Ingolstadt-based German premium manufacturer Audi has always walked the line between sportiness and a sedate approach to sportiness with its line of passenger cars. And it’s more of the same here with the launch of the all-new second generation Audi A5 Sportback.
The new model will be rolling out to key markets starting later this year with an Australian launch earmarked for mid-2017.
Earlier this year it revealed the A5 Coupe and the A4 sedan, bringing new technologies, improved powertrains, and a design that was more evolutionary, say, that its two most immediate rivals. The Sportback, like the 2007 original, melds the everyday practicality and all-round appeal of the A4 with the sleek lines of the two-door A5.
In following with the design norms that current-generation Audis have adopted, the A5 Sportback gains an overall more angular body while keeping the swooping silhouette, stretched wheelbase, short overhangs, wraparound front lid that made its predecessors so recognisable.
Far from being cramped as a consequence of a coupe-like roofline, the new car has gained 17mm in lateral cabin space while a reorienting of fixtures has resulted in an impressive 24mm in additional rear knee room while there’s an extra 11mm in shoulder room between the two front passengers.
A definite step over the first generation A5 Sportback would be the redesigned dashboard and front panel, which now features a long, narrowly-arranged instrument panel with fewer buttons and a simpler layout thanks to a tighter integration with the Audi MMI touch interface via an 8.3-inch central display. As an option, buyers can choose to have the futuristic Virtual Cockpit in lieu of the traditional driver-facing instrument cluster.
A premium Bang & Olufsen audio system can be optioned as well, along with the Audi Phone Box which connects smartphones to an onboard antenna to boost signal strength and provide wireless inductive charging for devices that support the feature.
Audi is offering the new A5 Sportback with powertrains that reflect those of the A4 quite closely, with a choice two TFSI petrol motors and three TDI turbodiesel that produce between 140kW and 210kW while delivering an average of 22 percent improved fuel economy and a 17 percent power gain over the first-generation model.
Along with the more typical A5 Sportback tiers, Audi has also revealed the sportier S5 Sportback which comes has a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine that can have it accelerate to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds. Power figures there should mirror the S4 sedan, with 260kW and 500Nm available under the right foot.
Naturally, the A5 Sportback will come with Audi’s excellent S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox. However, a six-speed manual and an eight-speed torque converter automatic will also be available, sending drive to the front wheels or all four via the Quattro all-wheel drive system, though we suspect the latter transmission will not be offered for the S5 Sportback.
The new car rides, like the new A4 (B9), on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform and features a redesigned five-link setup for the front suspension while a five-link construction replaces the trapezoidal-link rear suspension used previously. Interestingly, however, adaptive dampers are not a standard feature, requiring an additional investment to upgrade over the conventional spring and damper setup.