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In-depth reviews

Audi A5 Sportback review - Engines, performance and drive

A wide range of powerful petrol and diesel engines should mean there’s something for everyone

The A5 Sportback is a comfortable, refined and sure-footed five-door coupe, and while a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is more fun, it’s the Audi that offers a more complete package. 

Most models come with the brand’s venerable quattro all-wheel-drive system, and while very few UK buyers will ever truly rely on it, it gives the A5 a sense of security otherwise missing on many of the car’s key rivals. Optional on the 2.0 TDI 190PS but standard on the TFSI, 3.0 TDI and S5 versions, quattro offers bags of grip and loads of control on wet, greasy B-roads. 

This car is also at home on the motorway, where high-speed refinement is excellent. Like all Audis, the A5’s cabin is well insulated from wind and road noise – though bigger wheels can affect the sense of calm. Add £600 adaptive dampers and you can switch between Comfort and Sport modes which vary the firmness of the ride, although even in Sport mode the ride isn't jarring.

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Head into some corners and you’ll find the A5 Sportback composed rather than fun. Being based on the VW Group’s MLB platform means the current car is better to drive than its predecessor, but a rear-wheel-drive BMW is still more engaging. The A5 is nimble enough, however, with impressive body control and loads of grunt. The steering is a little numb, but you can add weight using the Drive Select button on the dash.

Engines 

Most buyers will make do with the 2.0-litre TDI, which is both fast and frugal. The 187bhp version will do 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds regardless of whether you select the six-speed manual or dual-clutch auto, while adding quattro slashes half a second from this time. It’s a really punchy unit, and only ever noisy under really hard acceleration. Our only gripe is that the seven-speed S tronic auto has a long seventh gear that's better suited to autobahn speeds than UK motorways. The boxs insists on kicking down to sixth with even the slightest press of the throttle at motorway speeds - you have to be travelling at 80mph or more for the engine's torque to deal with your demands.

The silky-smooth six-cylinder 215bhp 3.0 TDI is faster still, completing the same sprint in 6.4 seconds mated to the seven-speed S tronic box and quattro all-wheel-drive. What the 249bhp 2.0 TFSI quattro loses in fuel economy it makes up for in straight-line pace, with 0-62mph over in 6.0 seconds flat – though the increased torque of the diesels make them feel faster in the real world.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    45 TFSI Quattro Edition 1 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0

Most Economical

  • Name
    45 TFSI Quattro Edition 1 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0

Fastest

  • Name
    45 TFSI Quattro Edition 1 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0
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