The unstoppable force of Audi strikes again!! Just when you thought we had a derivative of every possible shape and size carrying the four rings of gorgeousness, here comes…. A HATCHBACK!
I say hatchback, however that doesn't do it justice, Sportback sounds sexy as, but again doesn't really tell you anything of the shape… It's really hard to describe the newest Audi on the block, because it's a 4dr version of the A5 Coupe. So it's a 4dr coupe then, I hear your thinking, but you'd be WRONG. Because its no saloon, opening the tailgate reveals that the whole rear of the car opens up hatchback-esque. So it's a 5dr hatchback comes the cry from the back of the audience, and we're back to square one. The A5 Sportback is like no hatchback I've seen or driven before. It's the newest shape hitting the market from the manufacturer in the know, and it's going to be a huge seller. Why have some flat-backed-wide-arsed-standard hatch when you could have something that looks and sounds like a sporty coupe, handles like a sporty coupe, but still gives you the ability to load 2 sales reps in the back via their own doors or open the boot and chuck the (very clean and freshly bathed and perfumed) dogs in the back.
Now to say it handles well would be a tad on the side of understatement. It's near perfection with a fantastic ride quality that just soaks up bumps in the road, but also just firm enough to emulate a sporting stance and drive. Round corners and bends its more A5 Coupe than anything else, although you know there is plenty of body weight; it's as light as a scene queen who's skipped more than a couple of meals (if you know what I mean) on the bends. The only real time you ever feel that this is a heavier and longer version of the A5 Coupe is when it comes to coming up behind someone, they tend to get out the way without a fuss. That's because its an immensely powerful looking car when its heading towards you.
The A5 Sportback is available with a number of engine options: 2.0 TFSI, 3.2 FSI quattro®, 2.0 TDI and 3.0 TDI quattro®. They all incorporate fuel-saving direct-injection technology; this means fuel is injected directly into the combustion chambers, so not a drop is wasted. The Sportback comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox, or you can opt for a 7-speed S tronic transmission, which uses an innovative dual-clutch system. It means that while you're accelerating in third, it's already pre-selecting fourth, so it changes gear in just a few milliseconds without any interruption in power. Alternatively, you can choose a 6-speed manual transmission, which puts you in complete control for a flexible and rewarding drive.
Now I tested the entry level engine, the 2.0L TFSI petrol mated with a 6sp manual gearbox, which kicked out an impressive 178bhp with a 0-62mhp time of 8.1 seconds. I also tested the mighty 3.0L V6 TDI quattro diesel, those of you that read Top Gayer regularly will know I think of this engine as a work of both genius and beauty on Audi's part. As always the diesel beast delivered with a more than impressive 236bhp and a 0-62mhp time of 6.1 seconds, which makes Gazelles in the Serengeti appear sluggish. Of the two models I tested, without doubt the 3.0L diesel with its quattro drive system was the most entertaining and trilling to drive. It's a technology that Audi introduced on to their rally and race cars over 25yrs ago, and to this day its hard to find a system that puts it to shame. The 3.0L twinned with the 7sp box and quattro delivers ultimate control whilst enhancing the sporty characteristics. For those of you who don't know what quattro is…. It's called quattro® permanent all-wheel-drive. The principle is simple: in the same way that four brakes ensure better deceleration, four permanently-driven wheels deliver better acceleration and road-holding, pushing or pulling the car as needed, for a driving experience that's both dynamic and safe. In the A5 Sportback asymmetric dynamic torque distribution continuously distributes drive power between the front and rear axles depending on weather conditions, road surface and gradient, which increases flexibility for an enhanced, sportier drive. In my 2.0L TFSI I had Audi's new eco technology aimed at cutting both fuel usage and emissions, Audi have called it Automatic Start-Stop and its full of clever little electrickery to do the job its designed to do.
Basically the system comprises of: energy Recuperation system for optimal energy utilisation, twinned with energy-saving tips feature in the 'Driver's Information System'; including a gearshift indicator, which will tell you which gear you should be in and when to be the most economical driver you can be. This system is only available on the 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI manual engines, but it certainly works… The two systems do make a huge difference to your fuel economy and work as so…. Energy Recuperation - When a car brakes, the brake discs convert the kinetic energy into thermal energy, which is wasted as it cannot be used. With a recuperation system, like the one in the 2.0L A5 Sportback I drove, the kinetic energy is converted into useful electrical energy. The way it works is simple. While the car is coasting or braking, the alternator voltage is raised above the level of the basic electrical system, which enables the alternator to generate electrical energy and store it temporarily in the battery. When the car accelerates, this energy is used to relieve the load on the alternator, resulting Audi says 'in a fuel saving of 3%'. Now the real savings kick in when you twin that system with the Automatic Start-Stop function. The system works in heavy traffic by switching off the engine when the car comes to a standstill. As soon as you touch the clutch, the car restarts. In conjunction with TDI and TFSI, Audi says it helps save 0.4 litres of fuel every 100km.
So the new A5 Sportback, even with at entry level is quick, sporty, great to drive, handles like a dream and thanks to the fact its got 5drs, a practical load-through boot (including folding rear seats) and enough space to seat 4 adults and fill their luggage in the boot, it's a supreme motor.
I love it so much I want to settle down and have kids with in, hell there's enough space in the boot to have kids in it (I mean give birth to kids in it!). So then it comes down to the age old issue of price…. It's an Audi, so if your expecting it to be cheap, best you forget all you've read and go for a Ford. However, if you want reliability that's second to none, build quality that shouts upmarket, luxury and 'we know what we're doing', then this is the price you'll be paying…. The entry level 2.0L S Sportback with the standard 6sp manual gearbox starts at a very reasonable £23,710 OTR, then the pricing goes all the way up to the top of the range 3.0L V6 TDI quattro diesel S-Line (which is worth every last penny) at £36,220 OTR. Although no plans have been announced yet for an S5 Sportback, I doubt it will be long.