The 2020 Audi A5 Sportback on test for Changing Lanes!
The 2020 Audi A5 Sportback on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2020 Audi A5 Sportback!

The Audi A5 Sportback is revamped for 2020. Redrawn lines, renewed technology and a revised engine line-up are the headline features. Audi modernises their gorgeous five door coupé that’s still practical enough to carry up to five people AND turn heads. Aside from the new look, new mild hybrid drivetrains and the latest MMI touch operating concept debut. Pricing starts from €48,970.

If we rewind a little, the first generation Audi A5 Sportback debuted in 2009 and it was the German brand’s arrival in a new segment between the classic A4 and A6 saloons. The A5 Sportback and Coupé are derived from the A4 yet have a completely different character. With updated Audi A4 models on sale in Ireland since the end of 2019, it was time for the A5 range to receive a similar revamp.

What’s so special about the Audi A5 Sportback?

Elegant, elongated, and sporty –  the Audi A5 has an exclusive coupé-like silhouette with a lowered, tapering roofline. A longer wheelbase with shorter front and rear overhangs also give it an edge over the A4. Slim windows and frameless doors complete the look.

The facelift sees the A5 get a slightly more chiselled appearance for 2020. The front end has more visual impact now the Singleframe honeycomb grille is wider and flatter. At the rear a diffuser insert with trapezoidal tailpipes makes the car appear wider. The Audi A5 Sportback S Line on test for Changing Lanes was sporty by default. But my test car also included the Style Package (€2,205) with 20″ wheels, panoramic glass sunroof, multicoloured interior ambient lighting, black styling package (€775) and mirrors (€152).

The interior of the new Audi A5 Sportback
The interior of the new Audi A5 Sportback

Inside the Audi A5 Sportback

Inside the new Audi A5 Sportback, you are welcomed by an exceptionally well-appointed cabin that has received an on-point technology update for 2020. This car manages to feel different behind the wheel to the closely related Audi A4, with a more sporty and lower driving position. However, it does inherit the same wonderful elegance and classy dashboard design. We love the large MMI touch display in the centre of the dash, angled slightly toward the driver. Ventilation controls use traditional dials below.

The Audi A5 Sportback feels big inside with roomy footwells in the rear. However the large transmission tunnel in the rear means it’s a more comfortable place for two rather than three. But the boot is a great size with a practical hatchback-style opening.

What’s the range like in Ireland?

In Ireland the Audi A5 Sportback is available in SE and S line trim levels. Buyers can choose from a range of TFSI petrol and TDI diesel engines with outputs ranging from 150 hp to 204 hp.

The petrol range is made up of the 35 TFSI (150 hp) and the 40 TFSI (204 hp). The diesel range is available with the 35 TDI (163 hp) and the 40 TDI (190 hp). Models are front wheel drive as standard but four wheel drive is available. All A5 models are equipped with an automatic transmission as standard.

The model on test was a 35 TDI S line with a list price of €52,830.

The new A5 Sportback is available from €48,970 in Ireland
The new A5 Sportback is available from €48,970 in Ireland

On the road in the Audi A5 Sportback

According to Audi, the A5’s suspension has been tuned with an emphasis on comfort but also with a sporty bias.  A tauter sport suspension is a feature of the S line model. On the road the A5 offers drivers more engagement than the A4 with lots of front end grip and precise, progressive steering as standard. There’s no rear wheel drive agility but the Audi will please most drivers, happy on the turn in with plenty of grip to inspire confidence on the twisty stuff.

Audi is beginning to roll out mild hybrid tech across key product lines and the updated A5 is no different. In the quest to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, a belt alternator starter recovers energy during deceleration and stores this in a compact lithium-ion battery. With the A5’s four-cylinder engines, the MHEV system is integrated into the 12-volt electrical system.

The 35 TDI in our test car is a 2.0-litre diesel with ‘modest’ 163 hp, yet feels surprisingly sprightly. Shifts are smooth and urgent through the 7-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. Fuel economy is competitive while motor tax is €190 per year. For most drivers there won’t be a real need to upgrade to the 40 TDI. The 35 TDI does a fine job here.

The typical fine Audi ride comfort and refinement was slightly offset in our S line model with optional 20″ wheels. However long distance refinement on the motorway for example is done well, with the engine settling down to the background and the car providing occupants with a comfortable, classy setting.

Did you like it?

The Audi A5 Sportback is clearly a gorgeous car and grabs attention with its more exclusive styling. The facelift has given the car a slightly more masculine appearance. It remains very desirable and will be a prized possession on many driveways.

The Audi A5 Sportback is practical and extremely stylish
The Audi A5 Sportback is practical and extremely stylish

Though its roots lie in the A4, the A5 carries a premium yet it is a far more interesting car to drive. It’s surprisingly unique with a great driving position and driver-focused cabin. Coupé-styling gives the A5 more presence, while the hatchback-style book makes it almost as practical as an A4 estate.

Inside there is a pleasant addition of new technology, but the cabin has an elegant design that still looks fresh and modern.

On the road the A5 Sportback also differentiates itself with a sporty yet composed drive, robust engines and no great compromise to comfort.

The Audi A5 Sportback gets a very expressive mid-term makeover that makes it one of the most well-rounded cars in its class. At Changing Lanes we love this car’s style, quality and versatility.

The Audi A5 range debuts mild hybrid technology for 2020
The Audi A5 range debuts mild hybrid technology for 2020

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi A5 Sportback 35 TDI S Line
€52,830 (from €48,970)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
163 hp
Torque: 380 Nm
8.4 seconds
Top speed: 226 km/h
Fuel economy: 3.7-4.1 l/100 km
CO2 emissions: 98-108 g/km
Motor Tax:  €190 per year