Students spot car without its disguise on
25 June 2009

Audi's A5 Sportback has been spied testing at the University of California San Diego.

It's not clear why the sleek five-door coupe is at the university, but a series of photos taken by students have been posted on specialist Audi website www.fourtitude.com. It is thought to be a higher-spec model, as it has the sportier five-spoke alloys from the A5 coupe.

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Audi has previously only released a teaser image and an artist's sketch of the car. You can see them, plus more spy pictures of the car, by in our Audi A5 Sportback gallery

In the student's photo the front end of the car is masked, but the rear end is clearly shown for the first time. The front and rear of the car are closely related to the A5 coupe, with an extended middle section for the two extra frameless rear doors.

The Sportback has a coupe-like silouette with a lower roofline than the A4 with a steepily tapering hatch into a neat rear spoiler.

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Despite this Audi says the car will have comparable head and legroom. The C-pillar of the Sportback differs from the coupe, with a dramatic kink at the back.

Joining the coupe and cabrio A5s in the line-up, the Sportback is likely to fit above the A4 range, which it is based on, at a price premium. The entry-level A5 Sportback will be fitted with a 168bhp 2.0 TDI engine, with a price of around £27,000.

There is also a 3.0-litre V6 TDI with 237bhp, the 2.7 TDI with 187bhp, and two petrol units, the 208bhp 2.0 TFSI and 261bhp 3.2 V6. All engines are direct injection.

Audi has hinted that a cheaper model, possibly the 141bhp 2.0 TDI, will be joining the range in 2010.

There could even be an RS5 version with an updated version of the last RS4’s 4.2-litre V8, retuned to give more power with fewer emissions.

This model would use a quattro drivetrain with Audi’s double-clutch S Tronic transmission, the first time an Audi RS product has featured twin-clutch technology.

The Audi A5 Sportback is expected to be officially displayed for the first time either at the Frankfurt motor show this September or at the Audi Centenary Celebration in July. It will go on sale in the UK in October.

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Our Verdict

Audi A5

The Audi A5 is a classy coupé, hatchback and cabriolet, but are there talents beneath the pretty bodywork?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week