Published on March 22nd, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi A5 Sportback Quattro TFSI Test Drive Review
Yes, it’s a revised A5 and there is more than meets the eye
There is a new Audi A5 Sportback in Audi showrooms around the country and you might not notice it at first as it carries the same seductive silhouette as the outgoing model.
Plus, it continues to offer Quattro drive. The word ‘Quattro’ cannot be used by any other car manufacturer. Like Subaru has ‘symmetrical’ all wheel drive and Mercedes has ‘4Matic’, Audi has ‘Quattro’ and it is world famous for its historical rally car, the ‘Audi Sport Quattro’ (pictured below) which made rally headlines in the 1980’s. This is why Audi has decided to bring back a little design element from the Sport Quattro to this all new A5.
Launched for the global market in 2019, this latest version arrived in Malaysia in 2020. However, with only a few hundred cars sold last year, Audi in Malaysia is lagging far behind its immediate rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz in Malaysia who have seen five figure sales numbers. Please note that all new Audi’s sold in Malaysia are fully imported, which means high taxes and less dealer incentives. Mercedes and BMW have local assembly and so they pay lower import taxes which reflects in their better selling prices and sales margins.
Plus, there are only 3 Audi dealers in Malaysia, Glenmarie, Selangor, Setia Alam Selangor and Juru Butterworth. So, if you live in East Malaysia (Borneo) or down south, or even on the east coast of the Peninsula, the attraction to own a new Audi is reduced due to less service outlets and after sales network. Klang Valley Audi buyers will have no issues.
A5 Sporty exterior
Elements of the new design language from the full-size class characterize the sporty aesthetics of the updated Audi A5. Even the first generation from 2007 fascinated with its sporty and harmonious body line. The second generation from 2016 added new, sharper accents. Now Audi has significantly revised the exterior, with the front end, in particular, exuding an even more powerful resolve.
The Singleframe with the honeycomb grille is flatter and somewhat wider. Audi designers have added ventilation slits above the grille like with the classic Audi Sport quattro from 1984, just to spice things up a little.
A bold blade forms the lower edge of the bumper, which features larger air inlets. A new sill provides for a slimmer appearance when viewed from the side; a diffuser insert with trapezoidal tailpipes makes the back of the car look wider.
This A5 rolls off the assembly line with Matrix LED headlights with LED rear lights featuring dynamic turn signals.
Customers can choose from 12 paint finishes, including this new ‘district green’ metallic colour which got noticed all weekend while the A5 was in our hands.
With its new MMI touch system, the highly connected Audi A5 offers a user experience similar to a contemporary smartphone. A 10.1-inch touch display with acoustic feedback replaces the rotary pushbutton used in previous models. The graphics are clean and reduced; the menu structure reflects the expectations of the user. The MMI search is based on free text input and returns relevant hits very rapidly. Natural-language voice control understands many formulations from everyday speech. The top of the line is the MMI navigation plus infotainment control center.
New functions also make navigation intelligent and intuitive. For example, it suggests routes based on routes previously driven. Audi connect and Audi connect plus comprise a multitude of online services. The myAudi app connects the car with the customer’s smartphone. The standard personalization allows the creation of as many as seven different user profiles for storing personal settings and preferences.
A5 Suspension and brakes
The suspension tuning is sporty, yet comfortable. The steering, automatic transmission and engine management are likewise integrated into Audi ‘drive select’. Drivers can choose between five Audi drive select profiles to determine how these components work together. Mounted behind the large 19-inch wheels’ inches in diameter are powerful brakes.
The Audi A5 Sportback can be driven with either sporty dynamics, luxurious ride comfort or economical driving with its ‘Audi Drive Select’ functionality.
Under the slender hood is a silky smooth 2-litre turbocharged engine that delivers a maximum power of 249bhp and a peak torque of 370Nm, without sacrificing fuel consumption and emissions. Using a 7-speed semi-automatic transmission enables this A5 to reach an impressive a top speed of 250km/h with permitting tarmac space and a sports car acceleration time from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds.
This performance brings this A5 closer to a Mercedes C43 AMG 4Matic (four-wheel drive) which delivers a 0 to 100km/h acceleration time in just 4.7 seconds with a 3.0L V6 engine that produces 367bhp and 520Nm of torque. Yes, there are some marginal power output figures, but it is a close rival (we are not comparing with PHEV models) and is priced some RM44,000 more over the Audi A5 at RM421,888.
Then there is the BMW M340i xDrive 3-litre inline 6 that produces 387hp and 500Nm of torque with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic that sends power to all four wheels via its xDrive system. It will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds. Priced at RM422,800 this BMW is also locally assembled like the Benz above and is priced about RM45,000 more over the fully imported from Europe Audi A5. In Malaysia, these two cars are the only possible rivals that make sense.
Audi’s TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder is smooth and powerful. It produces strong torque to propel the car quickly from intersections and up holiday destination hills. More impressive is the width of its power-band, that area of engine speed that delivers maximum power. The turbocharged engine makes big torque from 1600 rpm all the way to 4500 rpm.
Given the Audi A5’s 1,565 plus kg weight (BMW M340i at 1,670kg and Mercedes C43 at 1,735kg)) and all-wheel drive traction it’s acceleration times are almost as quick as some sports cars. In real-world driving it never feels short of power and it pays off in fuel economy when in ‘Efficiency’ mode.
Steering is nicely weighted on the A5 where at parking speeds, it is light and quick, with a respectable feel for maneuvering.
This A5 has exemplary handling characteristics, thanks to its Quattro engineering and yet it rides more smoothly than the BMW or Benz does. The suspension has no bump or wallow in it but is more compliant than that of the Benz, and the A5’s tires absorb bumps better. This is mostly due to the use of normal tires on the Audi and its rivals are using Run-Flat Tires which return a firmer, harsher ride on our sub standard city tarmac. This is the trade-off when using run-flat tires. They return a harsher ride, damage easily on bad roads and cost more to replace.
All that is left now is to visit an Audi showroom to test drive this car and decide if it fits your needs for 2021.
Audi A5 Sportback ‘advanced’ TFSI Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder Direct Injection exhaust turbocharger
Transmission: 7-Speed S-Tronic
Max power: 249bhp @ 5000-6000rpm
Max torque: 370Nm @ 1600-4500rpm
Top Speed: 250km/h