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December 9, 2010
Audi A5 Sportback, quattro, all wheel drive
Engine: V6, 3.0l turbo diesel engine producing
176kW of power and 500Nm of torque
RRP before on roads (with options): $103,070
MOST things Audi have an air of quality
about them, promoting the perception of
well-built German, clinical precision.
The A5 Sportback I was lent to test was
no exception to this theory.
Highlights were two fitted options -- Audi's clever,
sport differential and adjustable dynamic steering.
A driver can access and create their own race car-
like settings through a multi-media interface using
a combined rotary push button and colour screen to
adjust suspension, steering and gear change responses.
For just over $12,000, these addictive options
would keep owners entertained for months, allowing
them to electronically modify their own pride and joy,
even while moving, to suit the road conditions and
their mood without the expense of maintaining their
own pit crew and thus a fast dwindling bank balance.
The adjustability was not a gimmick. When
dynamic mode was selected the steering felt like it was
heavier and the suspension seemed to tighten up. The
twin clutch seven-speed, semi-automatic transmission
with steering-wheel paddle-shift held onto gears in
auto mode longer, allowing the full 500Nm of torque
to be used.
The 3.0l, 176kW diesel engine pulled like Thomas
the Tank Engine on steroids. Mr kW and Mrs Nm were
on call 100 per cent of the time, thrusting occupants
into their seat backs with bullet-train brutality.
Unlike the TV show, the fat controller shouting that
the engine you were piloting was causing "confusion
and delay" was nowhere to be seen. If he was on the
scene he'd be down the road half a kilometre in front
of the car, with flashing lights and a loud hailer telling
bystanders and cars to get out of the way.
The full 500Nm of torque, available between an
impressive 1500rpm-3000rpm, allowed overtaking
antics on a whim. The claimed 0-100km/h time of
6.1 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h would also be
The ride was comfortable on most surfaces but,
because of the 18-inch wheels and low profile tyres,
sometimes harsh bumps and undulations were felt
more than what was expected.
During tight turns and direction changes the option-
al leather sports front seats with excellent side bolsters
were superb, holding my expansive backside and waist
The Sportback was also a tech fest, offering adjust-
ability for brightness of interior and exterior lights,
Bluetooth phone connection, satellite navigation, ste-
reo, including a subwoofer and everything else you can
and can't think of to electronically adjust in a car.
There were only a couple of things I could fault --
the steering was a little vague, lacking some feedback
and feel, and the steering-wheel-mounted gear change
paddle shifters didn't have enough movement to feel
involving. They felt and sounded a little like a button
on a game console control.
There's no doubt the Audi A5 Sportback was a safe,
well designed and built sedan, highly capable in the
wet or dry, thanks to its all wheel drive quattro system.
However, if you were in the market for a car of this
cost and calibre, a lot of evaluation would be needed to
ensure all possibilities were explored, enabling you to
choose the correct four-wheeled metal creation to park
in your shed.
-- SGT Andrew Hetherington
Audi lives up to
NICE DRIVE: The Audi A5 Sportback lived up to
expectations but do a lot of research before you
spend your hard-earned cash.
Photos: SGT Andrew Hetherington
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