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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

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£43,310 to £55,870
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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. 

Several 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. The quattro versions offer bags of grip and loads of control on wet, greasy B-roads. 

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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 optional 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.

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, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The 2.0-litre TDI is both fast and frugal, with the 201bhp version doing 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds. 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 box 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 201bhp 40 TFSI petrol is a couple of tenths slower to 62mph.

The 261bhp 45 TFSI is faster, completing the same sprint in 5.6 seconds via the seven-speed S tronic box. However, the increased torque of the diesels make them feel faster in the real world.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    40 TFSI Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,075

Most Economical

  • Name
    35 TDI Sport 5dr S Tronic [Comfort+Sound]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £43,360

Fastest

  • Name
    S5 TDI 341 Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £53,860
Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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