The second generation A5 is even better before. Based on Audi’s MLB-Evo chassis, the new car is both great to drive and practical to boot!
Photos Joel Tam
If you grew up in the ‘90s, you’d remember cars like the Toyota Corolla Liftback or the Mitsubishi Lancer hatchback. These cars combined versatility, spaciousness and sportier styling (compared to their sedan variants) in one package. In recent years, cars like the Mazda 6 and Skoda Octavia offered similar body styles where the rear window is ‘connected’ to the bootlid, allowing massive access into the boot space - even hatchbacks and estates can’t compare!
The Audi A5 is the premium offering in this body style of cars. Launched in 2007, the first A5 Sportback was a great car - nice to drive and a beautiful work of art by the German carmaker. And the new one is even better.
Styling wise, it’s more evolutionary than revolutionary. The similar sleek lines that adorned the 1st generation car still wrap the new one and that’s not a bad thing at all. The car is large and rather low-slung for a ‘sedan’. All the right tweaks have been made to the headlights and grilles to modernise the new model.
Everything is edgier and the overall result is an A5 that reminds you of the old one (in good ways), yet looks relevant for the current time.
The cabin is pretty much identical to the new A4 sedan and A5 coupe. All the dark leather, grey facia and aluminium trimmings are typical Audi, strong and never failing to feel premium. Alcantara leather on our test car is optional, standard seats get the Nappa leather - which is better and easier to upkeep.
Never have to turn your head again. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit TFT-screen instrument cluster is (as seen in previous new models) really sweet and high tech. Allowing you to change it up to suit your favourite look and info to display.
Lift the hood and in the engine bay lies a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 252 bhp, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox. Power delivery is smooth and creamy - yes, it really feels ‘bigger’ than a 4-pot engine under there. There’s even a nice bassy growl when you flick it into 'S' mode - the engine also becomes ‘angrier’ and gives you all it has when you hit the accelerator.
0-100 km/h comes in at 6 seconds and the Sportback will go on to hit a 250 km/h top speed. But all that means nothing if the car you’re driving feels stressed dispatching those figures. The A5 is not like that. Graceful and never feeling strained, the Sportback always feels comfortable whether in Comfort or Dynamic mode.
With this 252 bhp variant (the base model gets 190 bhp), Quattro is standard. The lovely new chassis platform known as 'MLB-Evo chassis' yields a car that is lighter, more playful and nimble on the road. Steering inputs are precisely executed and while a little on the light side, never feels vague. I’d dare say the combination of a strong power output and sublime handling almost makes this A5 quite S5-like! I enjoyed driving it more than I did the 3.0-litre S4.
Audi’s new A5 Sportback is truly a great premium all-rounder that's easy to live with. Mainly because it’s essentially three cars in one. The practicality of an station wagon, the dynamics of a sedan and the looks of a coupe. What’s not to like about it? Very, very little. In fact, it’s one of the best cars we’ve driven this year!