What should I be paying?
The S5 Sportback is an absolute sleeper. Not in the boring sense, that is, more in the ‘understated but exceptionally brisk’ sense. The only real exterior differences between the S5 and regular A5 are the silver mirror housings and quad exhausts. De-badge it and most will be none the wiser when you thrap past that tractor at a rate of knots. That Audi has made 349bhp so utterly deployable, allied to the ace interior and subtle looks, makes this thing a very compelling daily driver indeed.
It’s very mature, with a ride that, even in its stiffest mode, is way better than merely tolerable. It’s actually comfortable – something fast Audis of years past haven’t managed. Left to its own devices, the auto goes about its business smoothly and unobtrusively, using the engine’s torque to drag you out of villages without kicking down many gears, if any at all. In all, even in maximum-attack Dynamic mode, it’s a very mature thing, its edges chamfered to, presumably, make room for the RS5 above it.
Regular models retain the stylish, yet unostentatious looks (and much of the performance, especially in the 3.0-litre diesel), but bring the price and running costs back down to more democratic levels. Efficiency and real-world poke are both improved in the new model. And the boot’s pretty big too, pitching the Sportback somewhere between the normal A4 Saloon and A4 Avant on the practicality scale. Capacity is 480 litres with the seats up, or 1,300 with them folded.