AUDI HAS LAUNCHED the third model in its A5 range this week, bringing the new A5 Sportback into Australian showrooms.
The company has high hopes for the model, and expects the five-door hatchback to become the volume-selling model for the A5 range, which includes the A5 Coupe and A5 Cabriolet.
???It will be our volume-selling model in the A5 segment and will make a significant contribution to our sixth record year of sales in 2010,??? Audi Managing Director Joerg Hofmann said.
From launch the A5 Sportback is available in only two models - the petrol-powered 2.0 TFSI, or the more powerful diesel-fuelled 3.0 TDI.
Although an A5 by name, the Sportback appears - to the casual observer at least ??? more like a hatchbacked version of the A4 sedan.
Forward of the A-pillars it???s familiar A5 fare, but the presence of four doors and a sloping rump sets the Sportback apart from its Coupe and Cabriolet siblings.
Viewed from the side, the gently sloping hatch glass smoothly merges with a short quasi-bootlid, which incorporates a subtle lip spoiler. Like the two-door A5s the Sportback features frameless doors, with a small fixed window sitting between the rear glass and the kinked C-pillar.
Audi???s LED daytime running lamps are standard on the A5 Sportback, and the rear lights incorporate an array of 24 individual LEDs. Foglights are standard, as are xenon headlamps.
The rear bumper features a black, diffuser-like panel that???s framed by two chromed exhaust outlets. A set of 17-inch six spoke alloy wheels are standard on the base 2.0 TFSI and 18-inch 10 spoke alloys are fitted to the 3.0 TDI as standard, while 19-inch wheels are available as an option.
It???s certainly more spacious than the two-door A5 models, but the Sportback still only has four seats.
However, with the rear seats now being individual pews separated by a raised centre section and accessible via two reasonably-sized doors, rear passenger comfort is drastically improved.
Compared to an A4, the Sportback???s rear seats are mounted lower and farther forward, decreasing legroom but offering a more cosseting feel.
The dashboard and centre console are identical to the other A5 models, however the door cards are truncated.
A leather-wrapped sports steering wheel with paddle shifters is fitted as standard, and both front seats are electrically adjustable. Milano leather upholstery is standard, and more heavily-bolstered sports seats can be optioned at extra cost.
The rear seats feature a 60/40 split, and folding them boosts luggage room from 480 litres to 980 litres. The boot area features a number of tie-down points and shopping bag hooks, while a two-piece luggage cover keeps valuables hidden from view.
Equipment and Features
In standard form, both 2.0 TFSI and 3.0 TDI models come well appointed.
Keyless entry and ignition is standard, along with parking sensors (rear only for the 2.0 TFSI, front and rear for the 3.0 TDI), an auto-dimming rear view mirror, three-zone climate control, cruise control and Bluetooth integration.
Adaptive cruise control, heated and ventilated front seats, sat-nav, a TV tuner, a sunroof, adaptive headlights, high beam assist, reversing camera, and a lane-monitoring and blind-spot warning system are all optional extras.
The standard sound system fitted to both models is a 10-speaker 180 Watt single-CD AM/FM tuner, which displays song information on a 6.5-inch colour LCD screen and features an integrated USB input for iPods and other music players.
A Bang & Olufsen premium sound system is available for extra cost, and brings 14 speakers and produces a total output of 505 Watts.
Active safety equipment consists of a full suite of electronic safety aids, such as stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist. Front airbags for the driver and front passenger along with side and curtain airbags for all passengers round out the rest of the A5 Sportback???s safety suite.
The A5 Sportback is available from launch with one petrol and one diesel engine. The 2.0 TFSI is the base model, and is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol motor that features direct-injection and variable valvelift.
Power output for the 2.0 TFSI is 155kW between 4300rpm and 6000rpm, with peak torque of 350Nm available from 1500rpm to 4200rpm. Thanks to regenerative braking, a smart alternator and a dual-rate oil pump, fuel consumption is kept to 7.5 l/100km on the combined cycle.
The 3.0 TDI is the performance leader for the Sportback range (for the moment anyway), and utilises two turbochargers and common-rail injection to develop 176kW and 500Nm of torque ??? the latter of which is on-tap between 1500 and 3000rpm.
The diesel motor can propel the Sportback from zero to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds ??? half a second faster than the petrol ??? and top speed is electronically limited to 247km/h. Although delivering more performance than the petrol engine, the diesel sips only 6.6 litres of fuel per 100km.
The only transmission offered in both models is a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic. Power is fed to all four wheels via the standard quattro all-wheel-drive system, which features a torque split of 60 percent rear, 40 percent front.
In slippery conditions, up to 80 percent of drive can be directed to the rear wheels and 65 percent taken to the front.
The quattro drivetrain can be augmented by an optional Audi Drive Select system, which adds electronically adjustable dampers, an active torque-splitting rear sport differential, and a more direct steering setup.
Steering is taken care of by an electrically-assisted rack and pinion system, and features a ratio of 16.1:1. Suspension hardware consists of a multi-link front and rear setup, with aluminium links to keep unsprung weight down.
Pricing and Availability
The 2010 Audi A5 Sportback is available now from dealers nationwide, priced from $78,400 for the 2.0 TFSI and $89,100 for the 3.0 TDI. All prices do not include dealer delivery and other statutory charges.