What is it?
Here’s a good reason to put the Audi A5 Sportback on your buying list – a fifth seatbelt. This £220 option, which makes the cabin into a family-friendly 2+3-seater, turns the stylish Sportback into a practical, alternative-looking sports hatch, if you feel the need to squeeze in an extra child or teen passenger.
Significant numbers do, Audi says, adding that the four-seat cabin standard on the original Sportback gave too many people a reason not to buy. As a result, it predicts improved Sportback sales at roughly similar levels to the two-door A5.
What’s it like?
There are other significant reasons to like this facelifted and revised Sportback, notably a more compliant ride, even in hard core S Line spec, and better fuel economy/emissions, which reduce running costs.
Specifically, the rear axle features revised bushings while the dynamic setting in the optional £220 Drive Select adjustable suspension features revised damper and steering tune. It retains responsive steering, snappy throttle response and good body control, yet allows the suspension to breath over bumps; the effect possibly boosted by the optional 18inch Dunlop winter tyres fitted to our test car.
Also new is a Drive Select efficiency setting, the fifth in the menu, which dulls throttle response to improve fuel economy, and ensures the A5 stays in touch with the new BMW 3-Series, which offers a similar dashboard-selectable economy program.
With a more powerful and torquier 2.0-litre diesel under the bonnet, Audi has raised the whole A5 range’s game in the face of tough competition coming from the new 3-series.
In fact Audi is claiming the Sportback as the most frugal in its class with 60.1mpg. We saw over 50mpg on the trip meter at times, although that dropped back to the late-30s during more spirited driving. And the headline 120g/km figure is strong for road tax and company car tax calculations.
Should I buy one?
The A5 Sportback still looks fresh, sporty and quite expensive. With an extra dose of practicality, it makes a much better case as an interesting alternative to a regulation four-door sports saloon.