Audi A5 Sportback 40

TFSI S Line

Audi A5 Sportback, front static 1
Audi A5 Sportback, side static
Audi A5 Sportback, rear static 2
Audi A5 Sportback, dashboard
Audi A5 Sportback, rear seats
Audi A5 Sportback, boot

IT'S good to see that some car designers today can still show some ingenuity when coming up with models that are a little bit different from the norm and run-of-the-mill and also are neither a saloon or hatchback.

Designing a svelte looking coupe with a raked roofline yet with the practicality of the space and comfort that's in a saloon equivalent is a tall order but around 10 years ago Audi designer Markus Gleitz came up with the right answers in the shape of the A5 Sportback.

Apart from ensuring the return of Audi to the compact executive coupe sector it's widened the appeal of the A5 series with this model perhaps best described as what was called a five-door liftback in the old days.

Now a facelift has literally lifted the A5 Sportback further in its appeal by offering an extremely attractive looking car that's now more really comfortable with a classier cabin along with all the latest on-board technology, backed up by all the quality engineering know-how of the VW group.

Naturally much of the underneath hardware has come from the A4 range while the A5, and the Sportback S Line model in particular tested here, retains its more distinctive appeal for those drivers who want something different.

From the start it must said that despite its label this is not sports car - Audi have plenty of other models that successfully carry that mantle - but it's no slouch on the road either nipping from 0 to 62mph in just over seven seconds with a claimed top speed of 149mph.

Power comes from a two-litre, 187bhp turbocharged petrol engine, driving the front wheels all delivered by an exceptionally smooth, refined and so responsive seven-speed dual clutch S-tronic automatic gearbox.

There are steering wheel mounted paddles for those drivers who like to manually gearchange but in all honesty leave it in total automatic mode and it simply does the business, even when there's the need for some quick mid-range acceleration.

The response then is highly impressive and it all the power comes in not only quickly but so quietly with that automatic gearbox changing simply sweet to use.

The true two real benefits of driving this S Line version is that it's the ideal long distant cruiser, effortless to drive and so comfortable too for four adults as tested out, while equally trundling in and around heavily congested urban roads/streets makes light work of such a job.

With the S Line drivers naturally gain firmer suspension, good lumbar-supporting sports styled seats and this car had a £2,700 driver assistance pack on board which is well worth it bearing in mind what's in the package as is the head-up speed display on the windscreen at another grand.

The head-up display is now becoming more prevalent, thankfully, on many smaller and cheaper new cars and is a real safety aid in my view while the S Line also has the so sensible automatic braking system in the event of a potential collision with in-built sensors that read the road ahead including road signs with a warning light flashing up on the dials directly in front of the driver's forward vision.

Fuel consumption on test was decent enough too coming in at an average of 43.3mpg compared to the official combined figure of 39.8mpg and CO2 was a decent enough low of 161g/km.

For the driver this S Line has all the latest mod cons on board one would expect with good infotainment touchscreen and the standard Audi rotary control dial situated behind the gear lever in between the two front seats.

Practicality is another big plus point for a coupe styled car with a massive amount of storage space - around 465 litres in the boot and extending to over 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Pricewise the S Line model stacks up well at £40,575 without the options available and whilst it may seem a tad expensive to some drivers obviously there are cheaper versions available for the more budget-conscious which are well equipped for the money.

The A5 Sportback has carved out a small niche in this executive coupe sector and rightly so because it continues to improve and will grow on any neutrals.

FAST FACTS

Audi A5 Sportback 40 TFSI S Line

Price: £40,575

Mechanical:187bhp, 1,984cc, 4cy turbocharged petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:149mph

0-62mph:7.5 seconds

Combined MPG:39.8

Insurance Group:34

C02 emissions:161g/km

Bik rating:36%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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