What is it?
So the theory goes, saloons look and feel more upmarket than hatches. I don’t buy that. And I certainly don’t buy it when it comes to the Audi A5 Sportback.
For my money it’s considerably more glamorous than the A4 saloon and not just for its relative rarity. It’s sleeker, prettier and more muscular than the four-door. Not to mention a mite more practical too.
And as there’s no RS5 version on the horizon, this S5 Sportback we’re driving for the first time is about as glamorous as the model’s going to get for now. Like the S4 saloon, it’s powered by a 328bhp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 and comes as standard with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
What’s it like?
A supercharged six is an esoteric engine in this type of car but it’s easily one of the best things about the S5, especially when paired to the DSG ’box.
It’s lusty and linear right up to the red line and provides explosive overtaking potential from pretty much any speed. No, it doesn’t sound quite as spirited as the V8 that used to power the S-badged Audis. But it’s hardly shy and retiring at full chat, either, and there are clear fuel economy and emissions advantages.
Some of the usual Audi vices are in evidence, though, such as a lumpy low-speed ride and numb handling. Nothing wrong with the crisp way it tackles corners, however, though the caveat is that our test car was fitted with the optional sports differential and ‘dynamic’ steering. But even those pricey extras don’t result in a lot of information being telegraphed back to the driver.
Inside, the A5’s offset driving position isn’t such a problem in a two-pedal car. Elsewhere, it’s the usual solid Audi look and feel with added flourishes such as terrific S5-specific seats. There’s good luggage and passenger space too.
Should I buy one?
If you’re a company car buyer, the S5 Sportback makes little fiscal sense and you’d be far better off with one of the diesels. And either way there are some extremely talented rivals to choose from if you’ve got £40k to play with.
That said, with its pace, abilities and looks it makes a great case for itself.
Audi S5 Sportback
Price: £40,125; Top speed: 155mph; 0-62mph: 5.4sec; Economy: 30.1mpg; CO2: 219g/km; Engine: V6, 2955cc, supercharged, petrol; Power: 328bhp at 5500-7000rpm; Torque: 325lb ft at 2900-5300rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd dual-clutch auto