• 2017 Audi A5 Sportback

After seeing the A5 Coupe and Sedan, we finally get a look at the A5 Sportback test mule

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Slated for a debut at the 2016 Paris Auto Show, the new Audi A5 Sportback has made an early debut, boasting a much needed update to exterior styling, a very slight increase in size (overall length up by 0.4 feet over the current model) increased room inside for passengers, and there’re even some updates to the powertrain department that bring more power output and better fuel economy. Of course, the best part is that the A5 Sportback finally features Audi’s newest design language, which means that ridiculously tall and boring grille up front is finally a thing of the past.

We saw the new Sportback out testing in camo as early as March of 2016, but we could only make out so much of what was going on. Of course, we knew it would take on styling cues from other models in the lineup, but that wasn’t really enough to get the blood flowing. Compared to the previous model, the new, second-gen model does have a sportier rear end, but the overall styling and characteristics of the car really go on unchanged. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, just don’t expect to see too many wild changes, and you won’t be disappointed.

Well, with that said, let’s take a good look at the second-generation Audi A5 Sportback and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi A5 Sportback.

Exterior

2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior Exterior
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2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior Exterior
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2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior Exterior
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While I can appreciate the fact that the A5 Sportback is a hatchback, I’m still not sure the whole four doors and a hatch on a car really works. I like that the A5 has a longer hood and a rear-biased passenger compartment, but I still think there are just too many choices in models these days. Be that as it may, I must say that this specific model looks much better sporting a second-gen face with Audi’s latest design language. Compared to the outgoing model the front end is much more attractive. That ugly, almost square grille is no more, leaving room for a shorter and wider unit that finally sheds on of the worse looks Audi ever put on the face of a car.

The hood now wraps around the nose a little more which, in combination with the dramatic hood lines, gives the front end a more menacing and commanding appearance.

Thanks to the new grille, the hood now wraps around the nose a little more which, in combination with the dramatic hood lines, gives the front end a more menacing and commanding appearance. The headlights are now thinner and have a somewhat sleeker appearance with that LED strip running along the top of the lens. The corner air inlets aren’t quite as wide and, thanks to the abundance of definition around them, are now sportier and appear taller. That little air dam that sat below the grille on the outgoing model is still in place, however, it now runs the entire width of the front fascia and is accented by a stylish but mild front splitter.

Moving over to the sides, there is more shame and disappointment than anything. While this is a second-generation model, Audi clearly left the actual shell of the car practically unaltered. The same two body lines exist, with the upper body line running from the headlights to the taillights with a small curve that follows the contour of the wheel arches. The lower body line that runs between the wheel arches has been lowered a bit, but to the untrained eye, the sides of the car are practically unchanged. The side view mirrors are new and have a slightly taller appearance. The rear quarter glass also has a slightly different design with the bottom edge swooping up more dramatically in the rear and the rear most point aiming just a little higher. Like I said before, it’s really nothing to write home about.

The rear did get more cosmetic upgrades that the sides did, which make the rear a little sportier. To start off, there is a new character line behind the rear wheels that ties into that side body line. The rear hatch is practically unchanged at first sight, but upon closer inspection, you can see that the lip on the hatch is now wider – now stretching to the upper outside corners of the tail lamps. The tail lamps are a little wider but have the same general shape. The inner lenses feature a little extra length, but outside of this, the only difference is the lens layout. They are a little more stylish than the outgoing units, and no longer have that cheap 90s look to them. Down below, new character lines in the rear fascia give the car a sense of command, and the rear insert at the bottom is now sleeker than before. All told, it’s a pretty good upgrade to the overall design, however, I still wish it had some new styling cues on the side. Sure that lower body line has been dropped a little lower, but in this case, less isn’t exactly more.

Side-by-Side Comparison

2017 Audi A5 Sportback
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Interior

2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior
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2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior
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2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior
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Compared to the outgoing model, the interior takes on some significant changes in the style department. To start off, the center console now sits higher than before with the console and the center stack coming together at a much higher point. The cup holders have been moved forward, ahead of the shifter, while the shifter itself is now shorter, wider, and positioned farther back in the console. Ahead of the console on the center stack, a small control unit with two large knobs is in place for HVAC system, while the infotainment system display – Audi’s MMI navigation plus with MMI touch – now floats above the center stack. That system, by the way, is 8.3-inchs in size, has a resolution of 1,024-by-48- pixels, has 10 GB of flash storage, a DVD drive, Audi Connect services, and iOS and Android smartphone integration. Sound is sent to a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound. Overall there are 19 speakers and 755 watts of power.

Compared to the outgoing model, the interior takes on some significant changes in the style department.

All told, the interior has grown a bit with the overall interior length being increased by 17 mm; shoulder room increased by 11 mm, and rear knee room increased by 24 mm. While that is a little extra room, it’s really not much and practically unnoticeable from inside the vehicle. The dash now features a wider-looking layout with HVAC vents running from the center across the face of the dash. There’s a three-spoke steering wheel that is wrapped in leather with a 12.3-in TFT monitor just ahead that displays all pertinent vehicle information for the driver. A head-up display system is optional at a premium.

The door trim panels are now more stylish with the pull handle now ahead of the armrest, while the window and mirror controls are now flat and sit a little farther back. The armrest and pull handle are wrapped in the same leather as the seats. There’s also an Alcantara insert between the upper segment of the panel and the armrest. A storage pocket is now located below the armrest. The seats on the new model actually take on a somewhat dated look in my opinion, with rectangular sections making up the center of the seats.

