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Which to Buy: Audi A4 Quattro Manual or Audi A5 Sportback?

In America, the brand-new Audi A4 starts life at $39,400 for Quattro all-wheel drive models (which are the only ones you should buy). Regardless of transmission choice, either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox, that’s the starting price for the Audi A4 Quattro. For that price, you’re getting a lot of car, as the new A4 is a fantastic all-rounder. We’d argue, though, that despite the dual-clutch gearbox’s no-cost status that you should buy the manual transmission.

At the moment, there must be a concerted effort by all gearheads to buy brand-new manual transmission-equipped cars. The reason is that the manual transmission is slowly being phased out, or rather quickly, actually, and it needs to be kept alive. The only way to keep it alive is to show automakers that we want them. And the only way to show automakers that we want manuals is to buy them. Otherwise, they’ll go as the hand-crank starter went.

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Or, for $47,575, you can get a 2018 Audi A5 Sportback, which comes with Quattro all-wheel drive as standard and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as its only option. The Audi A5 Sportback is another model that Americans need to buy so that Audi will bring more like it over to the ‘States. We rarely get any of the cool and odd body styles that Audi sells in Europe and it’s a shame. We want the A3/S3 Sportback as well as literally any of the brand’s Avant wagons. Maybe, if we buy enough Sportback models, Audi will realize that we’re open to other body style variants.

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However, the A5 Sportback doesn’t come with a manual transmission option, so you must forgo one rarity for another. And the manual transmission is equally as important as unusual body styles. If Audi made an A5 Sportback with a manual trans option, it’d be a no brainer: get an A5 Sportback manual. That would kill two birds with one stone. But Audi says no to the manual in the Sportback, leaving us to choose between the two cars.

So buying either car is important to Audi enthusiasts in America. The more American customers buy either car is a good thing but one could argue that one of these two cars is more important than the other. I will say that I think the A5 Sportback is the better deal. For just a few thousand dollars more, you’re getting a better looking car with styling unlike anything else and a more practical hatchback-style trunk. But, I couldn’t blame you if you went for the Audi A4 just for the manual. But if you’re looking at a new Audi, please get one of these.

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CategoriesA4 A5
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.