When the A5 was first launched by Audi, it was an interesting step forward for the brand- a proper GT-esque coupe model that was a step away from the sedans and wagons and hatchbacks that they had become known for. It blended elements of German design and Audi DNA with muscule-car like lines, producing a car that was attractive to a wide range of audiences. From this came the A5 Sportback, which was a 5-door model that came with a large opening rear hatch- essentially a smaller counterpart to the A7 Sportback.
Seven years on, we see the successor to the first A5 Sportback. It retains the combination of functionality and form that made the first A5 Sportback appealing, but has gone through an extensive rework and is entirely new from the ground up. Most significant are the savings of weight through new materials and construction processes, allowing Audi to shed up to 85 kilograms from its heavy shell. The A5 Sportback now sits at a 1,470 kilograms- making it a little more competitive in terms of weight.
In its home market, the A5 Sportback will launch with a wide range of engines. Two TFSI petrol powerplants and three TDI diesel powerplants will lead the rollout, with options of a 6-speed manual, 7-speed dual clutch, or 8-speed tiptronic gearboxes. The 2.0 TFSI is no doubt among these engines, being the more powerful petrol variant for the A5 Sportbacks. The S5 Sportback remains as the range topping model, with a 3.0-litre V6 TFSI engine pushing out a healthy 354 hp and 500 Nm of torque.
The chassis has naturally been improved for more comfort and agility and the like, but it is the interior where we will see the largest changes. There is more space now for both passengers and cargo, with the boot space increased to a whopping 480 litres of space- making it best in class. Managing to make the luggage area free of intrusion from the wheel wells also offers more space on the whole, wiith a 40:20:40 split folding rear seat for even more flexibility space wise.
Up front, the Audi virtual cockpit appears once again- placing much of the functionality right in front of the driver. The 12.3-inch TFT monitor has been a favourite for us in the various models in which it appears, most prominently in the TT-S. There is also an optional heads up display that projects relevant data up onto the windscreen for even easier viewing. A number of options for the entertainment system are available, not least among which is wthe wireless charging and pairing via Apple Car Play or Android Auto.
Driver assistance systems are also the norm here, with updates and tweaks implemented over the years making the systems more effective. Perhaps most interesting is the Stop&Go adaptive cruise control that allows the car to control its speed and distance in moving traffic at up to 65 km/h- the perfect tool for the mornign commute. New and important safety features include park assist, cross traffic assist rear, exit warning, collision avoidance assist and turn assist as well as the Audi pre sense systems. Camera-based recognition of traffic signs rounds out the lineup.
Audi Malaysia has hinted before that we may very well get these models in the future- the S models in particular. If that really is the case, then we can look forward to having this pair of exciting liftbacks- perhaps the best blend of practicality and the coupe form. While it may have distanced itself from the A7 in form, the new A5 Sportback looks a little more fleshed out and less compromised on the whole.