From £47,8758
The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up

Our Verdict

Audi S5

Audi’s second-fiddle sports coupé moves to a turbo V6

  • First Drive

    2017 Audi S5 Sportback UK review

    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive

    2017 Audi S5

    New engine adds to S5’s appeal but not by enough to counter the claims of rivals. A fast and precise-handling coupé but wants for real driver engagement

What is it?

A five-door version of the Audi S5 Coupé, for exactly the same £47,000 price tag, and what’s not to like about that? Well, not a lot, it turns out.

While the Audi S5 Sportback uses exactly the same 349bhp, turbocharged 3.0 V6, 8-spd Tiptronic and permanent quattro four-wheel drive setup as the coupé, it does have a 6cm longer wheelbase, so there is a bit more to it than 'just' the extra doors.

That added length has allowed for a decent sized boot beneath the useful hatchback opening (rather than the booted opening of the S5 Coupé) and you also get a three-person rear bench rather than the Coupé’s strictly two-seater job. 

What's it like?

Discreet yet rampant in the way it gets up the road. Stick it in Dynamic and you get the piped-in engine noise to make it more obvious just how much speed you’re gaining - and it’ll be a lot, given the voracious way the V6 spins through to its redline. But even then, the S5 feels definitively and unashamedly more fast, luxury GT rather than sports car.

The same can be said of its handling. Our car came on standard 19in alloys but with £900 adaptive dampers, which are well worth adding. Even over quite severely roughed-up British B-roads, our S5 smoothed out the niggly stuff, leaving you with a bit of heaving over long wave bumps but otherwise a composed and unflustered ride. Needless to say, lope out onto the motorway and you’ll be relaxing all the way to the boardroom, given that refinement and directional stability are as excellent as you'd expect but for some slightly thrummy tyre noise in the background.

Our car also had the £950 Dynamic steering, which brings a variable-ratio rack. We’d steer clear (excuse the pun) of this particular addition, since it makes for an overly aggressive turn-in at higher speeds that can make the car feel quite nervous at just the wrong moment. The standard steering will be more progressive and generally a bit easier to get on with. You’ll still be left wanting if you’re after something with real character and involvement, though. Crushingly effective the S5 Sportback might be, but it’s no fingertip-tingling driver's car; a BMW 440i Gran Coupé certainly feels a bit more on its toes.

Given the interior benefits of the S5 Sportback, you’d have to really want the more purposeful looks of the Coupé to plump for that instead. Three passengers in the back of the Sportback is going to be a bit uncomfortable, but two adults will have decent legroom even behind a tall driver, while headroom is a bit more at a premium but will be okay for sub-six footers

The boot is a good size - deeper than you might expect and with a good floor space, so it'll be big enough for whatever boot-fillings an A5 Sportback buyer is likely to be concerned with. The 40/20/40 split rear bench also fold down to leave a smooth, long loadbay, so it’ll manage for the odd Ikea trip as well.

Everything in the driver’s environment is seriously impressive. You get the 8.3in screen with sat-nav , DAB and two USB inputs, as well as electrically adjustable, heated nappa leather sports seats, and a long list of other comfort and safety features as standard, so you don’t need to plunder the options list even though you probably will. 

Should I buy one?

It’d be very easy at this point to start muttering about niche choices. But in reality, this is not a niche list of requirements at all, and if it happens to match your wants and needs, then the S5 Sportback is a very fine choice. Comfortable yet sporty-ish, practical yet sleek, rampantly fast yet with the potential to do a fair economy when you hit the motorway.

Sure, a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé will deliver more satisfaction if you’re erring towards wanting ‘proper’ sports car dynamics. Having said that, many buyers want the security of four-wheel drive, and with adaptive dampers the S5 will very likely ride with more aplomb than the Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic. So, yes - if you’re looking for something of this ilk, the Audi S5 Sportback should be top of your shortlist. 

Audi S5 Sportback

Location Northamptonshire, UK; On sale Now; Price £47,000; Engine 2995cc, V6, turbo, petrol; Power 349bhp at 5400-6400rpm; Torque 369lb ft at 1370-4500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd auto, four-wheel drive; Kerb weight 1660kg; 0-62mph 4.7sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 37.7mpg; CO2/tax band 170g/km, 31% Rivals  BMW 440i Gran Coupe, Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC

Join the debate

Comments
16

19 January 2017
Anyone who drives all over Europe all year round will appreciate the four wheel drive and adaptive suspension. With its good performance and road hugging skills, it seems like a good car. The BMW might be the more fun, but might not handle the icy kind of winters we seem to be getting of late.

24 January 2017
get the xDrive (AWD) version of the 440i Gran Coupe and have the best of both worlds (assuming you like how the BMW looks)?

19 January 2017
A favourible review of a fast Audi? I love this car.

jer

19 January 2017
As usual though a 440i Grand Coupe can be had on a great deal so I'd like to see if you could get the S5 price lower. Otherwise a steel in a couple of years if you could ever find one with adaptive shocks.

Is that 0-60 right? 6sec would have thought 4wd would have brought it down to 5 dead.

19 January 2017
For removing the lotus story from your site. Thanks again

19 January 2017
Shame about the nasty looking tablet stuck to the dash - I couldn't drive it with that thing staring me in the face.

20 January 2017
jensen_healey wrote:

Shame about the nasty looking tablet stuck to the dash - I couldn't drive it with that thing staring me in the face.

BMW and Merc have the same, so what? Deal with it.

20 January 2017
manicm wrote:
jensen_healey wrote:

Shame about the nasty looking tablet stuck to the dash - I couldn't drive it with that thing staring me in the face.

BMW and Merc have the same, so what? Deal with it.

With that attitude I guess you are Audi designer...or sales person

19 January 2017
its a 5 door hatchback, if Ford called the Mondeo a sportback they would be ridiculed, and its no different, except Ford do the courtesy of giving it a rear wiper.. And before anyone starts about it being a Coupe or something, remember Audi call the 5 door A1 and A3 sportbacks as well.

20 January 2017
Citytiger wrote:

its a 5 door hatchback, if Ford called the Mondeo a sportback they would be ridiculed, and its no different, except Ford do the courtesy of giving it a rear wiper.. And before anyone starts about it being a Coupe or something, remember Audi call the 5 door A1 and A3 sportbacks as well.

Audi are not calling the A5 Sportback a coupe, so what exactly is your point?

I do agree with you on the omission of a rear wiper though.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals