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2019 Audi A5 Sportback Review

Think of the 2019 Audi A5 Sportback as a variant of the A4 premium compact sedan with a greater "wow" factor. Which is saying something, considering the excellent A4 has a pretty high "wow" factor itself.

It sounds crazy to say the A5 Sportback is special because of its hatchback (as opposed to the A4’s conventional trunk). But that’s a definite part of a recipe, which also includes styling from the A5 coupe (the 2-door A4 variant with subtle design tweaks), exquisitely judged lines and proportions, plus an extra dimension of practicality.

Admittedly, the idea is not original. Audi first pushed this notion with the A7, based on the midsize A6. And that was kind of prompted by the "4-door coupe" conceit of the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. But what works in midsize guise has also translated well to the premium compact class.

A higher-performance S5 Sportback is reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2019?

The entry level Premium trim is now eligible for blind spot monitoring and rear parking sensors, while the range-topping Prestige trim gains an automated parking feature as standard. The optional Black Optic Plus package is enhanced by a sport suspension, and 19-in alloy wheels with a titanium finish and wearing summer tires.

Audi also quotes horsepower in a new way, so 2018’s 252 horsepower becomes 2019’s 248 hp even though the engine effectively has the same muscle. Torque is unchanged. See the 2019 Audi A5 Sportback models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Head-turning style
  • All-wheel drive
  • Cargo capacity
  • Powertrain
  • Hatchback convenience

What We Don’t

  • Acquiring the most driver-assistance features means having to buy the top trim

How Much?

$45,195 to $53,295

Fuel Economy

The A5 Sportback employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine developing 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This energy goes through a 7-speed automated transmission (with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters) to all four wheels, a system Audi always refers to as quattro.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts fuel consumption at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Audi A5 Sportback comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims.


The Premium ($45,195) trim has 18-in alloy wheels, LED headlights/daytime running lights/taillights, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, heated side mirrors, a powered lift gate, keyless entry/ignition, selectable driving modes, a panoramic sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, LED cabin lighting, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a self-dimming rearview mirror, leather seating surfaces, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth connectivity with voice control, a 10-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, assistance and security services, and a relatively basic form of forward collision mitigation.

An optional Convenience package brings an alarm system, blind spot monitoring, keyless start/stop/entry with hands-free lift gate release, self-dimming side mirrors, memory settings for the driver’s seat, and satellite radio.

Premium Plus ($49,595) includes the contents of the Convenience package, then adds wireless phone charging, a phone signal booster, rear collision mitigation, Audi Exit Assist, Virtual Cockpit 12.3-in configurable driver information display, and navigation.

The Prestige ($53,295) trim comes with a head-up display, active parking assistance, Bang & Olufsen 19-speaker/755-watt audio system (optional in the Premium Plus), adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, a top-view camera system, active lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and road sign recognition.

The top two trims are eligible for the S Line Sport package (sport seats and various cosmetic additions) and the Black Optic Plus package (mentioned above).

Among the other options are ventilated front seats, and heated steering wheel/rear seats.

Behind those rear seats is 21.8 cu ft. of luggage area. For comparison, the A4 sedan’s trunk measures 13 cu ft. Fold the rear seats down to make a total cargo space of 35 cu ft.

Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2019 A5 Sportback its top score of Good in all the major categories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it a maximum overall rating of five stars.

Behind the Wheel

The A5 Sportback’s relation to the A5 coupe is limited to the name, platform and some styling elements. Otherwise, it’s much more commodious. Tall passengers might prefer to sit in the front, but they won’t find much to complain about in the back seat. The whole cabin looks and feels classy.

Acceleration can be pleasantly brisk and gearshifts are smooth. The ride quality is comfortable, yet the suspension still responds well to being pushed a little. Even the steering feel, often an area of criticism when electric power assistance is in the picture, has the right amount of weight and response.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe — The fact that there are only two kind-of alternatives illustrates how wonderfully individual the Audi A5 Sportback is. This BMW, based on the now-previous generation of 3 Series, has a trunk instead of a hatch, while sticking to the "4-door coupe" formula.

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class — The C-Class range includes a sedan, coupe or convertible. Nothing like the A5 Sportback or even the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. But we mention them here purely because they’re such great premium compact cars.

Used Audi A7 — Similar sleek styling around a highly practical package, plus more space and a bigger engine. Check out Audi’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Autotrader’s Advice

It’s well worth stretching to Premium Plus for extra equipment that includes the Virtual Cockpit and several driver-assistance features. Find an Audi A5 Sportback for sale

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