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Audi A5 Sportback 2017 review

Audi A5 2.0 TFSI quattro Sportback.
EXPERT RATING
7.4
Audi's original A5 Sportback was one of the most successful, if not the most successful, four-door coupe designs made by anybody. Sleek, low and perfectly proportioned.

Audi's original A5 Sportback was one of the most successful, if not the most successful, four-door coupe designs made by anybody. Sleek, low and perfectly proportioned, it stood in stark contrast to BMW and Mercedes' efforts which were often blighted by bling to try and stand out. The A5 got on with the job with a clean, elegant and desirable design.

The Sportback spawned from the A5 Coupe which itself was based on the B8 A4. With the coming of the B9 last year, the A5 is getting the same treatment - this one's new from the ground up, built on the VW Group's MQB platform and delivering a tonne more tech, refinement, new engine and transmission options.

The new sheetmetal looks more filled out, more muscular and a little more organic The new sheetmetal looks more filled out, more muscular and a little more organic

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

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

Forming the A5 Sportback range are three models, mirroring the Coupe's line-up - the 2.0 TFSI front-wheel drive for $69,900; 2.0 TDI quattro for $73,900 and the 2.0 TFSI quattro for $81,500.

Audi specifies the different models within a range pretty much the same, allowing prospective owners to decide their own specification through a lengthy options list and a series of packages.

Standard are 18-inch alloys, cruise control, three-zone climate control, an impressive safety package, auto headlights and wipers, keyless entry and start, electric tailgate with foot wavey opening function, heated power folding mirrors, LED healdights and dynamic rear indicators, electric front seats, synthetic leather interior, leather steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, ten-speaker stereo and Audi's excellent 12.3-inch fully digital dashboard, called Virtual Cockpit.

Brilliant Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard. Brilliant Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard.

The big price jump to the 2.0 TFSI quattro adds 19-inch alloys and gearshift paddles, both of which are available as options on the other two, along with a significant increase in power from the 2.0 turbo.

The Audi MMI system is run from the standard 8.3-inch screen perched on the dashboard. The system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio, sat nav with Google search, map overlays (you need a SIM card for that) and Bluetooth and is run by a console-mounted rotary dial.

Then there are the five option packs. Strap yourselves in. Prices in brackets are LCT inclusive so a good guide of what you'll actually pay for them.

Assistance Package Tour ($2470) brings adaptive cruise, traffic jam avoidance, active lane keeping, forward collision warning, collision avoidance assistance, auto high beam and turn assist (stops you turning across oncoming traffic at low speed).

The Parking Assistance Package ($1255), adds an around-view camera and auto parking.

The Technik Package ($5600) adds matrix LEDs, dynamic indicators to the front, B&O branded 19-speaker stereo system and head up display. The trick matrix headlights are able to black out the elements of the LED grid that might be dazzling oncoming traffic and from past experience are worth every penny.

The S Line style package ($3900/$2500 on the TFSI quattro) adds more aggressive front and rear bumpers and some darker materials on the sill extensions and rear diffuser, 19-inch alloys, S Line logos and privacy glass for the rear and side windows.

S Line Sport Package ($7400/$5900 in the TFSI quattro) takes in the S Line Style pack and takes the theme into the cabin with logos, aluminium inlays, flat-bottom S steering wheel, perforated leather trim bits, stainless steel pedals, black headlining, Nappa leather with contrasting stitching and access to the Daytona Grey colour (for another $1846...).

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The A5 Sportback starts with the A5 Coupe shape, lengthens it and adds rear doors and a tailgate. The new sheetmetal looks more filled out, more muscular and a little more organic than the straighter, geometric lines of the older car. There's more of a gentle undulation along the shoulder line, suggesting a slightly feline stance.

The cabin is largely the same as the excellent A4's. The now-familiar slimline dash architecture is far less imposing than the outgoing car's, with an emphasis on horizontal lines to give a feeling of width and space. The materials are typically excellent - if it looks like metal, it is metal and if it looks like wood, it is.

The look may not be different enough from the last A5 for some. The look may not be different enough from the last A5 for some.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

Based on the A4 platform and with four passenger doors, the A5 Sportback is remarkably roomy given its svelte profile. You sit slightly lower than the traditional sedan counterpart, partly for a sportier feel but also claim back some headroom. 

Front seat passengers enjoy two cupholders, bottle holders in the doors and a partially-covered central console storage bin. The driver also has their own deep glove box which can fit the owners manual or even a small umbrella.

