The Audi A5 Sportback is comfortable – so long as you avoid the Sports suspension – and has a great range of engines, but alternatives are more fun to drive
The A5 Sportback is available with a 2.0-litre diesel with 150 or 190hp, a 218hp 3.0-litre diesel or a 252hp 2.0-litre petrol – the latter two coming with a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
The four-cylinder 190hp diesel is a great all-rounder. It gets from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and has plenty of pace in reserve for quick overtakes on the motorway and A roads. It might not be quite as quiet or as smooth as the six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel, but the muffled clatter you get at low speeds isn’t too bad and it settles into the background on the motorway.
The Audi A5 Sportback is nicer to drive than the A4 saloon, but if you want a sporty feeling coupe you’re still better off getting the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
The 190hp engine’s party piece is its fuel economy, Audi reckons you’ll get 65mpg but 50mpg should be readily achievable in normal driving – that’s pretty good for such a punchy engine.
The 252hp petrol won’t get anywhere near that figure – expect it to return around 35mpg – but it’s freer revving and smoother than the diesel. It gets from 0-62mph in six seconds, so it’s quite a lot quicker as well as feeling sportier.
The A5 Sportback is an enjoyable car to drive if not quite as outright fun as the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, but it has nicely weighted controls, grips well and has sharp steering that makes it feel agile in bends.
SE and Sport models come with softer suspension that does a great job of absorbing bumps in the road but doesn’t allow excessive lean in bends.
S line models are firmer – too firm actually. If you want their sporty low-slung looks and big wheels but without the discomfort of the Sports suspension, it’s worth adding the £600 adaptive dampers. They have a comfort mode that’ll help take the edge off bumpy roads.
If you’re an enthusiastic driver, it’s also worth considering getting quattro four-wheel drive. It comes as standard on the 2.0-litre petrol and 3.0-litre diesel and is available with the 190hp 2.0-litre diesel (with an automatic gearbox) for £3,075. The pushing sensation it gives out of bends makes the A5 feel sportier but on wet days you’ll also be thankful for the added traction – which means the A5 can lay all its power down without spinning its wheels.
If you drive a lot in town or want to take the stress of long journeys, it’s worth saving your clutch foot’s energy by opting for the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It’s a £1,530 option on the 2.0-litre diesel models and standard across the rest of the range. With it fitted the A5 changes gear extremely smoothly with only a little low-speed jerkiness spoiling the party.
Aside from this and the over-the-shoulder blind spot caused by the small rear windows, the A5 is perfectly at home in town and all models come with front and rear parking sensors that make it much easier to squeeze into tight spaces.
It really belongs on the motorway, though, where it cruises quietly and should be safe thanks to a five-star Euro NCAP rating it secured in 2015. If you want to make it even safer, get the £1,250 Driver Assistance Pack. It adds adaptive cruise control that can slow the car when there’s a slower moving vehicle ahead, a traffic sign recognition system that can display roadside signs on the sat nav and lane assist that can gently steer the car in lane.