With updated looks and new mild-hybrid technology, the new face-lifted Audi A5 Sportback Quattro impresses with its sportiness and overall comfort.
Stunning looks, strong performance and comfortable long-distance cruising are traits that one usually associates with coupes. But what if we told you that there is a car that has those traits, plus the addition of two extra doors and everyday practicality?
Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, the new face-lifted Audi A5 Sportback.
Sleek, sexy exterior
Standing out from its competitors, the face-lifted Audi A5 features a more sleek and aggressive outlook than its predecessor. Silver accents on the bumpers highlight the car's curves. The honeycomb grille at the front is now flatter and wider.
Ventilation slits above the grille are also a homage to the classic Audi Sport Quattro from 1984.
Sensors now rest where the fog lights are traditionally located. These sensors help to monitor driving aids such as the adaptive cruise control. The A5 also comes with Matrix LED headlights and LED rear lights featuring dynamic turn indicators.
The most obvious design feature of the car is the sloping rear end, with a roofline that tapers towards the back giving the car its signature coupe look. The coupe design trait extends to the windows too, which are frameless.
At the back, a new diffuser insert with trapezoidal tailpipes compliments the aggressive styling at the front.
Cargo space is plentiful in the Audi A5, with 465 litres for all your practical needs. The rear seats can be folded down in a 40/20/40 configuration. The Sportback design also allows for easy access into the boot for bulky items.
Additionally, the mild-hybrid 12-volt battery is stored here, underneath the boot's floor where the spare wheel is originally placed.
The unit we tested was the more powerful Quattro variant, with 19-inch cast aluminium wheels that compliment the design language of the car.
This particular unit is painted with a colour known by Audi as “District Green Metallic”. Not being bias, but we feel this is the best colour choice for the new A5. It gives the car a sort of understated but classy appearance, without making it look too flashy.
Professional & modern interior
The interior of the new Audi A5 is a nice blend of premium materials. The leather steering wheel feels good to hold, and all of the buttons in the car have a high quality feel to them.
The front seats are great. They are not body-hugging sport seats like those you get in other cars, but they are sufficient in keeping you in place when cornering enthusiastically.
The rear seats are decent, with enough legroom to fit 3 adults. However, the rear headroom might pose a problem for taller individuals due to the sloping roofline.
3-zone air-conditioning is available, with 2-zones in the front and 1 at the back. The buttons to control the air-conditioning can also sense when your finger is on them and will display more information on the small digital display. A neat touch.
The instrument cluster is a 12.3-inch display dubbed the Audi Virtual Cockpit plus. With three different views, the driver is able to toggle and display information such as the navigation map via the multi-function buttons located on the steering wheel.
Above the instrument cluster, a heads-up display (HUD) provides the driver with important information, allowing him to focus on the road.
The biggest change in the interior is the new 10.1-inch touchscreen located in the centre. Audi calls it the MMI touch display, and the screen enables you to control the car’s various settings. Apple Carplay and Android Auto do not seem to be included in the A5, but Audi's native Bluetooth interface is easy to use and gets the job done in a similar fashion.
There is a SIM card installed in the car, but it can only perform functions such as weather forecasts. If you wish to have hands-free calls, you would still need to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
The MMI touch display can be a little challenging to navigate at first, but it is very responsive and overall great to use. However, the new system does come with some flaws. Unlike previous-generation models, there is no dedicated MMI control knob.
When testing the car, even though the touchscreen is great to use, it does not feel intuitive to use. Without the control knob, the system slightly loses its tactile feel, which takes the experience away from an otherwise fantastic MMI interface.
Host of safety features
The Audi A5 has an abundance of features that serve to aid the driver during journeys.
The MMI navigation plus system enables drivers to navigate without the need for a smartphone. The map can either be displayed on the touch display or inside the instrument cluster.
Adaptive cruise control senses the vehicle in front and automatically slows the car down to maintain a safe distance. Active Lane Assist automatically steers and maintains the car in its lane while on the move, such as on expressways. Not to be confused with autonomous steering, the car still requires the driver’s hands to be on the steering wheel.
Lane change warning, with lights on the inside of the side mirrors, helps to indicate if there is another vehicle in the car’s blind spots.
Dynamic and sporty drive
The new A5 Sportback comes in two variants. The base model comes with front-wheel drive and a 2.0-litre engine that produces a respectable 150bhp. The Quattro all-wheel-drive variant, which is the unit we tested, also comes with the same engine, however, the horsepower numbers have been bumped to a beefier 245bhp.
We took the car through its paces, and were very impressed with the overall driving experience. The engine delivers healthy doses of power throughout the rev range, and it compliments the seven-speed Steptronic gearbox well, which delivers quick shifts with minimal delays.
Couple that with the fantastic all-wheel-drive Quattro system, the result is a car that darts into corners and effortlessly closes up gaps to other vehicles.
Although the suspension system is firm, it still offers a comfortable ride while still being able to handle well. The car also features active dampers that greatly reduce body roll, even on uneven road surfaces. If driving comfort is what you seek, the A5 can be set into efficiency or comfort modes, turning the car into a gentle cruising machine.
Instead of a traditional starter motor, the car has a belt alternator starter that connects directly to the crankshaft and uses the mild-hybrid battery to start up the car. The mild-hybrid system enables the A5 Sportback to coast with the engine switched off between 55 and 160 km/h. During this time, the lithium-ion battery powers the electrical consumers.
The auto start-stop feature will sense when the vehicle ahead has moved off and will turn the engine back on automatically. It can operate from as low as 22 km/h, and the engine fires back into life as soon as the driver depresses the accelerator.
Overall, the new Audi A5 Sportback is a really satisfying car to drive. On one hand, it can be a civilised city cruiser, allowing you to ferry your family to Orchard in style and comfort.
However, once you drop them off and put your foot down, the car changes personalities and becomes alive, turning into a sports car that is dynamic and fun to drive.
You’re essentially getting two different cars all wrapped up in one neat package, and that is why this car is truly a masterpiece.
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Engine: 1984cc, Turbocharged 4-cylinder in-line 16-valve, Petrol
Fuel Consumption: 14km/L
0-100km/h: 6 seconds
Top Speed: 250km/h
Drivetrain: 7-speed Automatic Steptronic, All-wheel drive
Brakes: Ventilated Disc Brakes
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,757mm x 1,843mm x 1,386mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres
Boot Capacity: 465 litres
Multi-Function Steering wheel
Front and rear dynamic indicators
Park assist with 360 degree cameras
Audi smartphone interface
Audi virtual cockpit plus
Audi active lane assist (without road sign recognition)
Audi pre sense rear and basic
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