Motor Trend reviews Audi A5/S5 Sportback — Adds passion to sensibility

No one loves sensibility. No one’s ever said “Hey, I love your sensible slacks!” or “I can’t wait to get another set of Crocs.” Ever. GQ has never run a piece on how pocket protectors are the Summer’s new hot item (though, if you do, GQ, you know who to credit…). There’s just nothing sexy about practicality or reason. Passion and desire come from excess¬†and superfluity. Things you want, not things you need. So while the Audi A4 is a brilliant all-around car, as it’s fast, fun, practical and affordable, it just isn’t sexy. That’s where the Audi A5/S5 Sportback comes in. Not only are the Sportback variants more practical, thanks to their lift-back tailgates, but they’re sexier and more exciting. When does that ever happen? As we’ve previously established, never.

According to a recent review from Motor Trend, the Audi A5 Sportback drives very similarly to its A4 sibling, which is a good thing. With its 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it’s genuinely entertaining to drive. As-standard Quattro all-wheel drive also makes it very grippy and its handling is impressive. So don’t let its four doors and sensible lift-back tailgate fool you. This is a sport sedan, through and through. The Audi A4 drives really well and we feel that it’s better than even the usual benchmark in the segment, the BMW 3 Series. However, the A5 Sportback takes that package and adds sultry looks.

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The Audi S5 Sportback cranks that passion and excitement up a bit. With its 3.0 liter “Hot-V” turbocharged V6 engine making 354 hp and 369 lb-ft, it’s a punchy motor. It gets an eight-speed auto, rather than the A5’s dual-clutch unit, but it can still hustle from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s proper quick. I remember a time when Ferraris did that. Its handling is also sharper, with stiffer suspension and livelier steering. Things get even better with the optional S Sport package, which adds a rear sports differential. That latter bit helps quell most of the understeer that plagues hot Audis.

Both the Audi A5 and S5 Sportback are more expensive than their A4 and S4 counterparts by a few thousand dollars. However, they both come with more standard equipment, have considerably more trunk space and look far sexier. It really is a no-brainer for anyone shopping in this segment. In fact, in our opinion, the Audi A5 Sportback, and its even faster S5 sibling, may have rendered the Audi A4 and S4 obsolete.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.