SPORT FOR ALL? (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 76
When it comes to prestigiously-badged compact executive German cars, traditional thinking suggests that estates are fine but five-door hatchbacks aren't. Audi however, hasn't made it to the top of the pile by traditional thinking and their first generation A5 Sportback aimed to turn such thinking on its head, with coupe styling married to a couple of rear passenger doors and hatchback practicality. Here, we look at the post-2012 facelifted version, evaluating it as a used buy.
Modelsword count: 15
Five-door hatch (1.8TFSI, 2.0TFSI, 3.2TFSI, 2.0 TDI, 3.0 TDI diesel [Standard, Sport, S line, S5])
Historyword count: 179
Once, not too long ago, the German prestige brands looked down their noses at the idea of a five-door hatchback bodyshape in the compact executive segment. They left that sort of thing to mainstream Mondeos and Vauxhall Insignias. Audi changed all that with the launch of their A5 Sportback model in 2009. All of a sudden, target business buyers realised that a nicely styled hatchback could look very coupe-like, which, especially in business circles, was exactly what an increasing number of buyers were looking for. The style of a sportscar: yet to keep the Fleet Manager and/or your partner happy, the practicality of having four passenger doors. A5s run on Audi A4 mechanicals, so this is essentially the A4 hatchback that that the German brand could never be seen to build. Late 2011 saw this car get a whole range of detail improvements - more efficient engines, extra hi-tech equipment and the three-person rear seat option it should have had in the first place. This revised version lasted until late 2016 when an all-new second generation model was launched.
What You Getword count: 504
Imagine what an A4 saloon might look like if it had a hatchback, was slightly wider and lower and had an A5 coupe nose and you're pretty much picturing this Sportback model. To be fair, you wouldn't necessarily immediately guess its A4 ancestry from a casual glance. This design, though just 11mm longer, is a significant 28mm wider and has the A5 coupe model's wavy waistline and frameless doors. The revised post-2012 MK1 model version we're looking at here features a sharper-looking set of wedgy A6-style headlamps. On 'S line' and top of the range models, these are surrounded by smart LED strip daytime running lights. Other MK1 model facelift revisions included a cleaner-looking single-frame front grille, as well as tweaks to the front bumper and the bonnet. The more angular tail lights were re-styled too and used brighter LED technology. Perhaps more significantly, from just before the time of this facelift, Audi decided to offer buyers from new the option of a three-person rear seat on all Sportback variants save the S5: look for used examples fitted with this feature. Perhaps the reason Audi didn't make this option available earlier was down to the inconvenient central transmission tunnel this car must have, despite the fact that it's front wheel drive. Not ideal then for an adult centre rear seat occupant, but fine if you've got three kids. For two adults in the back, legroom will be quite adequate and, contrary to expectations, rear headroom isn't too compromised by the sloping coupe-style roof. And behind the wheel? Well, it's as beautifully finished as ever, tailored like a sleek-fitting suit, everything being clear and elegant. This improved model got revised steering wheel designs, beefier column stalks, clearer white-illuminated instrumentation displays, neat chrome detailing, updated buttons, smarter upholstery and some fresh interior finish choices - one rather curiously titled 'poetry' that includes rather lovely yacht-deck style wood inlays. The optional MMI infotainment system was also easier to use, with fewer buttons and more logical menus (you can even put in a 7-digit postcode into the sat nav). Through it, you can access a whole raft of online options, everything from Google Earth mapping to in-car internet access. Luggage space in the long, flat loading bay is pretty much the same as you'd get in an A4 saloon or Avant estate, 480-litres to be exact. Some models you'll find will have been fitted with an optional ski-hatch for longer items. If that's not enough, you can extend the space available to 1263-litres by lowering the split-folding rear seat backs. A neat touch is the 70/30 split luggage cover, the larger part permanently attached to the tailgate so that it lifts out of the way when the hatch is raised. The remaining 30% is a small, hinged shelf which offers easy access to the boot space. On the negative side, the tailgate opens from quite a high loading lip, does without a rear wiper and lifts so high that it might be difficult for shorter owners to lower.
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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates
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