2018 Audi A5 Sportback | CarGurus Test Drive Review


Hi, I’m Chris Wardlaw for CarGurus, and
this is the redesigned 2018 Audi A5 in Sportback format. For the
uninitiated the A5 is based on the A4 sedan, and it’s sold as a coupe, as a
convertible, and as this new variant, which is called the Sportback. The A5
isn’t exactly the same as the A4, but it is quite similar. The A5 costs more to to
the tune of about $1,900 of the three available body styles the sportback is
the most affordable version of the a5 a five-door hatchback offering greater
cargo space and utility than the a4 is it worth the extra money let’s go for a
drive and discuss if you’ve seen my review of the redesigned 2017 audi a4 on
CarGurus you know that I absolutely love just about everything about it and that
Adoration applies also to the new a5 Sportback it looks special and when you
get inside of it you feel special like somebody thoughtful has anticipated your
every need and knows exactly what you like and I’m not even reviewing the
top-of-the-line prestige trim level this is the mid grade premium plus equipped
with metallic paint wood trim 19-inch wheels and navigation package and a Bang
& Olufsen sound system but even with all that stuff the price tag only comes to
fifty two thousand one hundred dollars and all it’s really lacking to achieve
perfection is the warm weather package which would install a set of ventilated
sport bolstered front seats and that would add about 1,300 bucks to the price
tag now don’t get me wrong these standard seats are really comfortable
but it’s been pretty muggy the past week and in my part of Los Angeles it’s been
almost 100 degrees every day and seat ventilation sure would have been nice
this week also while fleeing this car down some of my favorite mountain roads
the standard driver seat did not do a very good job of holding me in place but
when you’re not exploring the a5 Sportback limits of adhesion the seats
quite comfortable the steering wheels pleasing to hold and this adjustable
center armrest helps to perfect your driving position
you face a gorgeously rendered dashboard that exudes attention to detail the
latest version of Audi’s Multimedia Interface infotainment system is easier
than ever to use and the available outtie virtual cockpit instrumentation
is sensational there are a few quirks to the controls the shifter takes getting
used to an observation I noted about last year’s a4 sedan also it takes some
memorization before you can operate the centre console controls purely by touch
otherwise it doesn’t take a lot of effort to figure out how to use the a5 s
instruments and controls rear seat room is cramped feeling more confining than
the a4 sedan once you’re inside the car which sits quite low to the ground
you’re happy enough especially because there’s a triple zone climate control
system as standard equipment but getting in and getting out is not easy thanks to
the rakish roofline especially if you’re a bigger person
like me of course the a5 Sportback sleek appearance is just one benefit of this
design approach the other is extra cargo space and utility at first the cargo
space doesn’t look all that large but it’s useful shape helps you to maximize
its potential howdy says it holds 21.8 cubic feet of
cargo and with the rear seat folded down it provides a maximum of 35 cubic feet
of space now in a couple of days my family and I are heading to the airport
in this car and just to make sure it will accommodate all of our luggage I
loaded two full-sized suitcases a roll aboard two kids sized suitcases my
overstuffed camera and laptop backpack and two kids sized backpacks into the
trunk and it all fit with no problem but you want to know what doesn’t fit in the
trunk a compact folding stroller you can’t put
it in wheels first and you can’t put it aside – side won’t know as far as
technology is concerned the a5 is equipped with the usual suspects for a
luxury car and their either standard or optional among them four features call
special attention to themselves the first is outtie virtual cockpit
which is a digital instrumentation screen with some really slick features
you can enjoy a more traditional gauge cluster or you can shrink the gauges and
cycle through the driver information systems various screens by far my
favorite thing is the navigation map display it features Google Earth imagery
it shows real-time traffic and it gives the cabin significant wow factor if you
get the prestige trim level the a5 has a head-up display now my test car doesn’t
have this particular feature but it projects your navigation route right
onto the windshield and in complex intersections that’ll show you exactly
the path that you need to follow it also shows current speed and the speed limit
on the road you’re traveling Howdy’s Multimedia Interface infotainment system
offers handwriting recognition technology now and that allows the
driver to input information using a fingertip on the main MMI controller now
it’s fairly easy to use but personally I don’t get the appeal of this I mean why
not just use the voice recognition system vehicle exit assist is also on my
test car and this is useful for people who need to parallel park on a busy
street and what it does is it will warn the front occupants not to open their
door when it detects an approaching vehicle or a person on a bicycle
finally the optional 19 inch speaker of Bang & Olufsen sound system deserves
special mention it sounds terrific its standard with prestige trim and it’s
available on the Premium Plus model for just nine hundred and fifty dollars I
highly recommend it there are two versions of the a5
Sportback from which you can choose this one the a5 has a turbocharged 2-liter
four-cylinder engine the other one which is called the s5 has a turbocharged 3
liter v6 engine if maximum acceleration and handling is important to you then
you should get the s5 but that’s not to say that the a5 won’t throw you because
aside from a small delay in off the line response my test car drives like a
guided missile and yes that is the exact same thing that occurred to me when I
was driving the a4 about this time last year the turbocharged 2-litre generates
252 horsepower between 5,000 and 6,000 rpm and it will sub 273 pound-feet of
torque between 1600 and 4500 rpm now what that means is that basically across
nearly the entire rev range the engines either making maximum torque
or maximum horsepower and the result of that is speed howdy claims that 60 miles
an hour will arrive in 5.7 seconds the same as the a4 sedan despite the sport
backs extra 122 pounds of weight outtie 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual
transmission distributes the power and every a5 is equipped with standard
Quattro all-wheel drive paddle shifters come in handy when you’re really
hustling the car which is likely going to be most of the time my test vehicle
also has an optional set of 19-inch wheels that includes 250 535 r19 summer
performance tires and a sport-tuned suspension
as you might imagine grip is extraordinary but my test car is lacking
the optional adaptive damping suspension that came on the a4 sedan that I
evaluated last year that emission combined with the sport backs extra
weight the larger wheels the lower profile tires the stiffer suspension and
maybe even the hatchback body style produced subtle but discernible
differences in the ride and handling for example more suspension noise than I
remember from the a4 made its way into the a5 s cabin as well as more impact
harshness and road noise I also thought that the a5 Sportback displayed a little
bit more body motion when you’re going around high speed curves with undulating
pavement but none of these traits are cause for concern as I said the
differences are very minor at both the a4 and a5 are a blast to drive as was
true last year of the a4 high summer heat did not phase this a 5s brakes and
by toggling the drive mode select switch you can adjust drivetrain response and
steering effort levels always fun never boring the a5 Sportback exceeds dynamic
expectations whether you’re loafing along on the freeway slicing and dicing
past slower vehicles driven by people who either don’t know or don’t care what
the left lane is supposed to be used for when you’re diving around city corners
when you’re blazing down canyon roads when you’re trying to get by guys and
Kia souls with surfboards on the top of the roof this car is engineered to
entertain as proof I’m sorry to report that the car returned no better than
twenty two point five miles per gallon on my Tesla and that came in much lower
than the EPA’s rating of 27 miles per gallon
yeah that’s probably my fault at the start of this review I wondered if the
a5 Sportback is worth the price premium over the a4 sedan the rakish ly hands
some good looks and the added utility are undeniably appealing the less
comfortable rear seat and the higher sticker price not so much basically the
choice between the two comes down to your personal preferences and
requirements in terms of where the a5 Sportback fits into the broader luxury
car segment it’s only competitors are the BMW 4-series grand coupe and believe
it or not the upcoming Buick Regal GS and Kia’s thinner the BMW is no slouch
and while the verdict is still out on the Buick and Kia which will no doubt
provide compelling value neither of those brands resonates with luxury
buyers quite like an Audi does regardless of how things shake out know
that the a5 Sportback is an absolutely terrific car that sets a high bar for
its competition you’re unlikely to regret buying one be sure to check out
my full review of the a5 Sportback on cargurus.com and if you found this
review helpful please share this video and subscribe to our youtube channel for
all of us here at CarGurus thank you for watching you

