“2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T Quattro Tiptronic”
A stylishly ideal hatchback model
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. One of the latest new vehicles to bow in the marketplace is the Audi S5 Sportback.
The basic conceptual form of the Sportback model 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 both design and performance, while 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 focus of the 5-passenger Sportback design 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, but in a coupe form. It reflects the styling of the S5 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 design cues.
The Audi S5 Sportback starts at $54,400 and derives its motive force from a 3.0-liter TFSI® V-6 that pumps out 354 horses from 5,400 to 6, 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 S5 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 also adds the following: 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 is distinguishable from the A5 with its added 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 Audi S5 Sportback model reflects 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. My most recent press test vehicle was a 2018 S5 Sportback 3.0T Quattro Tiptronic with an Ibis White metallic exterior, with the interior executed basically in a Magma Red interior with Black elements and contrasting red stitching, along with satin chrome trim accents. 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: The 2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T Quattro Tiptronic delivers exemplary drive experiences. The A5 version 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 twisting back mountain roads with finesse.
In the final analysis, this new S5 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 configurable in a variety of ways, including Google Earth perspectives. The size may well prove to be more appropriate for many consumers than the A7. In any case, this latest series of Sportbacks is most worthy of wearing the Audi rings – particularly the S5 model.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T Quattro Tiptronic
Base Price: $55,400.
Price as Tested: $63,975.
Engine Type and Size: 3.0 TFSI – DOHC, 24-valve direct intercooled Audi Valvelift system Turbocharged V6.
Horsepower (bhp): 354 @ 1,600-4.500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 369 @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / 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: Continental ContiSportContact 255/35 R19 96V mounted on 5-dual spoke design alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 111.2 inches
Length Overall: 187.1 inches
Width: 72.6 inches W/O mirrors – 79.9 inches w/mirrors
Height: 54.5 inches
Curb Weight: 3,924 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 15.3 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 21 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.29
0 – 60 mph: 4.5 seconds / Top track speed –155 mph
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.