Audi’s ever-expanding model range offers something for almost every need, but the A5 Sportback is one of the brand’s best all-rounders. It is practical, stylish, great to drive and, importantly for fleets, has competitive running costs.
A low and sleek body hides a five-door hatchback configuration, meaning the A5 Sportback has far greater carrying capacity than a normal saloon.
Its boot offers 480 litres of space, which is enough to fit the luggage for a family holiday, or a couple of golf bags.
By being lower and lighter than a conventional saloon or estate, the A5 is more aerodynamic and, therefore, more efficient.
The 2.0-litre diesel is the pick of the range. It develops 190PS and CO2 emissions of 106g/km (117g/km Quattro) based on NEDC. Performance is equally as impressive, 0-62mph takes just 7.4 seconds.
What really shines about the A5 Sportback is just how effortless it is to drive.
Light and direct steering makes the car easy to manoeuvre and its proportions are not excessive, so parking is easy.
Inside is one of the most beautifully crafted cabins in this price bracket. The layout, fit and finish and technology is absolutely befitting of an executive express, and covering lots of miles with little fuss is what the A5 does best.
The optional Driver Assistance Pack (£1,250) includes lane-keeping assist, which automatically centres the car in the lane. It also features adaptive cruise control which, when combined, gives the car Level 2 autonomy.
In traffic the car will stop and pull away without any driver input. The most impressive feature of the assistance system, however, is how unintrusive it is. It never fights the driver, unlike some systems, meaning you can always stay in full control.
Even without the assistance systems, the A5 is an adept cruiser. It sits assured and steady on the motorway with Quattro all-wheel-drive providing a confident path of traction in poor weather.
Handling errs on the soft side which may not appeal to the most enthusiastic drivers, but the upside is the ride. Older Audi models suffered with rock solid suspension, in the A5 things are much more relaxed.
Fleet sales for the Sportback have been strong with more than 2,500 shifted this year already. The cheaper A4 is still more popular though, with more than 4,000 units sold to fleets since January.
The A5 is yet to undergo the new WLTP emissions testing regime. Its closest rival, the BMW 420d Gran Coupe, recently suffered a 12g/km increase in emissions due to the revised test procedure. The deadline for Audi to retest the car is September 1.
There is also a lack of a plug-in hybrid or electric powertrain. Volkswagen Group has made great strides in developing the technology, but it is yet to surface in Audis.
Overall, there are few other cars that can do what the A5 does. The 4 Series Gran Coupe is the only direct rival but the A5 will also have to contend with the entire executive saloon market where its premium price tag is justified by its extra capability.
Model tested: Audi A5 Sportback Quattro 2.0 TDI 190 Sport Auto