Audi A5 Sportback review - Engines, performance and drive
A wide range of powerful petrol and diesel engines should mean there’s something for everyone
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.
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.
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.
In this review
- 1Audi A5 Sportback reviewThe A5 Sportback is the five-door version of the A5 Coupe which adds practicality to the stylish model range
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingA wide range of powerful petrol and diesel engines should mean there’s something for everyone
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe 2.0-litre TDI Ultra will make up the bulk of sales, and the low emissions mean it’s easy to see why
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Audi A5 Sportback raises the bar when it comes to interior quality, with plenty of technology and a logically laid-out cabin
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWhile the A5 Sportback is more versatile than the standard coupe, the A4 is more practical
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe A5 Sportback has the power of the VW Group behind it, meaning it comes loaded with safety kit