Audi A5 Sportback hatchback - Interior & comfort
Few cars are as pleasant inside as the Audi A5 Sportback. It’s a comfortable car in which to rack up the miles
The A5 Sportback is a quiet car to travel in, thanks to a slippery shape that minimises the amount of wind noise. Engine noise barely penetrates the passenger compartment, so the biggest source of unwanted noise is the tyres, which produce a constant background roar at speed. It’s not intrusive, though, despite being easily identified. Similarly inoffensive is the ride quality. It’s firm, particularly at low speeds, but settles to become comfortable at a cruise.
Elsewhere inside, the news is excellent. Materials are absolutely first-class, while the infotainment screen is fixed in place atop the dashboard, even if it looks like it ought to disappear at the touch of a button.
Audi A5 Sportback dashboard
The A5 Sportback has a sleek, minimalist dashboard and intuitive yet attractive controls, while Audi’s futuristic Virtual Cockpit system is available as an optional extra. This is definitely worth paying for – it allows you to configure the dashboard to show exactly the information you want and can show a detailed sat-nav screen right in front of your eyes, without being distracting.
Another hi-tech touch is how the digital temperature displays for the air-conditioning nestle inside the control dials, while the chunky gear selector is carried over from the Audi Q7 SUV and feels satisfyingly solid in your hand. Although the steering wheel seems to be set unusually high, the A5 is generally a more appealing place in which to spend time than the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and only the latest Mercedes C-Class poses a serious challenge in terms of dashboard design; even then, the Audi has the edge in terms of overall ambience.
Standard equipment for the A5 Sportback is generous. The range kicks off with Sport trim, and this includes leather seats, three-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, sat nav, heated front seats, a powered bootlid, all-round parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that works at speeds up to 52mph.
Sportback customers can also choose S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung trims. In addition to the standard equipment, S line adds a sporty bodykit, LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels, as well as stiff sports suspension – although this can be swapped for the standard set-up at no extra cost. Black Edition adds a black styling pack, privacy glass and yet bigger alloys, while the Vorsprung is opulently equipped with glare-free Matrix LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and the impressive Virtual Cockpit.
We’d normally provide a caveat here about Audi’s options list being long and expensive, but while there are still some pricey boxes to tick if you want, many extras are now sensibly, even attractively, priced. If you want to upgrade the seats to the same blend of leather and Alcantara that’s standard with S line trim, you only need £350; plush ‘Milano’ leather is £750.
Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit (which replaces the dashboard dials with a 12.3-inch digital screen) is a snip at £250, while the auto-dipping headlights (£150), heated steering wheel (just under £200) and wood inlays for the dashboard (£200) all offer good value for money.
There are still some expensive extras, though: keyless entry and a hands-free boot release are bundled together for over £500, while a Bang & Olufsen stereo is £750 and a panoramic sunroof £1,200.
The Parking Assistance Pack adds a 360-degree camera, self-parking system and active safety equipment for £1,400, but we’d suggest spending the same amount of money on the adjustable suspension instead. You can use this to change the car’s handling characteristics quite significantly, depending on the road you’re on and the mood you’re in.
Audi’s ‘Driver Assistance Pack –Tour’ is pricey at £1,200, but this does get you a bundle of systems that give the A5 Sportback the ability to drive itself in certain circumstances. See the Reliability and Safety section for more on this.