48 comments

  1. Beautiful design… except maybe the horizontal air vents that stretches across the entire width of the dashboard. IMO, the Kia Stinger will be an excellent alternative to the A5 Sportback.

  2. I know you said the particular car you tested doesn't have the ventilated seats but do you know how long it takes for them to get cool from a cold start?

  3. The sportback will age well. Chris I had 2 questions:

    – Would you rather advise buying the Stinger or the Arteon over this for the value one gets (in their base trims)?
    – Will buying the A5 Sportback be more expensive to maintain for long-term ownership?

    You guys in US get so much for the $. In Canada, prices are so high of cars, it's ridiculous.

  4. Great job by audi getting you a car that scoots for under $50K well equipped. The practicality of the hatch is perfect for those with dogs.

  5. I have had ventilated seats in cars. If your car doesn't bake in sun for hours you probably won't need them, and if the HVAC system is working properly you won't need them after a few minutes. Nice feature, but I wouldn't toss away $1300 for them, especially as when you trade the car the dealer won't pay a dime more for them.

  6. That Audi spec on cargo space is just wrong. You can obviously see that folding the rear seats adds a lot more than 14 cu ft of added space. The Volvo V60 is 43 cu ft and it is a slightly smaller interior.

  7. So big now. The A3 is perfect size and looks better in my opinion. Wish the A3 had a manual option on top trim engines.

  8. my S5 Sportback has a ton of rear seat room. At 5-10, 220 lb former college athlete with a 48 chest, plenty. Not sure how tall you are bud, from the looks of those pretzel stick arms, you should fit fine. Strange. Good review however. S5 is a whole different weapon, but mine is close to $70k. Be well.

  9. Terrific review and great overview of the differences between a A5 and A4. I am looking forward to seeing the new Buick Regals and the Kia Stinger…

  10. I want an A5 Sportback with a stick and the sport plus package. Why oh why can't I get an A5 Sportback with a stick when I can get an A4 or A5 coupe with a stick? Why Audi?! Why?!

  11. Beautiful car. I can’t wait for the Arteon to hit America so I can choose between it, this or the CLA45 as my next upgrade from my current 2.0T CC 😊

  12. The sound system is not that good. The bass sounds very distorted compared to my old 2015 Audi a6 with Bose sound system

  13. damn i never wanted to get an audi instead of my mercedes because i hated the a4 and a5 design but the sportback looks so good! it reminds me of the rs7 which is my favorite audi that i cant afford yet lol

  14. My goodness Audi makes the most beautiful cars these days. I swear they blow everyone out of the water in my opinion

  15. Great review. Are the tires the same as the A4? I currently have the A4 and was thinking of upgrading to the A5. I have two sets of tires for the A4 and was wondering whether I could use them on the A5?

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