• Car Review

Review: 2018 Audi A5 Sportback

By David Undercoffler | March 20, 2018

Autolist rating: 5/5
But would we buy it? Yes
Price range: $43,575–$53,595

Key takeaways

  • The A5 Sportback was redesigned for 2018.
  • It’s a stylish yet practical four-door coupe.
  • All-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine are standard.
  • Slightly larger and more useful than the Audi A4 sedan.

What is it?

TLDR: Crossover practicality with sports car looks.

The A5 Sportback is a four-door coupe that’s largely based on the two-door A5 coupe and the slightly smaller Audi A4. This Sportback version is smaller than Audi’s high-end, A7 four-door coupe, but philosophically similar.

This is the first time that the Sportback version has been sold in the U.S., though earlier generations have been available in Europe. The BMW 4 Series four-door coupe is its main competitor.

The Sportback model – in addition to its four doors – also has a hatchback-style trunk lid and open space between the rear seats and the trunk, like a station wagon.

This gives the A5 Sportback a split personality that’s hard not to like. It’s one of the more stylish and elegant cars not just in its segment but on the market today. And with those looks comes a usefulness that’s rare for midsize luxury sedans.

The Sportback’s trunk has almost 22 cubic feet of space, compared to the A4’s trunk which holds 13 cubic feet. The rear seats fold easily to add another 14 cubic feet of room.

The A5 comes with a single engine and transmission choice: a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 252 horsepower and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard.

There are three trim levels on the A5 Sportback: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.

Audi also makes an S5 Sportback with a more powerful V6 engine and numerous other upgrades.

What’s good

TLDR: Basically everything.

The style. The A5 is one of the better-proportioned cars on the market right now. Thanks to the sloping, coupe-like rear hatch, the A5 has a silhouette that normal sedans just can’t match.

The interior space. As we mentioned, the hatchback setup of this A5 gives it immense practicality without the bulkiness of a crossover. The trunk swallows plenty of cargo, and then you have the option to easily fold the rear seats for extra room. But on the outside, all people see is style.

The rest of the interior. The layout, materials and execution of the A5 are in keeping with Audi’s reputation for some of the best interiors in the industry. The precision, construction, comfort and quiet of the A5’s cabin is exceptional.

What’s bad

TLDR: Interior can be cramped, engine can be noisy.

Engine noise. Generally the A5’s turbocharged engine is fine in daily driving, but when the driver accelerates hard and the engine revs, the engine feels and sounds more coarse than we’d like for a luxury sedan like this.

Cramped quarters. Yes, the A5 Sportback has plenty of practicality for hauling stuff, but its cabin can feel a little cramped for humans. Much of this is due to that sloping roofline that makes the car look so good on the outside. Inside, however, it eats into headroom and sightlines, especially in the rear seats.

5 stars of execution

Safety? Yes

  • The A5 Sportback is a Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it has a five-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • All models also come with pre-collision braking and a system that automatically shuts the windows and sunroof, tightens the seatbelts and prepares the brakes if the car senses you’re about to crash.
  • Unfortunately, only the high-end, Prestige trim offers adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, and it’s a $1,800 option. This should be available on all models.

Value? Yes

  • The base A5 Premium starts at $43,575 and comes with everything you really want in a luxury car.
  • That includes leather seats, a panoramic moonroof, all-wheel drive, the aforementioned pre-collision braking, a power-operated trunk door, handsome 18-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
  • Even when our loaded test model started to get into the pricey territory at $55,400, it still felt reasonable and roughly on par with the similar BMW 430i xDrive.

Efficiency? Yes

  • The A5 Sportback we tested is rated at 24/34/27 MPG city/highway/combined.
  • That’s roughly the same as BMW’s comparable 430i xDrive.
  • In our testing, we saw an average of 23 MPG in mixed city and highway driving.

Driving experience? Yes

  • The powertrain on the A5 – the turbocharged engine and the transmission – are an excellent pairing. There’s plenty of power whenever you need it, and the transmission’s shifts are quick and seamless.
  • The car is exceptionally quiet (except for the previously mentioned engine noise at times) and comfortable. It’s also easy to park and maneuver in tight spaces.

Execution? Yes

  • The A5 Sportback is a remarkably well-rounded vehicle.
  • It does nearly everything well: luxury, looks, practicality and performance.
  • Consumers are flocking to crossovers, but cars like this are worth sticking around for.

Total Rating: 5 stars

What’s it gonna cost me?

The A5 starts at $43,575 for the Premium model. It has everything you want and need in a luxury car, and all of that style is included free of charge.

That’s the model we’d choose, but we’d add heated front seats for another $500 and the $350 wood trim upgrade to bring some warmth to the cabin.

The Premium Plus starts at $45,000 and adds additional tech-based safety features: LED headlights, keyless entry and trunk release and heated front seats with memory.

The A5 Prestige starts at $51,175, and it gets an elaborate fully-digital instrument panel that drivers can customize, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi’s touchpad-controlled navigation system and a 360-degree parking camera and sensors.

Our loaded Prestige model also had adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, an adaptive suspension and heated rear seats and steering wheel for $55,400 out the door.

Also consider

Due to the rarity of four-door, coupe-like, hatchback luxury cars (and that long name, no doubt), there aren’t many direct competitors. As we mentioned, BMW’s 430i xDrive is its main foe and is certainly worth a look if you like the A5.

Kia’s upstart Stinger is a challenger in this field, and it’s thousands of dollars cheaper than both the Audi and the BMW. But you get what you pay for; it lacks the elegance and build quality of this A5.

Volvo’s excellent S90 sedan isn’t a hatchback like the Audi, BMW or Kia, but it matches the Audi for power, styling and price. It’s the only model mentioned here that we’d seriously consider over the A5.