IT'S probably the ultimate ‘car for all seasons'.
The Audi A5 Sportback covers all the bases - sleek and sporty in profile, five-door and roomy for the usual family clutter, sufficiently brisk to be enjoyable and economical enough in 2.0 diesel form to squeeze more than 45 miles out of a gallon of juice.
In quattro guise it even has some of the characteristics of a mountain goat thanks to the four-wheel-drive system.
The latest Sportback may look familiar but the current version is lighter, stronger and far more satisfying to drive than the original less sculptured shape. It's also more frugal and a tad faster.
Based on the A4 saloon, but with five doors and a rear hatch and a greater luxury, the A5 offers more of a lifestyle choice with greater practicality and sleeker lines for a premium of about £3,000 over the saloon.
The range kicks off with the 2.0-litre 187bhp diesel which is available in either two or four-wheel-drive and peaks with the 155mph S5.
For most drivers, the baby of the line-up will be plenty powerful enough especially when coupled with automatic seven-speed twin clutch S Tronic gearbox which is fast and intuitive - quicker and more efficient in fact than a manual gearbox.
Cornering is secure and almost roll-free although in usual Audi fashion, there's not a huge amount of feedback from the steering. In quattro form it feels particularly well-planted and sticks to the road well, with little sign of understeer.
In most conditions the four-wheel-drive system goes unnoticed, but around greasy bends the driver can feel the extra axle doing its best to maintain traction.
The general impression of tautness and strength is coupled with good body control and composure even over poor surfaces. There's little wind noise and the overall quietness within the passenger compartment is impressive, especially for diesel power.
Longer and a shade higher than the A5 Coupe, the Sportback is a genuine four-seater with better headroom in the rear than you might expect.
The cabin is classy and well finished with one of the best dashboards in the business. It's worth opting for the ‘virtual cockpit' which displays the sat nav map directly in front of the driver as well as on the standard centre screen.
The liftback boot can absorb 480 litres of luggage, and 1,300 litres when the rear seats are folded. It's lengthy but fairly shallow, however the parcel shelf can be removed, freeing up greater height.
Within the passenger compartment there's ample space for oddments either in the glove box, door pockets or central console.
Reversing can be a tricky because of the car's tapering roofline which limits rear visibility. Fortunately parking sensors and a rear view screen come to the rescue and help guide the driver.
Despite the punchy performance, the 2.0 diesel is impressively economical, allowing most drivers to average 40-plus mpg. My best was 51mpg and on most runs the Sportback returned around the 45mpg mark.