In the rear, the seatback comes standard with a 40-20-40 split to allow for expandable cargo room or access to the trunk from the interior. With the seats up, the trunk can hold 16.95 cubic-feet of cargo, while laying the seats down increases cargo space to 45.91 cubic-feet. Not bad. The rear door panels mimic the front almost perfectly, featuring the same Alcantara inserts and silver trim around the door handle. There is a small center console for rear passengers that is integrated with the front console. It provides to rear vents in the center along with a few HVAC controls to help keep rear passengers at bay during longer road trips. While I’m not sure I would want to ride back there with three people, it would certainly be more than spacious with just two rear passengers.

Side-by-Side Comparison

2017 Audi A5 Sportback
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Drivetrain

2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior Exterior
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Audi is offering the A5 Sportback with a choice of two different gasoline engines or three different diesel configurations with power ranging anywhere between 187 and 282 horsepower. Both of the available gasoline engines are 2.0-liters in size. On the lower end of the spectrum, the 2.0-liter gasoline mill produces 187 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. If that isn’t enough and you want to stick with gasoline, the high-end version of the same engine produces 248 horsepower and 272.9 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful gasoline unit can push the Sportback up to 62 mph in around six seconds and has a combined fuel economy rating of 47.8 mpg. Audi didn’t mention the fuel economy or performance of the entry-level gasoline mill, but it’s safe to assume 62 mph comes in around seven seconds.

Audi is offering the A5 Sportback with a choice of two different gasoline engines or three different diesel configurations.

On the diesel front, the entry-level pill is a 2.0-liter TDI that delivers a fair 187 horsepower (Just like the gasoline unit) and 295 pound-feet of torque. According to Audi, this is enough to secure a 7.4-second sprint to 62 mph, a top speed of 146 mph, and a combined fuel economy of 67.3 mpg combined. Then you’ve got the 3.0-liter TDI that is offered in two different flavors. On the lower end of the V-6 diesel spectrum, you get 215 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is said to be 61.4 mpg combined. The second and more desirable of the two is “new” and has an elevated output of 282 horsepower and 457.3 pound-feet of torque. Of course, if that’s not enough for you, you could upgrade to the S5 Sportback which has a turbocharged V-6 with 349 horsepower and 368.8 pound-feet of torque.

2017 Audi A5 Sportback
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When it comes to shifting duties, you have your choice between three different transmission units. First there’s a six-speed manual for those who like to row their own gears (at least Audi isn’t killing off the manual yet, right?) Then there’s a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch unit that can be equipped with paddle shifters or an eight-speed automatic for those more interested in smooth and luxurious driving over days of spirited acceleration and bending corners.

Prices

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It’s a little too early to really discuss pricing, but we know the current A5 Sportback goes for £30,035 (about $42,752 at current exchange rates) over in the U.K., so expect to see a slight increase in pricing, maybe upward of £31,000.

Competition

BMW 3-Series GT

2014 BMW 3-Series GT High Resolution Exterior
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The 5-Series GT turned out to be pretty unsuccessful, and the 3-Series GT hasn’t really performed all that well for Bimmer either, but it is a competitor to the A5 Sportback. Like the Audi, the 3-Series GT offers a range of gasoline and diesel powered engines in the four- and six-cylinder flavors and combines the ideals of luxury with the functionality of long-range comfort. The 3-Series GT shares a similar design with the A5 Sportback and commands a starting price tag of £30,055 – just £20 more than the current A5 Sportback.

Read our full review on the BMW 3-Series GT here.

Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake

2015 Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake High Resolution Exterior
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The CLA Shooting Brake is more of a wagon than a four-door hatch like the 3-Series GT or the A5 Sportback, but I think it should be considered as a competitor. It offers great luxury inside and sporty styling outside, with the extra cargo room provided by its shooting brake design. It has only been around since 2013 and is slated to go through an update for the 2017 model year. The best thing about the CLA Shooting Brake is its starting price. The current model currently retails for £26,030 in the U.K., which places it about £4,000 cheaper than we expect the new A5 Sportback to go for. It might not be quite as sporty as the A5 with its wagon-like nature, but when it comes to cargo space, people hauling, and luxury, you’ll find the CLA is well worth a look.

Read our full review on the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake here.

Conclusion

2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior Exterior
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While I’m still not a fan of the whole four-door hatchback, I have to say that after spending time looking over the vehicle and learning all about the fresh changes, the A5 Sportback is starting to grow on me. I do think that Audi could step up its redesign game a little better, especially when it comes to the side profile of its cars. I mean let’s face it – the side profile of the second-gen model is nearly identical to that of the outgoing model. And, while there is plenty of change in the front and rear, it’s kind of like doing the job half-assed, don’t you think? Okay, so maybe I’m being a little critical here, but it a weird way that’s my job. As far as the interior goes, I’m pleased with the changes here, but the whole floating infotainment screen is starting to get a little dated. Otherwise, Audi made huge strides in improving the interior on this model. The interior is more stylish, less dated, and seems to be a very comfortable place to spend the daily commute. Add that with the bump in power and fuel economy, and it’s safe to say that Audi did a decent job on this generational model.

  • Leave it
    • Still under heavy camo
    • Rear end still looks boring
    • Not sure about the new grille design
Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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