Our Fleet Test Drive: Audi A5 Sportback - Final Report
13 July 2011
Author: Guy Bird
 Subtle shape and gently undulating side feature line
|P11D price:|| £29,310|
|Key rival:|| BMW 3 Series|
I haven't been so excited about a long-term test in years. Late October 2010 saw the arrival of the A5 Sportback I hoped would promise "driver fulfilment and kerbside cache".
Seven months later the first thing to say is the promise has been kept. Only positive praise was received for its svelte and eye-catching shape . But the Sportback's greatest trick is fusing this swooping coupe roofline with great practicality. Four doors and a massive hatchback mean access from all angles. Rear-seat passengers got used to the lower roofline upon entry and appreciated the space once inside too. The boot swallowed not only a lot - a London front garden's worth of hedge for the dump on one occasion - but big and awkward too, like a full-size pushbike . Up front was Audi-standard high quality with comfy leather seats, a good driving position for all heights and a smart dash. The unobtrusive 17-inch wheels were also an inspired choice for urban streets, escaping endless tight kerbside parking manoeuvres with barely a scratch while providing greater ride comfort than bigger wheels and still amply filling their arches . Rear parking sensors made parking a confident procedure too, given the quite high boot line.
The 143hp diesel was basic yet decent, but the semi-automatic Multitronic gearbox made little sense beyond convenience. £1525 more expensive than the equivalent manual and unavailable with stop/start (vs. standard stop/start on manual 2.0 TDI versions) it suffers considerably poorer fuel consumption (48.7 vs. 54.3mpg), higher emissions (152 vs.135 g/km) and a greater tax bill (22% vs. 19% BIK). Real-world economy backed up this theory with a 25.6mpg low and only a 40.0mpg high leading to a humdrum 31.2mpg overall.
Also disappointing was the inability of the satnav to accept a full postcode, and blower knobs that required one-button-press-too-many to function. But overall, a car this universally admired and so useful to own compared to its Coupe sister (and those from rival brands) will surely retain good RVs and therefore make good fleet-manager sense as well as fleet-driver joy. Just avoid the auto.
|Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI SE Multitronic 143hp|
|Claimed combined |
|Our average |
|Model price range||£25,455-£38,725|
|CO2 (tax) ||152g/km/22%|
|BIK 20/40% |
|Service interval|| up to 19,000mls/2yrs|
|Boot space (min/max)||480/980 litres|
|Why we’re running it||To see if the A5 really |
can combine practicality
with style in everyday living
|Positive||Exterior looks, |
|Negative||Thirsty auto, satnav |