New Audi A5 Sportback (2017) review: A serious all-rounder
Audi A5 Sportback review: Drive
The Audi A5 looks as though it’s designed for long trips across Europe and it has the performance to match. It handles well considering its size, and when driven hard on the winding roads around Box Hill, the A5 and its four-wheel quattro system has a degree of poise. But, even in Sport mode, it doesn’t feel as direct as something like the BMW 5 Series, so it’s a little less fun when pushed to the limits. That should be where the sportier, S5 comes in, though.
Much of the A5’s handling shortcomings were alleviated thanks to its rather powerful engine. The Sportback I drove had a two-litre, 252PS TFSI engine, with a 0-60mph time of six seconds – so it was still involving to drive, despite its less direct feel.
Audi A5 Sportback review: Autonomous technology
Given the competition, you might think the Audi A5 comes with a raft of autonomous technology as standard but, surprisingly, it doesn’t. Sure, there’s basic cruise control with a speed limiter that works from 13mph, autonomous emergency braking and parking sensors, but for the really clever stuff you’ll need to shell out £1,200 for the Tour Driver Assistance pack.
That gets you adaptive cruise control, which maintains the distance between yourself and the car in front and works all the way up to 155mph. It has Stop & Go functionality as well, so it will bring the car to a halt for you in traffic, and sets off for you too. Finally, there’s steering assist, but unlike the Mercedes E Class, the Audi will only lane-keep at speeds of up to 40mph, so it’s no good for motorway driving. An odd restriction, as this is where it would be most useful.
Audi A5 Sportback review: Verdict
The Audi A5 is one of the most complete cars you can buy right now and, although it doesn’t have the same level of tech as the Mercedes E Class or the handling of the dynamic BMW 5 Series, the Audi offers just enough of both qualities to be a serious contender. From the outside, its sharp lines mean it’s the best-looking car of the three, and on the inside, the technology it does have is very easy to use.
If you’re in the market for a stylish, executive saloon, you could do much worse than the 2017 Audi A5. And if you want a more involved ride, the sportier S5 version could be worth checking out too.