New Audi A5 Sportback vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Used Audi A5 Sportback 2016-present review

What is it like?
Review continues below...

What's the used Audi A5 hatchback like?

If you want the style of a coupe mixed with the practicality of a conventional hatchback then what you need is probably a fastback like this Audi A5 Sportback. It’s fair to say that it was Audi who brought this hitherto upper price-bracket mix to the masses with its first-generation Sportback, a car that ran successfully and sold well from 2007 to 2016, before being replaced by this even sleeker version based on the underpinnings of the contemporary and highly praised A4 executive saloon.

With a more capacious interior and a range of more efficient engines, this second-generation car is also bigger inside and out but is, more importantly, lighter, the better to aid driving dynamics and fuel economy.

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, the more powerful unit producing a more than useful 282bhp. Petrols begin with a 148bhp 1.4-litre engine, and work there way up through 178bhp 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.   

Trim-wise, the entry-level SE models come with xenon headlights, a powered tailgate, three-zone climate control and a 7.0in colour screen. 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. We think the mid-level Sport trim is worth seeking out, too, because it adds leather seats and powered front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment to that tally, and you get SD card-based sat-nav. The top-spec S line car, however, 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. Also among the options to look out for were the Virtual Cockpit and the Bang & Olufsen premium audio.

On the road, the 2.0 TDI 150 diesel feels a little flat, whereas the 190 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-adjustble 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 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. 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.

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