Pictures from Rallye Monte Carlo Historique leave TG.com lusting for fast French ‘minis.
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The Top Gear car review:Audi A5 Sportback
For:The Sportback definitely says something about you... we’re just not quite sure what.
Against:Firm ride on S-Line models, not the most exciting car to drive
3.0 TDI 245 Quattro SE 5dr S Tronic
330bhp S5 is what you’d expect from a five-door Audi. Fast, unflustered, and a tiny bit dull. Looks great
The Sportback is an A4 hatch with the curves of an A5 coupe and a hefty price to boot. Still, it’ll look great in the office car park…
What we say:
The A5 is an excellent example of Audi's model proliferation strategy hitting the spot. Good to look at and beautifully built, but let down by a dull drive
What is it?
It’s the five-door hatch alternative to the A5 Coupe, and is a fine example of Audi’s model proliferation strategy hitting the spot.
Somehow in the transition from A4 saloon to A5 Sportback, things have gone a bit soft. There’s more body roll than in the A4/A5 and a floaty feeling on motorways, which on our test route, were as smooth as boiled sweets. Audi reckons the spring and damper rates are identical to the coupe, but it doesn’t feel like it.
Four engines are available: two petrols (a 1.8 TFSI and 2.0TFSI) and two diesels (2.0 and 3.0 V6). None of them throw up any surprises. The two-litre TDI is as strong and refined as ever, however the two-litre petrol is so much smoother and quieter it’s enough to put you off diesel for life, especially if you don’t notch up too many fuel-consuming motorway miles.
On the inside
Swing open a rear door and all seems pretty normal. Legroom is the same as the A4 saloon and headroom is down by just 5mm, which isn’t a bad payoff for that sloping roofline. But look closer and you’ll notice the lack of a middle seatbelt. Audi is selling this thing as a four-seater, which would be fine if the rear seats were artistically sculpted to cuddle your torso. But they’re not. It’s just a regular bench with a raised cushion where the middle seat would usually be. Despite the new arty silhouette the boot has a wide and unobstructed aperture through which to load your stuff. At 480 litres, luggage space is exactly the same as the A4 saloon, only more accessible as the hatch opens its big, yawning mouth.
The 2.0TFSI and TDI models are reasonably cost effective to run. Expect 42.8mpg from the petrol and 55.4mpg from the diesel. However, if you’re after more power, go for the 3.0-litre TDI.