“2018 Audi A5 and S5 Sportback”
A5 lineup expands with new distinctive line
Seattle, WA.- This year heralds the beginning of Audi’s biggest roll out of new product over the next three year period with the introduction of fourteen all-new or significantly enhanced models over the next 18 months. Audi has not only increased product quality, but the German automaker has also doubled sales over the last five years. The latest new vehicle or vehicles to bow in the marketplace is the Audi A5 Sportback and Audi S5 Sportback.
The basic conceptual form of both Sportback models first appeared in the form of the Audi A7, which is essentially a sedan that appears to be a Coupe, but with a large rear hatch. The A7, with its unique and innovative body style instantly became one of my favorite Audis, alongside the Audi R8 V10 Spider. The A7 resulted in tripling Audis’s C-segment volume following its introduction. It appealed to consumers in terms of design and performance, adding increased functionality.
Every design of anything begins with a single line that then progresses into a series of lines that culminate in the final product image. The 5-passenger Sportback design focus was to appeal to a broader range of potential buyers. It appears to offer an ideal balance of design and the versatility of a four-door sedan in coupe form. It reflects the styling of the A5 coupe, but displays a new, extended and flowing roofline, while delivering 0.4” more front headroom, 0.9” of additional rear headroom, and 2.4” more rear legroom. The Sportback’s wheelbase is the same as that of the A4, but it sits 1.6-inches lower. The basic Sportback design was inspired by the much earlier Audi 100S Coupe.
There is twice the cargo capacity of the A5 Coupe yielding 21.8 cubic feet with the rear seats in the upright position, and 35 cubic feet with them folded flat. The A5 Sportback is attractive in its own right, while the S5 Sportback steps up with a sportier aura and touches.
The A5 Sportback begins pricing at $42,600 and will draw its power from a 2.0-liter TFSI® four-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower in a range from 5,000-6,000, while developing 273 pound feet of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm. The transmission is a seven-speed S tronic® dual-clutch automatic with more responsive and quicker shifts. It’s 0-60 mph time is 5.7 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 130 mph.
The Audi S5 Sportback starts at $54,400 and derives its motive energy from a 3.0-liter TFSI® V-6 that pumps out 354 horses from 5,400 to6, 400 rpm along with 369 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,370-4,500 rpm. It travels from 0-60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds, shifting gears via an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox, with a top speed capability of 155 mph.
An available S Sport package provides Sport adaptive damping suspension, a Quattro sport differential, available dynamic steering and large, fixed, six-piston brake calipers.
Standard fare for the Audi A5 Sportback includes: Audi smartphone interface (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), Xenon plus headlights with LED DRLs and LED taillights with rear dynamic turn signals, leather seating surfaces, Audi pre sense® city, a rearview camera, three-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior LED lighting, a Panoramic sunroof and a power tailgate.
The Audi S5 Sportback adds the following to the A5’s inventory: S Sport suspension, three-spoke, flat-bottom, sport steering wheel, full LED headlamps, S Sportseats with massage function, Audi side assist with pre sense® rear, Parking system plus, heated front seats and a leather/Alcantara interior.
The S5 Sportback visually differentiates from the A5 by adding a rear lip spoiler, an S model –specific rear diffuser with a honeycomb structure, quad exhaust outlets with chrome tips., a Platinum Gray Singleframe® grille with aluminum optic double blade horizontal bars, S-model specific intake design and available red brake calipers.
The 2018 A5 and S5 Sportback models reflect the coupe’s innovative styling language, leading off with a wider, flatter Singleframe™ grille, along with longer, lower hood lines. The distinct wave-design shoulder line is more pronounced than before and wider wheel arches serve up design cues to the vehicle’s quattro® DNA. Rear horizontal design lines are joined by slim, sculptural three-dimensional LED taillights, and display a distinctly powerful look, emphasizing the vehicle’s width.
During the global press launch, I was able to spend wheel and seat time in both the A5 and the S5 Sportbacks. The A5 wore a Moonlight Blue metallic exterior finish and came with an Atlas Beige interior. Optional equipment and features included: the metallic paint, the Prestige Package, Driver Assistance Package, Adaptive damping suspension, Cold Weather Package, High gloss Dark Brown Walnut genuine wood inlays, which along with the Destination Charge bumped the final total to $55,400.
The S5 Sportback tested had an Ibis White exterior and a Magma Red interior. Extra costs included: the Navigation package, S Sport Package, Fine Nappa leather interior, Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound, 19” wheel Package, Carbon Atlas inlays and the Destination charge, elevating the final tally to $63,975.
SUMMARY: Both Audi Sportback versions deliver exemplary drive experiences. The A5 is certainly more than simply adequate, but the S5 example is superior in terms of performance traits, sportier appearance, as well as ride and handling characteristics. The S Sport package enhances throttle mapping, shift points, sweetens the exhaust note and stops on a dime while giving change. Steering feel is enhanced as well.
The car hugs the road and stays flat during even the most spirited maneuvers, covering the mountain roads of Washington state’s Cascade mountains.
In the final scheme of thio\ngs, either new Sportback is highly desirable in virtually every aspect. Safety features abound, the visual appeal rates high on the scale, and communications and telematics are state of the art – especially the Virtual cockpit screen, which is configurabkle in a variety of ways, including Google Earth perspectives. The size may well prove to be more appropriate for many consumers than the A7. I any case, this latest series of Sportbacks is most worthy of wearing the Audi rings – particularly the S5 model.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Audi A5 2.0T and A5 S 3.0T Sportback
Base Price: $42,600.- A5 / $54,400 – A5S
Price as Tested: $55,400 – A5 / $63,975 – A5S
Engine Type and Size: A5-2.0 TFSI – DOHC, 16-valve chain-driven Audi Valvelift system Turbocharged inline 4-cylinder.
S5-3.0 TFSI – DOHC, 24-valve direct intercoolerAudi Valvelift system Turbocharged V6.
A5 – Horsepower (bhp): 252 @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs. 273 @ 5,400-6,400 rpm
S5 – Horsepower (bhp): 354 @ 1,600-4.500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 369 @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
Transmission: A5 – 7-speed DCT Stronic automatic.
S5 – 8-speed Tiptronic
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engines / quattro all-wheel drive system
Suspension: Sport and Adaptive Damping suspension available.
Front – Five-link independent steel spring.
Rear – Five-link independent steel spring.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel ventilated discs
Tires: A5 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 245/40 R18 93H A/S mounted on 10-spoke dynamic design alloy wheels.
S5 Continental 255/35 R19 96Y XL Summer performance mounted on 5-parallel spoke design alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 111.2 inches
Length Overall: 186.3 inches – A5 / 187.1 inches S5
Width: 72.6 inches W/O mirrors – 79.9 inches w/mirrors
Height: 54.6 inches – A5 / 54.5 inches – S5
Curb Weight: 3,704 lbs. – A5 / 3,924 lbs. S5
Turning Circle: 3 8.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 15.3 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 24 mpg city / 34 mpg highway – A5 / S5 not available.
Drag Coefficient: 0.29
0 – 60 mph: 5.7 seconds – A5 / 4.5 seconds – S5
Top track speed – 130 mph – A5 / 155 mph – S5
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.