Audi has a knack for creating incredibly desirable cars and then not bringing them to the North American market. Audi Avants, basically any diesel-powered car and RS3 Sportback; all of which are just some of the great cars that never make it over here. However, we are going to finally get something special — the second-generation Audi A5 Sportback.
A few months back, Audi unveiled the second-generation A5 and S5 Coupes. Based on the brand’s new MLB platform, and sharing much of its styling with the new Audi A4, the new Audi A5 was a big hit. Its new design keeps all that was great about the previous-gen’s Walter da Silva styling, but brought some modern touches and an updated feel. Overall, it’s a very good looking car and one that we can’t wait to see in person.
In the case of the A5, Sportback is Audi-speak for a four-door coupe. BMW has its ‘Gran Coupes’ and Mercedes-Benz just calls them coupes. But creating four-door ‘coupes’ are all the rage in Germany, nowadays. So Audi is jumping back into the fray with this new second-generation A5 Sportback and it looks better than ever. Where the first generation A5 Sportback was somewhat strange and disproportionate, this new one looks very crisp, very tight. The rear end, from the C-pillar back, looks significantly better than before and is far better managed.
To be honest, from the B-pillar forward, there isn’t anything different about the Sportback variant. Behind the B-pillar is an extra door and a sweeping roofline that leads to a hatchback-style trunk and an upward-curved rear decklid. It’s a smooth and good looking design, but it’s strangely reminiscent of a Tesla Model S. What’s nice, though, is that the Audi A5’s muscular rear haunches remain, a difficult task for a four-door car. Even in Sportback trim, Audi has managed to make the A5 look rear-driven, despite its front-wheel drive/all-wheel drive layout.
Inside, the Audi A5 Sportback has grown as well. Now, front passengers gain an extra 11mm of shoulder room and rear passengers get 24mm of additional knee room. Overall, the cabin has grown 17mm in length. It also gains a larger back seat, which can now fit two adults comfortably. While it still can’t fit three adults abreast (curb your snickering), it’s far better than in the coupe. In the Audi A5 Coupe, two adults could fit, but only for very short journeys and it wasn’t comfortable. The Sportback variant allows for a genuinely decent amount of space for rear occupants. Two children will fit perfectly fine in the back, with a possible additional third, if they’re small.
What’s really impressive is the trunk, or should I say hatch? The Sportback model features a hatchback-like trunk that not only looks cool but aids in functionality. With a 480 liter (17 cu ft) capacity, the A5 Sportback is at the top of its class, in terms of cargo space. So if you need something practical but want something sporty and luxurious, the A5 Sportback could be your best bet.
Powertrain, drivetrain and technology options all remain the same as in the standard Audi A5 Coupe. So the typical suit of Audi turbocharged petrol and diesel engines will be available, ranging from 2.0 liters to 3.0 liters. A six-speed manual is standard but the brand’s seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox is available. Front-wheel drive comes as standard as well but, obviously, Quattro all-wheel drive is an option and, to be honest, a necessary one.
There will also be an Audi S5 Sportback variant, packing a 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 that makes 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission option available for the S5 Sportback and Quattro is obviously standard. The S5 Sportback also distinguishes itself from the group with a small decklid spoiler, bigger wheels and bright red brake calipers. It also gets a more aggressive grille, aluminum side mirrors and quad exhaust pipes. So it’s the more aggressive, best looking variant.
Audi will also be debuting a g-tron model variant to the A5 Sportback lineup. The Audi A5 Sportback g-tron packs a 170 hp 2.0 liter TFSI engine that can run on Audi e-gas, natural gas or gasoline. While that’s not all that helpful, it is another step in the direction of alternative fuel.
I’m going to make this easy for you, Audi. We want this here in North America. You may not agree, but you’re wrong. BMW has been selling its 4 Series Gran Coupe for a couple of years now and it’s doing quite well. Mercedes-Benz has been selling its CLS Class for over a decade and for some reason people keep buying it. We want the Audi A5 and S5 Sportback and, damn it, we deserve it.