Singapore - Several years ago I rolled my eyes at the mere mention of a ‘four-door’ coupe. Back then, a coupe to me, was a sporty vehicle with two doors, anything else with four doors qualified as a sedan.
Thus a four-door coupe on paper, actually sounded oxymoronic. The manufacturers though sticked by their guns and believed there was a market for such cars with nearly every single German brand coming out with a flagship and a compact model.
Needless to say, after sampling two generations of coupes with two extra doors, my eyes have stopped rolling completely. In fact, I have come to appreciate the beauty of this genre - its basically the reinvention of the classic sedan three box shape.
Imagine having the low stance and silhouette of a sports car while still maintaining the practicality of a sedan, albeit headroom at the rear bench takes a hit, but that sure beats having to fold the front seats down to access the back seats or worst, becoming a contortionist just to get in.
This of course brings us to today’s test-drive, the second generation Audi A5 Sportback, which in the case of our previous review of the base Audi A5 Coupe, comes with the higher powered 2.0-litre TFSI producing 248hp and 370Nm of torque, over the standard 188hp/320Nm. The higher-specced powerplant propels the A5 Sportback to 100km/h in 6 seconds and a top speed of 239km/h.
Mated to a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the engine was eager and relatively rev happy, powering the A5 out of any situation with minimal turbo lag while sounding suitably sporty about it. The new gearbox is fluid and extremely responsive giving the A5 lightning quick shifts while ensuring the Audi is always in its sweet spot when power is needed.
You could also take matters into own hands and fiddle around with the shift paddles, though I did recommend leaving it in D as the transmission is near faultless. Visuals wise, the Sportback maintains the same front facade and rear rump with the biggest difference being a significantly longer body and of course the inclusion of two more doors.
Build upon Audi’s new MLB-Evo chassis, the new A5 Sportback is light, precise and sure-footed on the move, its steering is weighted nicely while grip is abundant thanks to a variety of electronic assistance systems that work behind the scenes to keep the car’s handling as neutral as possible.
Climbing in you will be in familiar territory as the Sportback’s interior looks just like the coupe’s. The highlight of course would be the Virtual Cockpit that features a TFT-screen instrument cluster that looks like something right out of a Sci-fi movie. The cabin also scores with its layout, build quality and materials used.
Here’s where the Sportback really shines - space! Unlike its two-door counterparts, the former gets a much more spacious rear bench and massive trunk space to go along with it, which should easily swallow three full sized luggage bags. And in case you need even more space, the rear seats can be folded flat to nearly double the payload.
Audi’s second generation A5 Sportback continues where the first model left off, a versatile, practical coupe with four-doors, good looks and enough grunt to satisfy the spirited sensible driver.