2010 Audi A5 Sportback | road test

Posted on May 19, 2010 by
The A5 Sportback is a fine-looking machine

The A5 Sportback is a fine-looking machine

AT A GLANCE

FOR

  • Great looking
  • More practical than A5 coupe
  • Brilliantly made

AGAINST

  • Turbo lag at low speeds
  • Slightly sluggish gearbox
  • Expensive when highly-specced

SUMMARY

The Sportback is essentially an A5 sedan; it sports the A5 coupe’s rakish looks, but with rear doors and a hatch-style tailgate. hopes it will appeal to people that find the A4 or A6 sedans a bit to staid, and well it might: it’s a fine car and although we were slightly disappointed by the turbo lag and a slightly sluggish gearbox, it’s still to be recommended on its own merits. The only fly in its ointment is the equally impressive, more powerful and cheaper Volkswagen CC V6.

The A5 Sportback has a much more stylish, coupe-like profile than regular sedans

The A5 Sportback has a much more stylish, -like profile than regular sedans

PERFORMANCE

The only engine currently available in the A5 Sportback in these parts is the 2.0-litre turbocharged unit, and it unfortunately suffers a little from turbo lag, meaning there’s a light delay when you put your foot down and then a big gob of power that can prove a bit jerky at lower speeds.

Once we got moving however, we found the A5 Sportback to be a fine drive, with a smooth engine that while not exactly brimming with power at 211bhp certainly has a bit of poke to it.

The seven-speed, dual clutch S tronic gearbox surprised us – in most Audis so equipped that we’ve driven, we’ve loved it, but in the A5 Sportback, it felt rather sluggish, especially in manual mode through the optional paddles (800AED). It’s still a perfectly decent bit of technology; it’s just that we’re sure it’s worked better in other models.

HANDLING AND RIDE

Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system makes for excellent traction off the line and stability through the turns. Handling is great, with a nice balance between comfort and performance, quick steering and plenty of feedback from the front wheels.

The boot on the A5 sportback is a hatchback-like tailgate

The boot on the A5 sportback is a hatchback-like tailgate

Our test car had a dynamic steering fitted (a 6,500AED option with the compulsory DriveSelect system), which increased the power assistance and lower speeds to help manoeuvring and reduced it at higher speeds. It worked well, making spins of the wheel easy when parking but feeling nice and weighty at larger velocities.

The ride is on the firm side, as many Audis tend to be – the stability you get while cornering is the pay off for that and it’s certainly not harsh, but you might want to slow down a bit for speed bumps if you’re used to more forgiving springs on other cars.

COMFORT

The A5 Sportback is very comfortable. We’re pleased that the driver’s sports seat (a 1,700AED option) goes nice and low, in keeping with the sporty image, and built quality is exemplary, as we’ve come to expect from Audi. Wind noise is minimal and the cruising experience is a quiet one.

The interior is as well made as we've come to expect from Audi, although the design is nothing new

The interior is as well made as we've come to expect from Audi, although the design is nothing new

Space for the two rear-seat passengers is ever so slightly cramped when compared to something like an A4. The Sportback retains the sloping rear roofline of the coupe, so to avoid any head crushing, Audi has put indentations in the roof to accommodate people in the back. It works, but it does still feel a bit enclosed and taller occupants will still find their head touching the roof lining.

If we had any criticism, it would centre around the lack of surprise or excitement – it’s exactly as we’d expect of a modern-day Audi and feels somewhat generic to the range. That’s no bad thing as Audi’s interiors are great without exception, but a bit more differentiation between the models would be nice.

PRACTICALITY

Practicality is the point of the Sportback model over the A5 coupe, and accordingly it’s fairly everyday-friendly. There’s a decent sized door pockets with room for a bottle of drink and a rather small space under the centre armrest keep things and plug in your phone if you have one.

Taller rear seat passengers might wish they had more headroom

Taller rear seat passengers might wish they had more headroom

A more unusual compliment is that the two front cupholders are some of the best I’ve experienced in a car; very deep and very good at holding your beverage of choice steady. It might seem like an odd thing to single out, but so many manufacturers get it wrong with the result that drink sloshes everywhere when you have to make a sudden manoeuvre.

There’s a power outlet and an ashtray for passengers in the back. The boot is fairly large at 480 litres and the hatchback-style tailgate means a large aperture for loading and unloading. The rear seats fold down to increase the boot size.

FEATURES

There are plenty of features and gizmos available on the A5 Sportback, although many of them cost extra. Our test car came with the best part of 30,000AED-worth of options and it wouldn’t be difficult to put almost 90,000AED on extras into the car.

Riding on standard 17-inch alloy wheels, the A5 Sportback can be specified with rims up to 20-inches in size (for an extra 10,900AED)

The sports seats are among plenty of features in the A5 Sportback that will cost you extra

The sports seats are among plenty of features in the A5 Sportback that will cost you extra

Our test car came with a CD player and two SD card slots for music. We seem to say this every time we drive an Audi, but to repeat: who keeps music on an SD card? Nobody we know. There is an iPod connection, but it requires a special Audi cable to work. Our test car came without the cable, so we can’t tell you how good it is. Sorry. Annoyingly, such a feature is a 1,400AED option, which grates when auxiliary input sockets are now standard in many cars that cost a quarter as much.

The MMI (Multimedia Interface) system, which controls stereo, sat nav (a 12,000AED option), climate control and various other ancillary systems, is easy to navigate and looks great. No complaints there, other than the extra cost.

Our test car also came with front and rear parking sensors with a rear parking camera (an extra 1,900AED) which uses graphics on the screen when turning the wheel so that you can easily see the car’s projected trajectory. Expensive, but useful.

SAFETY

2010 Audi A5 Sportback

2010 Sportback

Standard safety features on the A5 Sportback include ABS and active headrests to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries in an accident. Six airbags at the front and side are standard, while rear side airbags are 1,800AED extra. ISOFIX child seat mounting points are included on all cars.

No crash test information for the A5 Sportback was available at the time of writing.

COSTS

The basic A5 Sportback is 179,000AED, but as previously mentioned, a highly specced version could be more than 250,000AED. It’s cheaper than its A5 Coupe sibling, but 24,000AED more than the A6 sedan with the same engine – something worth considering if your main priority is practicality.

A very noteworthy rival is the Volkswagen CC V6, which costs 169,000AED fully loaded, although it has a regular sedan boot rather than the hatchback tailgate found in the Audi. Good as we think the A5 Sportback is, we’d be hard pressed to recommend it over the VW at that price.

Fuel economy wise, the A5 Sportback’s official combined figure is 7.4 litres per 100km, which gives it an impressive theoretical range of 860km from its 64-litre fuel tank.

The A5 Sportback comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Major services are due every 30,000km and will cost around 1,400AED at the time of writing.

2010 Audi A5 Sportback

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Max power (bhp/rpm): 211/4,300-6,000
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 350/1,500-4,200
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch automatic
Driven wheels: Four-wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1,615kg
Price (AED): From 179,900AED

One Response to 2010 Audi A5 Sportback | road test

  1. Phill Tromans Reply

    May 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    For reasons of fairness, we should point out that the 2.0-litre A6 is front wheel drive and has less power than the 2.0-litre A5 Sportback, which has quattro. A closer comparison would perhaps be the 2.8 V6 A6, which has 220bhp and costs 188,000AED, although it’s still only front wheel drive.

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