UK Drive: Audi’s updated A5 Sportback brings refinement and comfort to the segment

What is it?

Audi A5 Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback


The A5 Sportback is a slightly more practical, slightly more passenger-friendly version of Audi’s popular A5. In a never-ending quest to fill in any blanks left between models, the A5 Sportback dives in between the A5 and the A6, providing drivers with the sleek looks of a coupe but with the spaciousness of a saloon. That’s the idea, anyway.

It’s been updated recently and we’re testing a super-clean petrol version today. We’ve been behind the wheel to find out what it’s like.

What’s new?

Audi A5 Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback


This a relatively subtle mid-life refresh by Audi, so the exterior changes are minimal – though they do make a difference. The headlights have been given a new design while there’s an additional grille piece at the front – though we’ll get into the way the car looks in more detail shortly.

Equipment and technology levels have been bolstered too, while a clean petrol engine beats underneath the A5. Given that diesel is the traditional go-to choice in this segment, the fitment in a non-performance orientated model jars somewhat, but given the sweeping trend towards petrol and hybrid over diesel, it’s a move that can be understood.

What’s under the bonnet?

Audi A5 Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback


This particular A5 has a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine beating away under the bonnet, producing 188bhp and 320Nm of torque. Sent to the front wheels, in this instance, via a seven-speed automatic gearbox, it makes for a 0-60mph time of 7.2 seconds, while all in it’ll manage a healthy 150mph.

When it comes to economy, Audi claims 39.8mpg for this S Line variant, while emissions stand at 161g/km CO2. If you’re after the most fuel-sipping petrol A5, then you’ll want the entry-level Sport version, which both cracks the 40mpg barrier while also offering lower emissions thanks, in part, to a smaller wheel size.

What’s it like to drive?

A5 Sportback
A5 Sportback


The Audi A5 Sportback is a car which isn’t difficult to quickly and easily become acquainted with. You get behind the well-sized and adjustable wheel, click the gearstick into drive and you’re off, wafting along, savouring the refinement and comfort that the car offers. For sure, Audi’s gearbox niggles remain even on this petrol version; request some additional power from the throttle – particularly from a standing start – and it’ll take a few moments longer than you’d expect for it to translate into forward motion.

This isn’t a car which goads you into driving quickly or more spiritedly, but rather invites you to take things at a somewhat more relaxed pace. On the motorway – where we expect the vast majority of Sportbacks to spend much of the time – it feels comfortably at home, with minimal road noise and refined suspension helping to create a car which really does breeze through the miles with minimal fuss.

How does it look?

Audi A5 Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback


The A5 is a svelte, well-designed looking saloon car which does manage to encapsulate some of the charm of its coupe sibling. The rear doors aren’t all that noticeable, in fact, while the raked roofline manages to disguise some of the car’s length. As we alluded to earlier, Audi has given the A5 quite a subtle lift in terms of design. The front bumper has been restyled, for instance, while the three air vents located above the grille mirror those found on the smaller A1 and the range-topping R8 supercar. In addition, LED headlights are now standard across the board, and these give the car a little more visual presence too.

It’s a well-judged and premium-looking car, that’s for sure, and one that certainly looks good when out on the road. Is it the most exciting car to look at? Probably not. But for those after a car with some high-end presence then it’ll likely fit the bill.

What’s it like inside?

Audi A5 Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback


In typical Audi fashion, the cabin of the A5 Sportback is an area which is helped no end by the inclusion of plenty of high-quality materials, which are in turn met by exceptionally strong build quality. Though there are one or two cheaper plastics lower down the cabin, by and large it’s an area which is resoundingly well made and well finished.

There’s plenty of space, too. Those sitting up front have a bright and airy area to enjoy, while those in the back have plenty of room to stretch out. The A5 is technically a five-seater, but three abreast in the rear of the car will likely prove a squeeze for most. Its boot space is also good at 465 litres with the back seats in place, but lower them and – thanks to the hatchback design – there’s an impressive amount of luggage room to play with.

What’s the spec like?

Audi A5 Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback


The level of standard equipment which accompanies the A5 Sportback is generous, to say the least. And while it might not boast the very latest widescreen infotainment setup that you’ll find in the latest A6 and A7, the pop-out-style display is more than adequate. It now measures 10.1 inches and accompanies the 12.3-inch digital cockpit display ahead of the driver. The infotainment setup is now standard regardless of trim level – it’s not an optional extra for this or any other A5.

Our car started off at £40,575, though optional extras such as a head-up display (£1,025) and a panoramic sunroof (£1,400) as well as a driver assistance package which brings a range of assistance features (£2,700) helped to bump its price up to £48,275. To us, that still seems remarkably good value for a large executive car of this type.

Verdict

The A5 Sportback is refined, premium-feeling and good to look at too, which will no doubt help it to find favour with business users and long-distance drivers which is who it’s angled towards. This petrol-powered variant might not be the most obvious choice, but its smoothness and quietness make it a genuinely plausible option without too much of a downturn in efficiency nor economy.

The small updates to the overall package made by Audi have certainly increased its appeal even further, making this A5 Sportback a resoundingly good option in the executive saloon segment.

  • Model: Audi A5 Sportback

  • Model as tested: Audi A5 Sportback 40 TFSI S Line

  • Price (as tested): £48,275

  • Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol

  • Power: 188bhp

  • Torque: 320Nm

  • Max speed: 150mph

  • 0-60mph: 7.2seconds

  • MPG: 39.8

  • Emissions: 161g/km CO2