Much has been written about the claimed MPG performance of vehicles from manufacturers and what they actually achieve in real world conditions.
That’s why a 600-mile round trip to Scotland gave us then perfect journey to test out the credentials of our long term test vehicle, the revamped A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI S Line.
The A5 boasts CO2 emissions of 120g/km and a claimed combined of 60mpg, so how would it perform when being put through its paces on a long journey with a mix of motorway driving and more rural roads north of the border?
Fleets are coming to terms with not being able to achieve quoted fuel economy figures from manufacturers and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) even reflects the anticipated 15% shortfall in its advisory fuel rates (AFRs).
If you applied the Government’s own expectations on performance with the A5, you would expect to achieve 51mpg in real world driving conditions against the manufacturer’s combined figures.
However, having spent most of my time in the Audi in an urban environment, I have only been achieving around 43.2mpg, but I was hopeful that with the return journey to Scotland I would come closer to achieving at the very least that 50mpg figure.
I was to be left a little disappointed. Cruising at 70mph on the motorway, the A5 was the perfect environment for the long-distance business driver.
The seat provides just right level of lumber support, while the ride was comfortable enough on what is perhaps on a stiffer suspension than some of its rivals.
The 2-litre engine sounded content cruising at higher speeds and you always felt there was more power in reserve if needed.
The fuel economy even started to look quite hopeful as I headed northwards, but the stop start style of driving every fleet driver experiences on congested stretches started to take its toll when traffic levels began to increase.
An early reading from the car told me I was achieving 53.4mpg, but my initial optimism was short-lived as it fell away to below 50mpg and by the end of my outward leg was 47.6mpg.
Determined to make amends, I doubled my efforts by employing every eco-driving tip ever bestowed upon me. However, while I did manage to improve my figures, a final figure of 47.9mpg was closer to a 20% shortfall on Audi’s quoted figures.
By Gareth Roberts