The packaging on the A5 Sportback is superb
There's plenty of space in the boot, which is sure to appeal to family buyers
The TDI engine has plenty of grunt and is excellent on a long-distance cruise
The Sportback is at its best when Dynamic mode is selected
There's plenty of toys included as you'd expect from an Audi
The 3.0-litre unit produces 237bhp and 295lb ft of torque
The seats are comfortable enough for long-distance driving
The Sportback harks back to the days of the Rover SD1
The seven-speed DSG 'box is jerky
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What is it?
There’s no doubt about it, the Audi A5 Sportback is a superbly packaged car. Admirers of the Rover 800 fastback or iconic SD1, will see the advantages immediately.
The extra space and fastback-style boot make it ideal for any family with a couple of children, particularly if there’s a dog to be carted around as well.
As icing on the cake, the fit and finish is immaculate throughout, in a way that only Audi seems currently able to achieve. Combine that with the looks that really make you proud to have the keys - or black electronic blob - in your pocket and the Audi dealers shouldn’t have to get out of bed in the morning to sell this car.
What’s it like?
It’s all the more annoying, then, to find that it doesn’t live up to its billing on the road.
The 3.0-litre turbodiesel has plenty of grunt, but is badly paired with the seven-speed DSG auto ‘box: progress through the lower gears is jerky unless you’re absolutely caning it, and the step-off is so slow that scenes from your childhood flash before your eyes when you pull out at busy T-junctions.
Things improve considerably if you swap over into dynamic mode. The drivetrain feels more responsive, the sports differential setting makes the car more agile in tighter corners, and the stiffer ride improves the body control.
Whichever setting you choose, however, you can’t help feeling that the ride is always sub-optimal on British roads.
Should I buy one?
On a 500-mile test drive across the UK, the A5 Sportback proved to be a quick, relaxing and economical long-distance cruiser.
It just needs to bring these smooth, comfortable qualities to its urban behaviour and Audi will have a winner on its hands.