What's the used Audi A5 hatchback like?
If you want the style of a coupé mixed with the practicality and upmarket appeal of a conventional executive car then what you need is probably what is called a fastback or four or five-door coupé, like this Audi A5 Sportback.
It sits in a class that includes such rivals as the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, the Mercedes CLA, the Kia Stinger and the VW Arteon. However, it’s fair to say that it was Audi who brought this hitherto upper price-bracket mix to the masses with its first-generation 2007-2016 Audi A5 Sportback, a car that ran successfully and sold well, before being replaced by this even sleeker version based on the underpinnings of the contemporary and highly praised Audi A4 executive saloon.
The diesel engines start with a 2.0-litre TDI in 148 or 187bhp forms, and an Ultra version that adds better fuel economy. From there you move up to two versions of a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, a 216bhp or a more powerful unit producing a more than useful 282bhp. Petrols begin with a 148bhp 2.0-litre engine, and work their way up through 187bhp and 249bhp 2.0-litre units, up to a 349bhp 3.0-litre V6 in the top-of-the-range S5 version, a super-fast and performance-orientated car helped out by the familiar Audi ‘quattro’ four-wheel-drive system.
Then came the great naming change of 2019 that brought in a number-based system of differentiating the various power outputs of different engines. The simplified version is as follows: both the 148bhp 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines became 35; the 187bhp variants 40; the 249bhp 2.0-litre petrol was renamed 45 and the 282bhp 3.0-litre diesel was distinguished as 50. The S5, mercifully, kept the same nomenclature as before.
Trim-wise, the entry-level SE models come with xenon headlights, a powered tailgate, three-zone climate control and a 7.0in colour screen. Sport trim adds leather seats and powered front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment to that tally, and you get SD card-based sat-nav. However, the top-spec S line car, though well equipped, still required the original owner to fork out extra on Audi’s Technology Pack, which offered its widescreen infotainment system, fingertip-input MMI rotary controller, full online connectivity and wireless smartphone charging.
As of the 2020 facelift, the A5 range altered to Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung. Entry-level Sport has LED headlights, 18in alloys, a 10.1in infotainment screen with sat-nav and a Virtual Cockpit. S line has more advanced matrix headlights, larger 19in wheels and firmer sport suspension, while Edition 1 comes with laser lights, 20in alloys and black exterior trim. Vorsprung versions come with practically every option, including adaptive suspension, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, a 360deg exterior camera system, and Nappa leather seats with electric and massage functions in the front.
The 148bhp 2.0 TDI diesel feels a little flat on the road, whereas the 187bhp version offers a more wholesome push. The 3.0-litre diesels are both pleasingly quick, and much the same can be said for the 2.0-litre petrol engine options, although they’re a little gruffer than expected. The 349bhp 3.0 V6 in the S5 is enough to give the car considerable wallop, and to make it a storming performer.
Added to that, the steering on all versions is precise, grip is good and the handling polished, but all models seem to lack a sense of involvement in the driving that some of its rivals in this class offer in spades. It all feels a little remote for the keener driver, although those for whom a fastback is all about the style will probably find this of little concern.
The ride, too, can be a little fidgety, even on the more comfort-orientated chassis of the SE and Sport models, and especially on cars with sportier suspension set-ups, like the S line and S Sport, which features on the S5. The optional adaptive dampers do help, in this respect.
Inside, the A5’s interior echoes the A4’s, and that can only be a good thing. The driving position is multi-adjustable through the seat and the steering wheel and it’s easy to find the right posture. It all looks great, too. The minimalist dashboard is in keeping with the clean exterior design, while Audi’s MMI infotainment system with its 7.0in screen and the rotary controller is one of the easiest to use in the class and the interior materials are of a much higher perceived quality than those found in all of its many rivals.
It's worth noting that with the facelift Audi updated the infotainment system. It now came only with a 10.1in touchscreen. The graphics are sharp, the software is responsive and the menus are easy enough to flick through once you're used to them. We prefer the BMW iDrive system in the 4 Series, though, because the physical rotary controller is less distracting to use while you're driving.
Space is plentiful for the two up front, while those in the rear are a little pinched for head room, due to the swoopy design of the exterior styling.
