Published on July 2nd, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez5
Audi A5 Sportback Quattro test drive review……did we like it?
The Malaysian Audi office recently announced the arrival of a new entrant to challenge the 3-Series and C-Class. This is the latest Audi A5. The striking new 5-door A5 Sportback TFSI Quattro is now available for sale with immediate delivery (pending your colour choice) from OTR RM340,000.00 (which is RM19,000 lower than the precious A5 Quattro that was launched in 2013).
The new A5 Sportback subtly blends its additional doors into the sweeping curves that are instantly recognisable hallmarks of the A5 Coupé, and fully justifies its presence through an extended chassis that enables it to run the spacious A4 saloon close on rear head and leg room. Seven years after the birth of the Audi A5 Sportback, this new version blends elegant, emotional design with high functionality and abundant interior comfort. This family-friendly car is perfectly connected and offers the latest infotainment features. Plus, this second generation comes with a completely reengineered suspension, high-performance powertrain and innovative driver assistance systems.
At 4,733 millimeters (186.3 in) in length, a 2,824 millimeter (111.2 in) wheelbase, 1,843 millimeters (72.6 mm) wide and 1,386 millimeters (54.6 in) high – the new Audi A5 Sportback displays sporty, balanced proportions. In nearly every way it is larger than the previous version……. but surprising, it is slightly narrower without reducing cabin space. Clever packaging from Audi cabin designers.
Audi’s designers have combined dramatic lines and athletically taut surfaces in the design of the five-door coupé. The stretched wheelbase, the short overhangs and the long, wraparound front lid with power dome emphasize the model’s dynamism.
Another distinguishing feature of the new A5 Sportback is the sporty front end. The three-dimensionally modeled Singleframe grille is significantly flatter and wider than on the previous model. Depending on specification, the radiator grille comes in subtle black matt. On the sport trim line its basic color is twilight gray matt with horizontal slats in aluminum silver matt. In the design trim line it is in elegant dark titanium black with horizontal slats in chrome. The side air intakes have bold edges and optionally – with the S line exterior package – honeycomb grilles and a sporty, horizontal trim strip in aluminum silver matt extending across the entire front end.
The wave-pattern shoulder line imparts the Audi A5 Sportback with emotional elegance. The characteristic design feature, already present on the previous model, is now even more striking with its three-dimensional character. The interplay of light and shadow becomes all the more alluring. The long sweeping wave with the pronounced bulges over the wheel arches underscores the quattro DNA. At the transition from the front wheel arches to the doors, a three-dimensional chrome trim element highlights the sporty ambitions of the new A5. From the A-pillar, which has been shifted far to the rear, the roof extends over the athletic body with its frameless doors as a flat, flowing dome. The front and rear side windows are given emphasis by a trim strip in aluminum silver, matt.
The rear end exhibits clearly horizontal and three-dimensional styling. The stretched luggage compartment lid in aluminum terminates with a striking spoiler edge that also enhances the aerodynamics. Separate reflectors in the lower section of the rear apron, which is painted in the body color, emphasize the width.
The slim, three-dimensionally shaped rear lights come in LED technology as standard, and an LED lighting signature underlines their sculptural geometry. The delicate brake light sits below the luminaries, and the dynamic turn signal (with LED headlights and higher) forms a precise strip in the upper section. The third delicate brake light on the upper edge of the rear window spans its entire width.
This new A5 is comfortable, sure footed and a nice car to drive, and it gives one the impression that it was carefully engineered and constructed. In short, it exudes a veritable aura of high quality. It has the solid feel of a big car, even though its just slightly more spacious over the current A4.
The all-wheel-drive Quattro should be a great advantage in our wet and uneven tarmac conditions in our cities. It is not an all out off-road vehicle (some might think so since it has Quattro drive), however, because it is low to the ground, the Quattro system should be great in the rain and for outstation fast driving along tight JKR roads.
On-road manners are difficult to fault, and as relaxed cruiser, this A5 is pretty hard to toss. In keeping with its limousine image, the ride is wonderfully balanced and compliant – absorbing road imperfections and hollows without wallowing or being skittish unnecessarily. The long wheelbase means that even larger imperfections in the road surface barely register inside.
Around town, thanks to a good turning circle, the A5’s easy manoeuvrability around car parks and narrow laneways belies its ‘large-car’ dimensions. The steering is quick and relatively direct and torque steer is barely evident, even in the wet.
The well-tuned 7-speed semi-auto gearbox transmits power effortlessly and seamlessly to the rear wheels. With 7-well-spaced gear ratios to pick from, the TFSI engine can be kept singing at its best for most situations. The biggest surprise with the TFSI is what happens when the accelerator is given a decent prod. There’s a surprising amount of urge on tap.
However, the 2-liter TFSI lacks vocal grunt to excite. Maybe the vocals have been saved for the S4 and RS versions.
Steering feel on city roads is light and when you take to the countryside, the steering feel in ‘Dynamic’ mode comes alive under your palms. This is however not RS like feel, but impressive enough to put a smile on your face at every corner that we executed at even higher speed as we got more and more confident with the handling of the Quattro. Yes, the Quattro returns surefooted and precise handling on the tight corners and the tail stays tucked in tight as we ‘pushed’ the Quattro more and more to the limit of our ability. All this and still, no ‘pounding’ and ‘crashing’ of the suspension as we hit the ruts and dips on our ‘well maintained’ city roads. The Quattro suspension setup was impressive and even more rewarding as we took a few high speed runs on selected open highways when we moved in and out of traffic with little effect from the uneven tarmac. Attacking corners fast needs good brakes and the Audi calipers and discs worked admirable at all times with no fade or hesitation even when slammed on.
This fully imported (CBU) A5 Quattro (with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty) competes with the locally assembled high specification Mercedes C300 at RM304,000 and the fully imported BMW 330i at RM328,000. The A5 may be a touch more expensive, but it has Quattro all wheel drive, a sportback profile which extends its ability to carry diving-gear, golf-bags and a folding bike.
The rivals however carry a little more brand knowledge over Audi but the luxury image of all three brands are somewhat equal in Malaysia. It is just that BMW and Mercedes-Benz sell more than 11,000 units a year each and Audi in Malaysia sell less than 1,000 units a year.
Audi A5 Sportback TFSI Quattro Specifications:
Engine: 4-cylinder Direct Injection Turbo
Transmission: 7-Speed S-Tronic
Max power: 252bhp @ 5000-6000rpm
Max torque: 370Nm @ 1600-4500rpm
Top Speed: 250km/h