IN 2016, at the Audi museum mobile in Ingolstadt, Germany put on an exhibition titled “A History in Twelve Coupés”. It was a tribute to the brand’s evolution in innovation and design of past and present. About the same period, Audi unveiled three dashing coupés: the TT, A5, and S5. It was no coincidence that all three models were coupés, but indicative of the rising popularity of sleek sloping roofline models. And it was not just with the four-ring automaker — it was across the entire industry.
From the Germans to the Japanese and the Italians, every automaker was consciously rolling out their renditions of a coupé and spawned several new classifications of models. It was like how Sports Utility Vehicles gave birth to crossovers, and Sports Activity Vehicles from crossovers. So, when Audi pulled the curtain on the 4-door A5 Sportback coupé, it wasn’t unexpected — it was simply a question of when. Meanwhile, its competitors also offered their versions of 4-door coupé to join the race in the same segment.
Aesthetically, it wasn’t drastically different from its A5 coupé sibling; rather it was updated with all the touches and details to make its sporty presence felt in the family portrait. When it comes to upgrades and replacements for an outgoing model, Audi’s modus operandi has been a classic textbook success strategy — design and build them well, and they will sell. Naturally, it was a hit, particularly with the Audi A5 Sportback. Production numbers for the A5 gathered by Statista.com (referencing Audi’s automobile production from FY 2014 to FY 2017, by model (in units)) reported an increase from about 45,000 in 2014 units to almost 77, 000 units in 2017.
While the new design A5 Sportback may be something for the brand to gloat about, it may also signal car buyers’ intention to go beyond the traditional entry models such as the A3, A4 or BMW 3-Series. Either way, the A5 was a great candidate that offers performance and features above its class. So, what can you expect from the new release?
Audi designers have updated the new Sportback with dramatic shapes and athletic styling cues including a longer wheelbase, more pronounced side fenders, and a wraparound front lid. The three-dimensionally modelled single frame grille is significantly flatter and wider than the outgoing model.
Performance and Drive
In Singapore, the brand offers a new 2.0 TFSI engine variant that performs amicably on straight roads and with good agility on turns. The 190 horsepower under its hood reacts responsively and smoothly. With an innovative B-cycle technology and the new seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, it’s quick and efficient, and yet it doesn’t quite make itself heard when you lay into it. From stationary to 100km/h, the 4-door luxury daily driver clocks in at a respectable 7.3 seconds.
At 1,470 kilograms, the current breed of Audi A5 Sportback is the lightest in the segment, made possible from an intelligent mix of materials that took 15 kilograms off the frame from its predecessor and 85 kilograms off the overall weight.
Inside the new Sportback, both driver and front passenger enjoy an additional 11 millimetres of shoulder room while the rear passengers enjoy 24 millimetres of extra rear knee room with an over interior length increased by 17 millimetres. With 480 litres (17.0 cu ft) of luggage capacity, the A5 Sportback ranks among the best in its class.
Display, Controls, Infotainment
The Audi virtual cockpit comes standard paired with the all-new operating and display concept for easy and intuitive operations. Audi’s top version is MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. It includes features such as 10 GB of flash storage, a DVD drive and an 8.3-inch monitor with a resolution of 1,024 x 480 pixels. Audi MMI navigation plus works in close cooperation with many of the assistance and safety systems.
At $201,980, including COE and VES, the new Audi A5 Sportback seems to have all the luxury offerings and performance level to attract buyers who are in the market for an upgrade from an A4, or better yet, something a class above it.