Inside there is a lot of the A4, but that's a good thing. Inside there is a lot of the A4, but that's a good thing.

Rear seat passengers not only have their own climate control zone but also have bottle holders in the doors. Headroom is good for six-footers, even those slightly over while knee room is generous - I can sit behind my driving position without drama, although foot room under the seat is a little cramped.

The rear seat has ISOFIX child seat mounts in the outward positions and folds 40/20/40, giving access to the 480 litre boot (identical to the sedan). When you fold all three sections of the back seat, you have around 1300 litres. The boot is a very practical squared-off shape, reasonably deep and long, easily fitting large suitcases.

Audi says that there is another 17mm of interior length, 11mm more shoulder room and, most usefully, another 24mm of knee room in the rear, partly due to having a longer wheelbase than both its predecessor and the current A4.

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

The A5 Sportback is available with three engine packages, all paired with Audi's new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The entry-level is powered by a 2.0 TFSI driving the front wheels and finally laying to rest the old model's deeply mediocre CVT. With 140kW and 320Nm, you'll see 100km/h in 7.5 seconds.

The 2.0 TDI quattro, delivers 140kW and 400Nm to all four wheels through the seven-speed DSG. The run to the ton comes in at 7.4 seconds.

It's back to petrol for the 2.0 TFSI quattro, this time in a 185kW/370Nm state of tune, driving all four wheels through the seven-speed DSG. 0-100km/h is dispatched in six seconds flat.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

The 2.0TFSI front wheel drive has a claimed combined cycle figure of 5.6L/100km, 2.0 TFSI quattro 6.5L/100km and the 2.0 TDI quattro 4.8L/100km.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

We only got the chance to drive the car Audi expects to sell the most, the 2.0 TFSI quattro.

If you've driven an A4 and were somehow able to be blindfolded and put in the A5 Sportback for a drive, you'd be hard-pressed to know the difference. And there's nothing wrong with that. The Sportback has a lower driving position, which might just be the only tell as you've got plenty of room in all directions.

All of the good things of the A4 have come along in the transition to the lower, sleeker coupe, including the much-improved seven-speed dual clutch transmission that has less dither and more positive shifts. The entry-level's CVT has, thankfully been put out to pasture where it belongs.

The steering is good too, with a lovely, fluid feel through the corners that past Audi owners could only dream of. The higher-powered 2.0 petrol is terrific, cheerfully revving to redline and through the gears quick as you like.

The optional damper control doesn't bring a huge amount to the party but if you're keen for a bit of back-road hooliganism, is worth the outlay. The system reduces roll when you're tearing around corners and keeps the body well and truly in check.

The A5's cabin is very, very quiet, even on some of the more suspect surfaces we took it over during the launch drive through the Otways. Progress is near-silent and conversation easy between passengers in both rows.

There is also plenty to keep you entertained with the Virtual Cockpit's functionality, the extensive options for music playback and integration with both major smartphone systems. Either stereo was pretty good to my ears, but the 19-speaker B&O is a beast.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

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

As with the Coupe, the Sportback arrives with a comprehensive and class-leading safety package - eight airbags, driver attention assist, forward AEB, rear collision warning, stability and traction controls, exit warning (warns of approaching cyclists and cars when you're getting out), blind spot monitoring and reverse cross traffic alert.

Further safety features can be added via the options packages.

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

Audi offers a 3 year/unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist for the duration of the warranty. They also offer impressive dealerships to swan about in while you’re waiting for your car to be returned to you.

You can also fix your servicing costs by taking on the $1850 three year/45,000km service plan which covers scheduled servicing.

Verdict

The new A5 Sportback does everything the A4 does just with slinky four-door coupe looks and a little less headroom. Naturally you pay a premium, but beauty doesn't come cheap. It's a far more convincing package than the old A5 Sportback which, considering it was old before it was released, isn't a huge surprise.

The best thing about the new car is that the style and substance are matched. You're not looking for a bargain when you buy an Audi, so choosing the range's sweet spot is easy - it's the 2.0 TFSI quattro. Having said that, plumping for the entry level car won't leave you feeling short-changed, particularly given the comprehensive safety package.

Just be aware that if you fully load a 2.0 quattro, you're just $10,000 away from the rocketship S5...

Do you like the new A5 Sportback? Or you think it needs a bit more visual woopdedoo?

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
7.4
Price and features7
Design8
Practicality7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety8
Ownership7
Peter Anderson
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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