The A5’s interior is typically Audi: immaculate. Adorned with impeccable materials and assembled with zealous attention to detail, there are few mainstream rivals (yes, including BMW and Mercedes
) that can match the A5’s air of substance and quality. While the interior panels all cosy up to their neighbours perfectly, each switch and every control is weighted and balanced to communicate a sense of silky precision. Additionally, all the usual touch points are thickly padded and trimmed with plush materials, while the steering wheel and gearstick look and feel reassuringly expensive. All of this is before you add in the option of Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’, which replaces the conventional dials with a full-LED display, ultra-high definition screen quality and iPhone-like configurability, to give a highly effective blend of technology and sophistication.
The Sportback has a longer wheelbase than the standard A5 coupe, and most of that goes into improving the room in the rear seats. The result is that the excellent room in the front seats is complemented by decent room in the back. Most passengers will be perfectly comfortable, and only those way over six feet tall will find themselves having to duck a little to get in, or find their heads touch the ceiling and their knees brushing the backs of the front seats. However, the high transmission tunnel running down the centre of the car means the middle-rear seat is all but useless. Last, but not least, the boot will take 480 litres and it has a nice, wide opening, although there is quite a high lip to lift things over. And, unlike many rivals, the A5 comes with a 40/20/40 split/fold rear seat as standard.
Despite its name, the A5 Sportback it doesn’t feel all that sporty to drive. Instead, it feels more like a grand tourer, most at home on sweeping main roads, rather than tight, twisty B-roads. Drive it, and the words that spring to mind are things like ‘sure-footed’ and ‘undramatic’, but we mean that in a good way. The result is that you can cover ground at quite a lick, as even the front-wheel drive diesel models seem to have huge levels of grip in the dry, and body roll is kept in check very effectively. However, there are a couple of disappointments. First, the steering is almost completely devoid of feel, which means the car isn’t as engaging or involving as, say, a BMW; a shame in a car with ‘Sport’ in its name. Second, the ride has a noticeably firm edge to it, especially at low speeds, although it’s nothing you couldn’t live with.