2021 Audi A5 Sportback Quattro Review: Specialty Curves



Audi’s A5 Sportback Quattro is a sure-footed long distance tourer, and since nobody needs that right now, it’s lucky to have plenty of other talents as well


SINGAPORE

If you’re thinking this car looks familiar, you’re not entirely wrong. We drove the earlier, less powerful A5 Sportback not too long ago, but if you’re still on the fence about the A5 Sportback here’s the updated version with an additional 99 horsepower, intelligent four-wheel drive, and mild hybrid drive to try and tip you into signing for one. 

Of course the extras come at a price, to the tune of more than S$70k, but it’s still a lot cheaper than the range-topping Audi S5, which checks in with a 3.0-litre turbo engine and a much bigger price tag of S$342,010 with COE.

The A5 Quattro driven here kind of acts as the middle child of A5 Sportback range, with enough power to make for a satisfying drive but not yet reaching into the S$300k price territory. A few decades back, this body style would have been called a fastback, but now it’s more likely to be identified as a four-door coupe. 

Either way you look at it, the styling is a nice change of pace from all the sedans or SUVs currently populating the roads of Singapore. The test car rides on a set of very impressive 19-inch wheels, and together with the chrome-accented S-Line bodywork gives the car an understated, sporty vibe.



The interior is very much what you’d expect from a luxury car of this calibre, but the real magic is in its incredibly smooth four-cylinder turbo engine. There’s 249 horsepower on tap, and the power delivery is so smooth that it’s almost possible to believe that the car is more powerful than the numbers suggest.

Unless you stick all the configuration options into sport mode, the car really isn’t too abrupt in how it launches you and your passengers forwards. Yet once it picks up revs the forward momentum feels quite relentless and you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the speed limit with alarming regularity.

It’s a car clearly designed as a long distance grand tourer, as it feels supremely at home and sure-footed at speeds above 90km/h.

Audi’s adaptive cruise control makes getting stuck in tailbacks less of a chore, as the car automatically tracks the car ahead of you and can come to a complete stop if the line of cars ahead are stopped too.  Rear seats are spacious for a car of this size and shape, but the rear windows do not fully wind down and can only be opened about halfway. We suspect the door’s shape , coupled with the electronics within, may have something to do with this.



The mild hybrid drive allows the engine to switch off during periods of mid to high speed cruising, and while it’s not as efficient as a full hybrid powertrain it does offer up a slight improvement in fuel economy.

Through the corners, the intelligent four-wheel drive system really keeps things planted as it shuffles drive to the front wheels as needed. That’s right, unlike the recent front-end biased Quattro setups, the A5 Sportback has a drivetrain is actually rear biased,  giving it a subtly different, more dynamic feel once you start going faster. Taking a leaf from Audi’s sportier S and RS models, the car feels quite impossible to unstick unless you purposely drive like a ham-fisted, lead-footed clown. Tip it into a curve or corner smoothly and it almost taunts you to put your foot down and blast through them, such is the confidence the feedback inspires. 

There’s a decent amount of carrying capacity in the boot, but the high floor, designed to offer a flat loading space, and the steeply sloping rear window does reduce the actual volume in the boot. You can always tuck smaller items under the lift-up boot floor however.

The A5 Sportback is already something of a niche model, and the A5 Sportback Quattro follows in the same vein, but in a sportier package. Would you choose this over a more mainstream luxury sedan like a BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, or even an Audi A6? For most drivers, it’s really down to a styling preference, but the A5 Sportback is a properly fast, smooth operator.

Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 Quattro

Engine1,984cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power249hp at 5250-6500rpm
Torque370Nm at 1600-4500rpm
Gearbox7-speed dual clutch
0-100km/h6.0 seconds
Top Speed250km/h
VES BandingB / S$0
Fuel Efficiency7.1L/100km
AgentPremium Automobiles
PriceS$287,840 with COE
AvailabilityNow
VerdictA fine GT car that offers a dynamically fun drive

about the author

Lionel Kong
Lionel Kong
An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.