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Monday 25th September
Car Review

Audi A5 Sportback review

£34,525 - £65,600
Published: 13 Jan 2015
The A4 in a prettier frock. If style matters, go right ahead, but don't think you're getting a better car...

Good stuff

The Sportback definitely says something about you... we’re just not quite sure what.

Bad stuff

Not brilliantly entertaining to drive. It's all about the styling


What is it?

Audi surprised precisely nobody when it revealed this thing at the Paris Motor Show, because it looks more or less identical to the Coupe on which it’s based (and the car it replaces) – save for the extra pair of doors that signal a larger, more practical cabin. Conservative evolution is, of course, the German way. And we’ve no problem with that whatsoever because, done correctly, it produces rather good-looking cars. And you can hardly blame Audi for broadly sticking with a design it knows that A) works, and B) sells cars. It’s just good business. 

So, this is the four-door version of the two-door Audi A5 Coupe, itself the two-door version of the regular four-door A4. It is, therefore, not entirely unfamiliar to us, because it shares an interior, engines and its entire technology suite with all the other cars based on the MLB Evo platform, which is basically every big-ish Audi released in the last two years except the R8 (which sits on its own, bespoke platform Audi shares with Lamborghini). This means you get one of the very best interiors around at the moment, quality infotainment (the Virtual Cockpit is a must-spec’) and safety tech’, punchy, frugal engines, and a competent yet uninvolving drive. 

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The new A5 and S5 are very deja-vu in appearance, save for sharper lines down the side, headlights that have slightly invaded the bonnet and a grille big enough to shame an Australian beach party. Would you expect anything else?

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Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

Beautifully built and beautiful to look at. But the A4 is 98 per cent as good, cheaper and less pretentious.

Of course, the ultimate usable, fast Audi on this platform is the £45,400 S4 Avant, and if we’re honest, that’s the one we’d probably buy. Because we’re odd like that. For most, the allure of the Sportback’s image and good looks will be enough to justify the extra £1,600.  

But is it worth buying one over an A4 Saloon? The Sportback doesn’t offer a massively more dynamic package than the regular A4, mind, and should you insist on the kind-of coupe style of the Sportback over a saloon or estate, that’s on you. Just remember to point out to the neighbours you’ve bought the brand-new one.

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