Review: 2019 Audi S5 Sportback is classy motoring
Audi revamped the S5 in 2018 and has reshuffled some options for the 2019 model year. Where the S5 really comes in, though, is in the sleek Sportback model, which takes the sport coupe and extends its fastback appeal greatly. We recently had a chance to put the car through its paces.
The 2019 Audi S5 Sportback is a luxury small car with a fastback style that combines the appeal of a sportbrake-style saloon with a coupe. It adds two more doors plus a more spacious rear seating and cargo area by comparison – all while, in our opinion, giving the S5 a beautiful silhouette and better road balance.
The S5 Sportback uses a 3.0-liter V6 that outputs 349 horsepower (260 kW) and 369 pound-feet (500 Nm) of torque. All-wheel drive is standard through the eight-speed automatic transmission fitted to that engine. Once the initial turbo lag is overcome, which is a problem with most turbocharged sports cars, the S5 Sportback accelerates very quickly. Handling is also good, as is brake force, making this a smooth sports car drive. The Sportback is better balanced than its coupe counterpart, we feel, adding to this on-road excellence. The transmission smoothly upshifts without a blip, too.
Probably the greatest weakness for the Sportback is in its illusion of spaciousness. It’s comfortable inside, with plenty of room for a driver and three passengers most of the time, but the middle seat in the back is not comfortable and the cargo space, while larger than what’s in the coupe, is still limited. For those shopping in this segment, though, that’s probably not of high concern. Comparably, the competitive Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43, likely the closest competitor to the S5, has similar space issues.
What we did note is that, as with the Mercedes, the Audi S5 Sportback retains high levels of comfort while delivering its strong performance measures. The adaptive suspension ours was outfitted with (offered in the S Sport package) is well worth the add. This system can also help soften the impact of upgrading to the 19-inch wheels, which otherwise roughen the ride.
More comfort is found in the standard tri-zone climate controls, a nice touch and something often left out in smaller vehicles. This kind of attention to detail is something that Audi is perfecting, and it only improves the well-done interior design that the S5 Sportback exhibits. A little more personal cubby space for random items would be nice, but the S5 has more cargo space than most any in this class – especially for a sport variant.
Audi also outfitted the S5 with its new virtual instrument panel, which reduces glare and improves the driver’s experience by becoming customizable and easy to read. Audi additionally has one of the best infotainment offerings in the luxury segments, with the new MMI interface being among the easier options available. It’s not the best, there being non-luxury touchscreens with far better user interfaces, but it’s definitely a step above nearly all luxury options. One should definitely get to know the voice recognition and utilize Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto as much as possible. Add in the optional Bang & Olufsen stereo, and things can get really hoppin' in the S5.
Advanced safety equipment such as forward collision mitigation and blind-spot monitoring are standard in the S5 Sportback. The standard AWD adds more stability and traction control as well, making the S5 smoother in the corners and in inclement weather.
In all, the 2019 Audi S5 Sportback is a very well done luxury sporter. Its sleek shape, fast pace, and great interior are all plusses. The few downers it has, including the turbo lag and lack of personal storage, are small compared to the market and probably aren’t deal breakers for most.
The new Sportback starts at US$52,400 and was priced at $63,400 as we drove it.
Product Page: Audi S5 Sportback