and, while it’s not super-fast (0-100km/h in six seconds) there’s enough shove from that 2.0-litre engine that I could move quickly when needed, whether it was threading my way in city traffic or overtaking on the motorway.

The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI is comfortable, quick and effortless to pilot. The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI is comfortable, quick and effortless to pilot.

Not sporty enough for you? Well the upside of Audi’s line-up having so many different variants is that you can step up to something more hardcore, like the S5 or the RS5. Still the A5 Sportback 45 TFSI is impressively dynamic, with great grip and unfaltering traction from its quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Verdict

The A5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S tronic S line might have an overly fussy name, but this car is almost completely fuss-free to live with, from its comfortable ride and handling to its quality feeling interior and good value for money. There is one area that could be a bit fussier – that three-year warranty. We’d like to see it increased to five years and the introduction of capped-price servicing, too, would add up to an even better value equation and assurance for buyers.

$81,250
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$70,100
Highest Price
$92,400

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
40 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $70,100 2020 Audi A5 2020 40 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $78,900 2020 Audi A5 2020 45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
40 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $83,600 2020 Audi A5 2020 40 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $92,400 2020 Audi A5 2020 45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality8
Engine & trans7
Safety8
Ownership6
Driving8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$78,900

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

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