Audi A5 Sportback

The Essentials

  • Price from £25,845
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 61.4mpg
  • What is it? Audi has made a five-door hatchback based on the standard A4 look like a glamorous proposition.

Great

  • It's a hatchback, so more versatile than a saloon
  • Hasn't lost the stylish looks of the coupe version
  • Available as a five-seater

Gripes

  • Petite types will need a lasso to secure the high-flying tailgate
  • There's a high lip to haul luggage over into the boot
  • Not as good to drive as we'd expect
  • Drive

    We love the engines, but Audi's end of term report is a definite case of 'could do better' on ride, handling and refinement

  • Inside

    Too many irritations: offset pedals, limited visibility and fussy controls

  • Safety

    Standard kit is comprehensive and optional high-tech warning systems will do their best to keep you out of trouble altogether

  • Reliability

    Not a match for the car's quality but no worse than average

  • Space

    Available in four or five-seat versions; all have a high boot lip, high-rising tailgate and rear seats that don't fold far enough for a flat loadbay

  • Standard and extras

    SE models are a safe bet; go for S line if you want sportier touches or S5 for the full works

  • What's it like to drive?

    The entry-level engines are strong and flexible enough to make spending more on the car a matter of choice rather than necessity. Although there's a choice of suspension settings, none fully resolve the A5 Sportback's ride and handling dilemmas. It grips the road reassuringly, but the car can't seem to decide whether to waft along gracefully, grand tourer style, or instead play the sports car role and pick up every ripple in the road. Wind noise is a little intrusive, due to its pillar-less doors, while racket from the tyres and exhaust can also become irritating.

  • What's it like inside?

    As you'd expect, the A5 doesn't leave the house looking anything less than immaculate. It's very comfortable to sit in, too. The premium feel of the cabin is let down by a few annoying niggles. The pedals are too far offset, and the clutch pedal sits in a recess which is enough to irritate every time you change gear. Visibility isn't great, either.
    For rear passengers, choose between two individual seats or a bench for three  either way there's lots of room. The boot is a reasonable size but has a high lip to haul luggage over, although a high-rising tailgate aids access. Unfortunately, the rear seats don't fold far enough to create a fully flat loadbay.

  • How reliable is it?

    Standard safety kit is comprehensive and optional high-tech warning systems will do their best to keep you out of trouble altogether. Euro NCAP hasn't crash tested the A5, but the A4 on which it is based scored an impressive 93% for adult safety, and 84% for children. Despite feeling beautifully built, the A5 was ranked 'below average' for mechanical reliability in the latest JD Power survey - a disappointing result.

  • Should I buy one?

    There's a big mark up over an A4 saloon, but as well as the extra style and practicality, resale values will be stronger for the A5 Sportback. Even the cheapest engines offer good performance. The 1.8 turbocharged petrol version is perfect for low-mileage drivers, while the 2.0 diesel is much more efficient, with low emissions that make it a great choice of company car. All are fitted with stop-start technology to keep fuel costs down, but SE trim adds most of the kit you'd want (and future buyers will expect) in a 30k car, such as leather seats and rear parking sensors.