The boot is a great size, with enough room to fit seven carry-on suitcases, and the hatchback opening means loading larger items in is a breeze. Should you need more room, the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats drop to reveal a flat load bay.
What used Audi A5 hatchback will I get for my budget?
You’ll need around £16,000 to get behind the wheel of the latest A5 Sportback, this for an early 2017 example with low mileage and a full service history bought from an independent or franchised dealer. Petrol engines are rarer than diesel, so you'll need to spend at least £18,000 to buy one with all the same criteria applied. A 3.0-litre diesel A5 is even less common but can be found for between £22,000 and £25,000 for a 2018 model. Spend between £25,000 and £28,000 on a 2019 car, and nearer £30,000 to £40,000 on a 2020 or 2021 car. You'll need between £42,000 and £55,000 on a 2022 or 2023 model.
Check the value of a used Audi A5 Sportback with What Car? Valuations
How much does it cost to run a Audi A5 hatchback?
On paper, the most economical version is the 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra diesel with, in some trims, a combined fuel consumption of 68.9mpg under the older NEDC tests. Some of the cooking versions of the 2.0TDI 190 can give as much as 62.8mpg, and the 2.0 TDI 150 67.3mpg. Don’t expect much more than the official average 51.4mpg from the petrol-engined cars, the best being the 2.0 TFSI 190 version. Just ignore the S5 is you don't like paying for fuel since this one only does 37.7mpg.
Under the later, more accurate WLTP tests, the 35 TFSI averages 44.8mpg, the 40 TFSI 44.8mpg, the 35 TDI 57.6mpg, the 40 TDI 54.3mpg and the S5 40.4mpg.
The most economical 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra A5 is also the best for CO2 at 108g/km, while the regular 2.0 TDI 150 emits 110g/km.
Petrol engines put out more CO2, but the best version is the 2.0 TFSI 190 at 124g/km, while the worst is the 3.0-litre S5 at 170g/km.
Annual car tax (VED) will be based on all cars registered after April 2017 came into force on a flat rate. On top of this, there is a supplementary luxury car tax to pay on all cars that cost over £40,000 new, a threshold that many A5 Sportbacks cross. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here. The current rate is £180 a year for the VED tax and £390 a year for the luxury car tax.
Insurance costs should be reasonable for a car of this type, with groups ranging from 29 to 42 for the S5.
As for servicing, though not cheap, should be less costly than the equivalent from Mercedes. Better yet, you can spread the cost of two consecutive services, although it does vary depending upon how old the A5 is, and what size of engine it has. Once your A5 is over three years old, it'll qualify for Audi’s fixed-price servicing plan that currently stands at £190 for an interim and £360 for a major service on engines up to 2.0-litres in capacity, or £220 and £414 for anything larger.
Which used Audi A5 hatchback should I buy?
Presuming you're looking at the earlier models, the 187bhp 2.0 TDI Ultra 190 is the one we’d look for, as it’s economical, punchy enough and refined.
Sport is our favourite trim. It adds different 17in alloy wheels, sports seats, LED interior lighting pack and sat-nav for not a huge amount more money than you’ll pay for entry-level SE trim. A worthwhile option to look out for is the Technology Pack. This added an upgraded infotainment system with more features and a bigger 8.3in screen, as well as wireless phone-charging and Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit digital dials. Also among the options to look out for were the Virtual Cockpit and the Bang & Olufsen premium audio.
Our favourite Audi A5 Sportback: 2.0 TDI 190 Sport
What alternatives should I consider to a used Audi A5 hatchback?
The previous-generation BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is the most logical rival to the A5 Sportback, although underneath the skin it’s rear-wheel drive, where the Audi is front or four-wheel drive. The Beemer rides and handles well, though, and the diesel engines are both punchy and economical. However, those same diesels can be a little gruff at times, and there’s not as much room in the back of the 4 Series as there is in the A5.
The Mercedes CLA rides well, and its running costs seem reasonable. It’s an eye-catching design too. Countered against that, the infotainment system could be slicker and rear seat space is tight. It doesn't drive as well as some of its rivals, though.